The Force Awoke… but Harrison was asleep.

teaserAround the globe Star Wars fans turned out in droves on “Force Friday” to get a first look and crack at the first wave of toys from the upcoming “Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens” film. But not in my quaint little town in the Ozarks. But honestly I can’t say they missed much. Except of course the event itself which in my opinion and reason I rolled out of the house, is more important than the actual merchandise. But again not many others in my neck of the woods saw it that way, except for Doug.

dougThe Doug I speak of is Doug Hutchcraft who works alongside his father Ron Hutchcraft and his ministry. I met Doug about five years ago when I interviewed him for my “Here, There and Everywhere” program, about an online outreach he was a host and creator of (The Doug & Jon Show). Following the interview Doug and I discovered that he and I were on the same bus that loved the toys of our youth although he did admit his brother was cooler since he, like myself loved Mego toys. He even shared with me what was to be a surprise for his brother that Christmas; an FX Exclusive Greatest American Hero “Ralph” figure. Needless to say we hit off well.

Over the years since then Doug and I have crossed paths in town and online and its always a treat to chat with him even for just a few minutes. He’s just one of those “good guys” you hear about. “But Jim, this little trip down Geeky Memory Lane is all heart touching but what does it have to do with the September 4th Star Wars toys roll out?” you ask. Actually everything.

As I alluded to in the beginning of this article the toys themselves weren’t terribly exciting. Even to a hard core fanboy like me. The initial rush of seeing them was cool and all but the new faded pretty quick. I’ll get to that more in a moment. Right now I want to focus on Doug and what was really great about the night; Star Wars kinship.

When I first got to the local Walmart here in Harrison at about 11:45P it was pretty baron. The only exception being the overnight crew going about their duties restocking the shelves. Otherwise the store was pretty empty with the exception of a couple folks grabbing some cat food, another couple doing their grocery shopping without the hassle of the crowds and of course the apparent loiterers who really didn’t have anything else to do at 11:45P on a Thursday night in Harrison, Arkansas. They did however show an interest in the Star Wars themed cupcakes that were a part of the nights planned festivities. Speaking of which, I forgot to grab one. Dang.

boxesTalking with the fellow who was in charge of the event, Department Supervisor Bill, he was very bright and chipper about the roll out despite the lack of attendees. But you’d never know it talking to Bill. He was genuinely positive and happy that his store was offering up this event just in case the throngs decided to make a last minute appearance. I appreciate that too.

lotAfter chatting with Bill for a few minutes I started checking out the new toys. At first I was really disappointed as all I had seen were the repackaged lightsabers, some new Lego sets and a couple other rehashes. That was smile worthy. I followed that quick glance by getting a bit more serious in capturing these first in hand views. New 6 inch Black Series figures were cool but not terribly exciting and the same thought crossed my mind as I looked over the 3&3/4 assortment. I started to loose heart but then I heard someone say; “Wow!” I turned and there was my pal, Doug and his single syllable interjection sparked that magic button in me as to why this was indeed more about the event than the toys themselves.

doug2Of course being a father of a nine year old boy who is a proud carrier of the Star Wars flame, Doug was looking to get an early jump on Christmas and the potential problems that come from late season scalpers. But it was also clear to see the joy that was sparked in “little Doug” too. I picked up a quick soundbite for the video below that served as my “grown up reason” for being their but once that was out the way Doug and I started rummaging through the displays with true fanboy fervor. I of course was the tour guide since I had beat him there by like 15 minutes. I was seasoned and happy to share my knowledge of the terrain.

legoAs Doug continued to absorb all of what he was sure to light up his little boys eyes he and I (along with Bill) started chatting up all the great Star Wars memories we had as well as our high hopes for the bright new Disney future. This went on for about an hour before we both knew it was time to go back to being responsible adults and go home to our very understanding wives. Plus we needed to let Bill work without us constantly going; “OH! LOOK AT THIS ONE!” with every new box unpacked. And that’s when it all really hit me. We not only had fun but Doug and I shared a moment. And that my friends is what the big roll out was really all about. (By the way Doug, i hope you picked the Mrs. up some flowers or something to show your gratitude. I did. You don’t get to be an old geek by being a fool  😉 )  


So with that said I’ll close up this long and wordy introduction with these final notes for the sake of history; 1. Thank you Disney from bringing back the Star Wars magic. 2. Thank you Walmart in Harrison for setting up the event, and 3. Thank you Doug for being a fellow fanboy and friend and now permanent resident in my cache of good memories and moments.

The Force will be with you. Always.

