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


ZICA Toys New Retro Six Million Dollar Man Action Figures!

The Retro Train keeps rolling along thanks to ZICA Toys!


The latest creation from the folks that brought us the INCREDIBLE, museum quality Buck Rogers and Tigerman Mego style figures is back with their latest creation; 3 & 3/4 inch Six Million Dollar Man, vintage Kenner style action figures and like previous creations of ZICA, these do not disappoint!

Quality, unique design and exceptional style these new action figures are an absolute must for not only 6MDM fans but also 70’s and 80’s vintage toy collectors. Through Entertainment Earth you can get Red Jogging Suit Colonel Steve Austin, Bigfoot, the pair or the exclusive three figure set with that includes the limited edition Blue Jogging Suit Colonel Steve Austin!

Click all those hyperlinks and or pics and get these magnificent figures in your home TODAY! Now, Go Play! (and make that cool Bionic Sound while you run around the house or office!) – Jim 01/24/14

A too quick morning at the World’s Largest Toy Museum – Branson, MO.

Greetings and good morning, noon, or night dear readers I figured I’d cover all bases on the salutation considering I never know when you guys and gals may be reading this. Call it Southern Hospitality. Another great place to find not only awesome hospitality but also an incredible amount of toys is my good buddy Tom Beck’s place; “The World’s Largest Toy Museum” in Branson, Missouri.

The pictures you will see below are from the first weekend in May of 2011. This was the first opportunity the wife and I had to take the baby to this must stop destination for the toy collector and kid at heart. In a perfect world where time is in abundance I would love to go into super detail about every square inch of this marvelous museum. Unfortunately it’s not so the best I can do is share with you a very large handful of pictures that we took during our far too brief visit.

For the sake of freshening up the blog this one is gonna be one of those “check back often” blogs. But i promise you it will be worth it. We took some great shots and a ton of ’em. And even then didn’t really scratch the surface of this wonderful place for oogling.

Again I don’t recommend places and businesses without serious consideration. The museum however is one of those spots however that I can do so with no reservations. So if your in the – or traveling through the -middle of America take a detour down the Highway 76 Music strip and look for the big top. You’ll be glad you did. And tell ’em Jim sent ya!

This is Tom Beck owner of the "W.L.T.M." He's a super nce fellow if you can't tell by the pic. Here he is posing with the latest addition to the museum, Buck Rogers and Tiger Man from ZICA Toys graciously donated by Mr. Craig Owen.
These two soldiers stand waiting to great you every Monday thru Saturday. Sure they're there on Sundays but they won't let you in no matter how much you beg.
It's really tough to get the whole building in one shot. I love the way the old school DC heroes logo's are used on this far right side of the front of the building.
It's amazing how much Superman stuff you can fit on one shelf!
The T2 Mego Superman sitting down is actually one I donated a few years back. Tom insisted I put my business card with it so I said okay. The numbers changed since then so don't call it.
A whole bunch O' Batman stuff under glass.
This display just screams "Creepy" but the wife and baby loved it. Almost looks like their colection. Almost.
Some REALLY old school Buck Rogers toys from the late 30's early 40's.
This is just one of the scenes from a "Christmas Carol" window display that came from a department store circa.1948. This display alone is worth the price of admission.
The family that geeks out together stays together!
Lot's O Barbies to be found!
See? 🙂
They never end!
Not a great shot but still cool to see Mego Trek represented.
A Christmas Carol Pic 2. The detail is wonderful and charming.
Christmas Carol Pic 3
Christmas Carol Pic 4
Christmas Carol Pic 5

Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news 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

Saturday Morning Funnies: Episode 6- CTVT strike back!

Zica Toys almost completely out does itself with Tiger Man

See what’s NEW from Castaway and ZICA Toys!
Main title spalsh

Standing next to greatness part deux.

Breathtaking. That was literally the first word that came out of my mouth (after I got my breath of course) when I received this figure in the mail. In an earlier review of Zica Toy’s Buck Rogers I was stumbling over myself because of my amazement due to the quality of the figure. Tiger Man took that amazement to a whole new level. And that was before I even took him out of the box. From the boatload of accessories to the extreme detail in almost every aspect of this figure I can’t help but simply say “Wow!” To the astute reader you will notice that I’ve used the term “almost” a couple of times now. Being an objective reviewer I had no choice even though it pains me so. What exactly put a blemish on this otherwise perfect piece of 8 inch Zica goodness? Keep reading and I’ll tell ya.

Point #1. What it is.

Zica Toy's Tiger Man from "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"

Point #2. Where it came from.

This fellow came directly from the maker himself Craig Owen.

This guy is cool coming or going.

Point #3. The Good.

Tiger Man just comes to life in this figure.

Where to begin? From the top I suppose. Considering some aspects of this figure are identical to the Buck Rogers figure may I refer you to the review I did of Buck a little while back. The main common points are the packaging (exactly the same with the exception of the name), the most incredible 8-inch body EVER, and the extra sets of hands. Everything else is unique to this remarkably unique Tiger man.

The head: The sculpt of this guy is a dead on likeness to the actor that portrayed this baddy all those many moons ago. And while a bald guy is a bald the actual detail here is very impressive. The paint applications of course really push this element completely over the top. Looking at the  360o pic you’ll see that some serious thought and care went into this process. I honestly can’t think of any figure in any scale that has such a precise and intricate paint application. Again, super impressive.

The number of paint apps on this guys noggin' is very impressive.
Each tooth and bead is seperate.

