Arkansas is great for Chuckles


Being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s was indeed a fun time thanks to all the awesome pop culture tie-in’s we enjoyed. From Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes to G.I.Joe’s miniaturization to become Real American Heroes, play time was simply fantastic. Sure the tie in television cartoons of the day helped push the national unity of our pre pubescent pop culture, there was a disconnect for a kid in Arkansas. Well that is until Hasbro gave us Chuckles.

Chuckles1Debuting in 1987 I was just barely able to get to know this undercover specialist before being whisked away into junior high land were the focus shifted from fun to flirting and the simple joys of playtime were traded for face time with the girls that just a year prior were invisible, I guess. Back to Chuckles…

chucklesIn the comics Chuckles was a bit of a bad ass. Leading missions, faking his own death. Overall HOO-RAH kind of guy. He got a little screwed in the cartoon movie, being turned into nothing more than a big and strong mute but whatchagonna do? More important than any of those things was Chuckles place of birth: Little Rock, Arkansas! Wait, what? A member of the Joe team heralded from my home city and state? Sweet!

tumblr_njq78trxPj1u5v50co1_500This really was a big deal for a kid from the Natural State. You gotta figure, this is before Bill Clinton became President and Hillary only scared children inside the 501 area code. True story. I’ll have to share that tale from 1981 one of these days. I’ll just say this, first grade was never quite the same as the future Presidential candidate red us all a book. I don’t remember the title but I do remember the glasses and the headband. Spooky, I tell ya.

images (2)images (1)Prior to this celebrity making the grade on the national stage the only other such famous Little Rocker I was privy to was TV’s Buck Rogers – Gil Gerard. Now this was and is a cool fact but Buck was 1. already off the air and 2. not from Arkansas. Gil was but not Buck. There are lines. Still love him though even if his toys produced by Mego were small and extremely bland or have now turned into zombies. Chuckles though didn’t have this problem.(Not to slight the awesome job done by ZICA Toys a few years back) 

downloadJust enough detail and paint scheme to bring out his face detail but more importantly was the Hawaiian shirt that everyone in Arkansas wore. Okay maybe not but I do recall a wave of those shirts making the style circuit around that time. And if nothing else we Arkansans are fashion conscious. We were way ahead of the Seattle grunge look withal the plaid shirts.

As the years passed so did my thoughts about Chuckles. That is until I started thinking about features for the Toy Box. Thinking about Gil Gerard as a famous Arkansan forever captured in plastic I started researching and found a rich history of entertainers from the “Land of Opportunity” that I had no clue about that I really should have learned in school instead of being terrified by Hillary Clinton reading me a children’s book. {Shiver}.

The short list is incredibly impressive:

imagesCreature from the Black Lagoon star Julie Adams, which led to this fantastic opportunity to chat with here. 


61HNkYSCOML._SL1001_The original Man in Black Johnny Cash (of course but not until recent years was there a toy),



$_3541EHH08VR1LActress and View Askew-niverse Alumnus – Joey Lauren Adams



0d95e83e0c95475313caf8efb9e29648WKRP in Cincinnati’s Sales Manage Herb Tarlek – Mr. Frank Bonner. Sure there’s no action figures of Herb and the crew and that’s a shame. Bif Bang Pow should totally do a line of 3&3/4 inch figures that could come with pop out playsets like the new Big Bang Theory figures do. Just saying.

You can see the complete list of Famous Arkansans via the state’s official tourism page:

GI_Joe_Cobra_1_Howard_ChaykinWow, look what we just did, gang! We learned something neat and fun all the while chatting up toys and pop culture. All thanks to Chuckles. You, good sir are a Real American (and Arkansas) Hero.

What about your home city and state? What famous folks have been cast in plastic from where you reside that you didn’t know? Share with me and grow our pop culture, playtime knowledge!

Now Go, Play.

Jim 07/07/15


Raising the bar in 8inch action figure collectibles: Zica Toys’ Buck Rogers Action Figure

I call this one my "Standing in the presence of greatness" shot.


Zica Toy's Buck Rogers. Simply amazing!

Unbelievable. That was the first word that sprang into my mind when I first saw this figure up close and personal. The level of detail that was poured into this figure is simply amazing. Zica has definitely raised the bar for 8 inch action figures. And to that I say to them, Thank You!

I have made it a point to dissect every aspect of this figure for the sake of giving you the best review I possibly can.

Let me warn you now dear reader this will be the most extensive review I have conducted to date. It’s honestly the least I can do considering the level of detail and quality that was lovingly poured into this toy. I only hope that my words and pictures will do it proper justice. In the end though I hope my efforts will encourage you to run (metaphorically of course) to Zica’s website and buy one of these immediately. For the record I don’t easily recommend a purchase so to see an endorsement from me is the highest compliment I can pay outside of buying more myself, which I intend to do. Also to note I’ve posted a large collection of montage pictures at the bottom of this review so you can see as many images of this amazing toy as possible while you wait for yours to arrive. I’m giving like that.


While all are incredible looking I must have that Hawk!
The Vac Formed insert protects the figure perfectly.

The packaging is perhaps the best new retro looking packaging. So much so in fact you would

think that this figure was produced in the late 70’s early 80’s.