Jim 09/04/15 1:49 AM

Now here’s the highlight video…

And my thoughts on the actual products…

finnThe figures look great. The villains are fantastic. The representatives of the First Order (what ever that means) are incredibly cool looking. The assumed heroes however are pretty boring. Originally I was going to grab Finn along with Captain Phasma to commemorate the night but I decided against it. Why? Well, simply put: he’s a boring toy. “Oh look! It’s a guy in a brown jacket and a flat black jumpsuit underneath it. Yay.” Captain Phasma however is simply put, bad ass.

mineNot only does he have the sleek new stormtrooper armor, it’s metallic AND he has a gun and a CAPE! That’s a keeper right there. And honestly he was the only figure that had that kind of “POP” going for him. All the rest were just, meh. Not bad but without a real connection or understanding of whom the character is in the grand scheme of this expanded Star Wars universe I just couldn’t commit my $6.94. Yeah I’m cheap but hey, I want to be entertained.

I do find it neat that each of the basic figures comes with a part that goes to a bigger weapon of some sort. Nice ploy to move more figures BUT I don’t know if the final assembled product is really worth buying yet another Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. Although I do admit I am pretty pleased with the price point for these basic figures. I like the idea of a kid today being able to do what I did all those years ago and being able to pick up at least one figure at a time without having to break the piggy bank. The deluxe offerings however I think is a bust. From what I could tell they were the same limited articulation figure(which I do like, btw) but some token accessory that apparently is important enough to garner the “deluxe” distinction. An extra $6 for Jedi Luke to have a hat isn’t what I call bang for my buck.

hanbobaOutside of the action figures some of the other toys did look pretty cool though. The two packs featuring the “Mashers” versions of Han Solo and Boba Fett are just neat and look like a lot of fun. It’s like customizing but with zero rules.

jarjarJar Jar Binks’ head on Darth Vader’s body? Now that’s just evil but then again the ability to rip Jar Jar apart, put him back together and then do it again and again is an action feature I do believe a lot of folks would have enjoyed back in ’99. But I digress…

lotOverall the assortment in my opinion was pretty weak, especially considering there wasn’t a 3&3/4 version of BB-8 available. That little dudes already hot and I’m sure will be a must have for kids so it really was a let down that he wasn’t available. I’m sure that will be remedied soon enough but until then December is a long way away as far as the attention span of todays toy buying audience. But of course, time will tell.

That’s my two cents and with that said, to you I say,

Now, Go Play!

Jim 09/04/15

Daily Update 03/06/14

Hey gang! Another long day around these parts. Had to tend to some “real world stuff” so I didn’t get to play nearly as long as I wanted to today. BUT I did get to play a little 🙂

Running with the Throwback Thursday mindset I dug up the review I did back in 2011 on the Mattel Retro Action Batman… it’s amazing how many people came over to check it out. Everybody loves the Bat even when he can’t stand up straight.

Also dug up my review of the FX Exclusive Greatest American Hero. I love that figure and recently it was announced that another run was being released. That sounded great but the discussions at the Mego Museum show that the greatness may not be so great after all.

That’s pretty much a wrap for today. With the exception of a strange occurrence at my home this evening. For the sake of record I’ll note that it felt like a little bitty earthquake shook my house.  Weird.

Casablanca - Sea GhostAny way, I gotta get some shut eye. I hope you all have a fantastic evening. Three things I want to remind you about: 1. Pre-Order your 1966 Batman figures… 2. Pre-Order your Sea Ghost.. and 3. Don’t forget about the free S-Type body that I will be giving away this Saturday night!

Now, Go Play!

Jim 03/06/14


Saturday Morning Funnies: Episode 6- CTVT strike back!

“The Wall” Chapter 3: FX Exclusive Greatest American Hero

Here’s one available NOW!
A Very Rare Variant Can Be Found HERE!
If you’ve got the money to burn dig this one!

FX Exclusive: “Ralph: The Greatest American Hero”

For this look at “The Wall” I want to first and foremost say that I am not gloating that this mighty fine collectible is all mine.

I'm not gloating but I am pleased as punch to have this fellow hanging out in my collection.
I’m not gloating but I am pleased as punch to have this fellow hanging out in my collection.

Oh wait. Who am I kidding? I love the fact that I have one and you don’t! Nah, just kidding but with this figure being such a limited release I can’t help but to be excited as a collector. Plus this toy really was one of the top five on my letter to Santa in ’81.And now thanks to the efforts of some very serious Mego lovers, I (and you) can own this awesome figure that sadly never made it to stores (or Santa’s magic bag o’ toys). But then again one of the thrills of collecting is tracking down the illusive, hard to get, limited edition, “grails”.