The Necklace: This has to be one of the neatest accessories I’ve ever seen. Where other companies may have opted for a molded, one-piece plastic accessory Zica has went to a whole new level. Each one of the teeth and beads that make up the necklace are actually separate pieces strung on a piece of golden thread. I did notice that the string seemed a bit too long and left the necklace to dangle a bit too far down. This however is a non-issue to me since I simply wrapped it around the head a couple of times and synched it up higher on his neckline. There is no way I was going to attempt to retie the knot to adjust the size. I’m far to scared the little pieces would scatter because of my less than nimble fingers.

"Nothing beats good blaster at your side kid." Oh wait. Wrong movie.
The strap design captured is super cool in the "Book of Jim".

The Weapons:A gun AND a sword?!?!? And not only that but also a holster and sheath that are not only cool looking but also function perfectly.  The gun and holster look incredible, but when you add in the fact that you can snap the holding strap on or off to remove the gun is simply fanboy heaven. The strapped style of the holster is also very impressive. While I do not know much about toy molding I can only imagine how difficult it would be to make such netting in plastic / rubber form. And it’s all held in proper place on Tiger Man’s hip with a silver rope that I myself would never untie for fear of not being able to refasten it properly.

Screen accuracy always impresses me.
Even though it's just a regular knot, I don't want to goof it up.
Perfectly positioned.

But wait it gets better!

Fashionable and Functional! Love those tassals.The sword and scabbord fit perfectly.Unsheathed.

The sword is so cool Ben Kenobi would hold it in higher esteem than a light saber. This elegant weapon and it’s decretive sheath are simply amazing. I know I’m using that adjective to death but I can’t help it. The woven, red sash that holds the sword in place on Tiger Man’s back adds a level of perceived value to this toy that sends it into the stratosphere. It’s very hard for me to believe that you can get all of this for only $29.99. Amazing. Oh I almost forgot the tassels. While I wouldn’t want them on my shoes I love ‘em on this sash. Really adds an elegance that you don’t see in this scale.

All this goodness and only 8 inches tall!
Studs and Velcro. I know there's a joke in there somewhere.

The Costume: Again detail is the big word here. The silk-screened tiger stripping of the trunks and vest are another nice touch. Now factor in the gold insignia that adorn the vests trim and you’ve got yourself some serious extravagance going on. Also the studs on the upper bicep band really make this small but necessary accessory pop. Again Velcro is used to bind this piece. And be I remiss in not mentioning the leather armband on the right forearm and the silver belt that has a very detailed buckle, which is actually a buckle. No snap, it actually has the little notch piece so it can be easily taken off or on.

Shiny fabric always makes me smile.

The Boots and Knee pads: These are a bit of a sticking point for me and what adds to the use of the word ‘almost’. Again the detail is great but the functionality is a bit lacking. With the gold knee pads they are loose and thus slip and slide around the leg. The boots are very cool looking and screen accurate but with them being made of fabric with plastic soles stitched on they leave a bit to be desired when it comes to posing.

Cool looking but a bit disappointing.

Point #4. The Bad.

To coin the slogan from the old Nike commercials, “It’s gotta be the shoes”. This is the only negative I can see. For the life of me I could not get the feet to go all the way into the boot. I pulled, pushed and tugged and it simply wasn’t happening. The problem of course is that with out the feet properly positioned standing him up is almost impossible. Osing however can still happen but it is a bit tricky.

Point #5. Why I like it.

The cut of the vest hugs the chest perfectly.
The sleeveless look is a gerat way to see how detailed the "Z-type" body is.

The level of detail in this figure goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen in an 8 or 12-inch standard action figure. Sure there are some really high end 12-inchers out there from other companies but in those cases your looking at spending well over a hundred bucks. Again I can’t stress enough the value that this figure is considering the details and accessories. The Zica body alone is well worth an Andrew Jackson by itself.

Point #6. Why you should or shouldn’t get one.

He's probably 20 pounds lighter with all of this stuff taken off.

Why you should: For the 8 inch action figure collector, to not have one would simply be wrong on a moral level. Even if you don’t like the show, the character or folks with tattoos on their face you must have this guy in your collection. I assure you this addition will be something that friends who don’t “get” your collecting hobby will have to say. “Whoa.”

"Say ONE more thing about my boots."

Why you shouldn’t: The only negative I’ve got is the boot issue. But that’s seriously not nearly enough reason for me to say not get one. I’m sure that had I had a little more time I could have worked the issue out but again tie is not on my side at the moment. And considering this guy looks so good in the package anyway (and with most collectors will remain that way) the issue is really minor in my opinion.

In Conclusion

So much color and detail in this mid section shot.

Zica Toys has truly raised the bar they’ve set themselves so high with Tiger Man I really don’t know how they’re going to top it. The only thing that I can see even coming close will be the release of the Zica female body but that’s still a ways away. But until then Tiger Man will hold the Number 1 position on my quality list followed closely by their Buck Rogers and then rounded out by the FX Exclusive Greatest American Hero ‘Ralph’. I can’t stress the importance of all of you reading this to go order your Tiger Man and Buck Rogers now from either Zica directly ( ) or  their new distributing partner Castaway toys ( Actually I’ve got a better suggestion, order one set from each of them so you can keep one set in the box and the others free on your desk or shelf. Now, Go Play!  – Jim 04/06/11

It's like being in a super cool action figure sandwich.

Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news 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

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

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