Another thing that I found refreshing is that the anti theft tie downs used can’t be seen when the figure is in the package.

The back of the box is the ultimate tease. So far only two of the five figures listed have been released. Being that Hawk is my favorite character from the show I will be patiently waiting for this guy. Considering all of the detail that each figure has I can understand why each phase of production takes time.

Head Sculpt

The face looks a little long but there is no mistaking that this is Little Rock, Arkansas native Gil Gerard.

The paint applications on the eyes and hair are so precise. The eyes truly have a life to them. The hair is sculpted and painted with a wonderful realism.

All around an impressive sculpt and paint application.


Burt who?

There truly is none better. This body is simply the best 8 inch action figure out there, hands down. The Zica crew has done something truly amazing with this body. It does not have the traditional rubber bands holding it together. While purists may frown I say turn it upside down because the final product has such a high degree of poseablity that it is staggering. Unlike the rubber banded figures this guy when posed will stay that way. Plus with the absence of the connector hooks the motion of the joints is much more fluid and adds to the realism that can be portrayed.

To 'squat' is not an easy thing for most 8 inch figures to do. Buck however has no problem at all with this tricky pose.


While my camera is lacking, the stripes in the pants is also note worthy.
Not ever guy can pull off all white.

Again detail is simply amazing. From the tip of his helmet to the soles of his shoes Zica’s Buck Rogers is not short on details. For me the most impressive aspect is the striping that runs down the pants.  Plus who knew a guy could look so cool in all white? Even without his accessories he looks great!


Never before have I seen so many accessories that flow so seamlessly with the overall figure that you might overlook one.

The padding in the helmet is a super nice touch.

Helmet: It’s even padded to ensure a proper more realistic  fit!

If your mid section is indeed the center of the body, Buck is very well rounded.

Arm Bands: Velcro fasteners help streamline the look . Plus the fit is perfect.

Belt: The buckle shines like metal because IT IS metal, the added little gadget adds even more to the look Add to that the pouch like accessory is riveted.

Gun Holster: Dead on screen accurate

Gun: By far the best hand held weapon I’ve ever seen in an 8 inch toy as far as fit and design.

Shoes: Funny looking but then again so were Buck’s. the details added for the soles is also a nice extra touch that really made me smile.

3 pairs of hands lend for all kinds of adventures.

Hands: Three sets including the one’s that come on the figure. Wow!

The Price:

Available for $29.95 plus shipping via Zica’s website ( ) and through their ebay store 

Absolutely worth EVERY penny. It’s almost too inexpensive. The price tag does not accurately reflect the quality of this figure. While I wouldn’t ever want to drop a $50 dollar bill on any action figure personally I can say this figure is certainly worth that kind of money.

Why you should get one:

Quality alone is a big deal maker. And I must point out that what Zica has created here is perfect for a wide range of potential gift receivers. Toy collectors, that’s a given. Science Fiction fans, you better believe it. Gil Gerard fans, absolutely. High end doll collectors, oh yeah, they will truly appreciate the details.

Why you shouldn’t get one:

The only thing that I can point to is the package warning. It says (even though I don’t personally agree) that this toy is not recommended for children under the age of 15. I say BAH! This toy is extremely well built and I would trust it in the hands of a much younger child, even as young as 5 or 6 years old so long as they are not complete destroyers of toys. But there are small parts and one must be cautious. Still I think a young 8 inch action figure fan would truly enjoy the playtime that could be had with this toy. But then again considering the costume is all white, I’d probably keep this one as an inside toy.

In Conclusion:

Little Rock represent!

This figure truly is at the top of the class of the Re-Mego movement. And again I must point out that when I say that it’s not to slight other product out there from EMCE, Bif Bang Pow, or Castaway, it’s just simply the cream of the crop. Coming very soon I will be sharing with you an interview with the creator of this figure and the mastermind behind Zica Toys, Craig Owen very soon. Again for the record I completed this review prior too said interview and in no way have I been compensated by Zica Toys. For me I am now completely hooked on the Zica product so much so that I will be adding a Tiger Man to my collection very soon. I truly want to Collect ‘Em All!”

All around this figure is packaged beautifully.
If your mid section is indeed the center of the body, Buck is very well rounded.
Not only can Buck grab you with a Kung Fu grip, he can also punch and or slap the bad guys!
All around an impressive sculpt and paint application.
The helmet may look 'clunky' but it's supposed to.
Front to back this guy is incredible.
There wasn't nearly enough time to take all of the action poses this Buck can do.
For the ladies... Seriously the Zica body is truly amazing.

Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news and production director for television station TKO 8 in Harrison, Arkansas. Jim is the father of two the husband of one and firm believer in the power of toys for both the mind, body and soul. You can contact Jim via email at or visit his website at


All images and products are the sole copyrighted property of it’s respective owners. Specialty photographs and graphic work used for this article were done by Jim at the TKO 8 Studios located at 500 N. Main St in Harrison, Arkansas. “Little Jim” was created by Dawn O’Connell of Little Buddies Action Figures. Learn more about getting your own Little Buddy at

%d bloggers like this: