Thursday, August 11, 2011

The End of Indiana Jones Figures

I got my SDCC set. They are all pretty awesome but more importantly, they effectively end the most anticipated figure line of my life.

When I saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark", Walker and I went straight to the typewriter, drafting a petition to Kenner to produce figures. We even sent them a product line with character selections and playsets. We also asked for prototypes.

A year later, when Kenner launched the line with a tv commercial, I felt a sense of victory. I didn't know at the time the deals between Lucasfilm and Kenner piggybacked this license on top of Star Wars so I felt personally responsible.

A year later it was gone. 12 figures, one playset, some mini-sets and vehicles and it disappeared from shelves. When I lost marion and Indy in the sands of Rockaway Beach, there was no hope of replacing them. Three years later, LJN bashed out an out of scale half hearted three figure line for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I still would have bought them, if I ever saw them in a single store.

In the summer of 1989, batman figures based on the Tim Burton movie had me haunting the Kay Bee in Queens Center daily. But no one picked up the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade license.

And then as reported many times on this blog, in 2007 Hasbro tried again with a comprehensive line to commemorate "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was dead by the time the blu-ray dropped.

Yes, the factory that produced the first waves was horrible. Yes, it is clear Hasbro had no idea what would be important in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (didn't we all think the jungle cutter would be an action set piece?). When I saw the hatless, jacketless Indy with a bazooka I was told he was "screen accurate". He wasn't.

At Toy Fair 2008 I asked Daryl dePriest how they would sustain the line this time. He said he had learned from Kenner's mistakes in the 1980's. I asked what mistake. he said "there are adult collectors now". So instead of launching with four figures as they did in 1982, they launched with 20. The end result? I got 40 Indiana Jones figures instead of 12.

And now the final wave that was tooled at the time of cancellation has snuck out. It lasted through the show but sold out online in four hours.

I'd love to see it continue as a DTC line but we all know Hasbro has no infrastructure or interest for a Matty Collector type situation. I'm just glad I got everyone and they will be stored next to my Toy Biz LOTR, my Palisades Muppets and other lines I know I will never see again.

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