Before we go too deep I want to note something very important to the details (or lack thereof) that you may find in this review. “The Wall” project was meant to be a blog learning tool for me and my intended entries were going to be a brief look at the 16 figures that are on my wall at home. I point this out on this particular review because I do not want anyone who made this figure happen to feel slighted in the least. As described on the back of the card, the list of people involved in this project is quite massive and I don’t feel at this moment in time I can complete my own little goal here and serve the history aspect of this figure properly. With all of that said I must again tip my hat to all of you who are credited on the cardback as well as those who are simply noted as the “entire Mego Community”.  You guys and gals did good! Now on to this chapter of “The Wall”.

Point#1. What it is.

Safe and sound inside of a Castaway Toys Superclam, this “Ralph” figure is a highly sought after collectible.

Point#2. Where it came from.

The compelte story of Mego’s plans as well as prototype pics are included on the back of the card. And was written by Mego Museum mastermind Brian “Brain” Heiler.

Point#3. The Good.

The likeness to actor William Katt is outstanding!
Stepping straight out of ABC’s 1981 Primetime line up.

The first thing fans will notice is that the head  sculpt on this toy is outstanding. When comparing this special edition figure to the pictures of Mego’s prototypes that can be found at the Mego Museum, this is by far a much better product. While some may speculate that Mego’s final result could have captured a better likeness I myself have doubts. Those doubts stem from the fact that at the time that this would have been produced, Mego was in a world of hurt and other lines seemed to have a lot of details cut out of the final product. The main examples being the sculpts on Bo and Daisy Duke as well as Jon from the CHiP’s line.

The costume that was created for this figure is also something to behold. For some strange reason I’m not too sure of, the cape impresses me the most. The way it was made of a light loose fabric, trimmed with a screen accurate red stripe and scaled to fit perfectly just seems to pull the figure together very nicely. Another aspect I find very clever is that using only simple string the costume designers really helped this outfit not only look dead on screen accurate but also much more complex than it’s actual design. Take a look at the walk around photo’s and I think you’ll see what I mean.

The lighter fabric used for the cape makes for a great “flowing” appearance.

Here’s one available NOW!
A Very Rare Variant Can Be Found HERE!
If you’ve got the money to burn dig this one!

Another aspect of the figure that really sings for me is the backdrop art work that was created. Collectors who may be too gun shy to actually open the figure (it’s a resealable Super Clam folks) they may have missed out on this incredible, dare I say, accessory.

Tucked away in the region of a card that normally doesn’t exist. In between.
Thanks to alll the talent Mego lovers who made this figure happen, you too can recreate the magic moment when a guy named “Ralph” became our greatest champion. My apologies to Donny Most.

Point#4. The Bad.

This part of the review is always the toughest considering I’m #1. Not a negative type by nature and #2. If it’s in my

Being limited to 500 pieces is the closest thing I can come up with for a negative. Mine is #21. And no, I’m not selling it.

personal collection I can’t see why I’d be all that quick to point out the flaws in the things I love so much. In the case of this figure the only thing that I can honestly say could even remotely be considered a negative is kind of an oxymoron, because it’s also it’s greatest asset as a collectible… It’s limited availability. So I don’t think you can really call this a negative but being a tenderhearted fellow I do feel for those that have been unsuccessful in claiming one for their collection without paying in some cases, crazy high prices. Recently one has been spotted on ebay with a $600 price tag. Good luck to that seller as the average aftermarket value ranges from $125 to $175.

Here’s one available NOW!
A Very Rare Variant Can Be Found HERE!
If you’ve got the money to burn dig this one!

Point#5. Why I like it.

As I’ve already mentioned, as a kid I always wanted a Greatest American Hero to join in the adventures of Superman, Batman & Robin and Bo & Luke Duke. As an adult collector who is now obsessed with the Mego legacy and the rebirth of the Mego style action figure returning to the market, the very creation of this toy is a glowing example of what exactly can be done if dedicated people with a dream stay focused and bring their dreams into the realm of reality. So in essence this toy for me signifies “hope” in the fact that through diligence dreams do come true.

And not only can “Little Buddies Jim” hang out with Ralph, I’m getting closer to being age appropriate to play “Bill Maxwell” if they ever do decide to do a movie. Ahhhh, dreams are fun!

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

Why you should…

A fun work of “heart” and art.

If your a fan of the show, the character (there have also been comic books written by William Katt btw) or Mego / 8inch toys in general this is a must have collectible. Plus the quality of the figure and packaging is something to behold as a true work of art.And from a collector’s stand point there is nothing more thrilling or rush inducing than setting your sights on a “grail” and going after it relentlessly. I would recommend getting involved with the Mego Museum community. There you will find the greatest group of fun loving collectors who in my experience, are always quick to lend advice, a lead or even the item of your dream collection.

Why you shouldn’t…

The only reason I can even remotely steer you away from this toy is perhaps the price tag. Being a limited edition with

“Spot me a couple Benjamins so I can take you home?”

a run of only 500 you can easily see why the laws of supply and demand are in full effect with the bottom line on this one. So I guess the only reason I can say you shouldn’t try to acquire this figure is that if your bank account is in the red you might want to save up first before plunking down the cash.

Here’s one available NOW!
A Very Rare Variant Can Be Found HERE!
If you’ve got the money to burn dig this one!

In Conclusion

This toy is awesome. This collectible is a must have. The effort that went in to making it is highly admirable. A  great toy overall.  Oh and I didn’t mention the even more limited run of “Ralph” in his alter ego suit.  But then again that one hasn’t made it to “The Wall”… yet.  Now, GO PLAY! – Jim 03/30/11

"Pardon me while Ralph and I go save the world from communist scum. Peace Out Hommies!
“Pardon me while Ralph and I go save the world from communist scum. Peace Out Hommies!”

Here’s one available NOW!
A Very Rare Variant Can Be Found HERE!
If you’ve got the money to burn dig this one! 

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 

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

Day 1 of “The Wall” – The Overview

Our stars of the show.
These 16 action figures are so chock full of fun it’s amazing that they can fit in one small area!

And so it begins!

Welcome to Day 1 of “The Wall” blog where I will be giving you a rundown and review of the “Re-Mego’s” that adorn my wall at home and have earned a special place in my heart. As this is the very first day of this little goal of mine I’d like to stop and pause a moment to give a huge shout out to all my pals at the Mego Museum. This collection of fellow lovers of all things Mego has welcomed me in with open arms and has become like a second “cyber-family”. Plus without this wonderful community and it’s members I never would have scored most of these wonderful additions to my collection. It was also their encouragement that has boosted up my drive to do this blog and hone my skills as a marketer and reviewer. So to all of my “Mego Buddies” I say thank you! Now let’s get to “The Wall”

"The primary Suspects"
With a cast like this who needs TV? Oh wait.

This morning started out with a round of Photoshopping that finds me getting even more excited about this endeavor.  Seeing that in the end of everyday I get to work on this blog I’ll be taking a little time away from the “real world” I’ll actually be doing numerous things that I love. From writing to designing the layout of this blog I can see why so many people have flocked to this form of communication. It truly is a blast to write about the things that mean so much to you. Thank you Word Press!

Now without further ado may I introduce you to this blogs starting line up and the order in which they will be tackled.

#1. Mattel’s Retro Action DC  Super Heroes : Superman.

Retro Action Superman
The Man of Steel returns to 8 inch plastic form.

#2. 1950’s Version Commander X

1950's Commander X
While the Commander may look a little familiar to Mego collectors he is a hero in his own right.

#3. The Greatest American Hero

The Greatest American Hero
Oh, what could have been. However what is, is actually better!

#4. Mattel’s Retro Action DC Super Heroes : Batman


Retro Action Batman


#5. Flatt World’s Bela Lugosi as Dracula


Bela Lugosi Dracula


#6. Castaway Toys Creepy Classics : Zombie


Castaway Toys Zombie


#7. Classic TV Toys : Mego Mad Monsters Dracula Reissue


Mad Monsters Dracula


#8. Classic TV Toys : Mego Mad Monsters Frankenstein Reissue

Mad Monsters Frankenstein
He was only looking for a friend. Ignorance and intolerence is so so wrong.

#9. Castaway Toys Creepy Classics : Mr. Hyde


Castaway Toys Mr. Hyde


#10. Jim’s Mego’s Retro Action DC Super Heroes : Robin (sort of)


Custom Robin


#11. EMCE Toys, Mego Star Trek Reissue: Captain Kirk


Captain James T. Kirk


#12. EMCE Toys/ Specter Toys; Dark Shadows: Chris Jennings


Dark Shadows Chris Jennings


#13. Classic TV Toys; Mad Monsters Series 2: The Salem Witch


CTVT Salem Witch


#14. Classic TV Toys; Mad Monsters Series 2: The Gruesome Ghost


CTVT Ghost


#15. Classic TV Toys : Mego Mad Monsters Mummy Reissue


CTVT Mummy


#15. Classic TV Toys; Mad Monsters Series 2: The Demonic Devil


CTVT Devil


Okay fellow’s and girls there is the starting line up! I am looking so very forward to sharing with you my take on these wonderful figures. In a perfect world these reviews would come one day after another but sadly I do not get paid to do this (yet) and I do have a full time gig, loving wife, and a beautiful Toddler so it may take 16 weeks instead of 16 days to complete. But you know what? It’ll be worth it!

So until next time when Retro Action Superman say’s;


Now, Go Play!



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