Disappointment is a natural part of any gift-giving occasion, especially if you're a kid and your mom doesn't know the difference between a Transformer and a GoBot. Every kid knew that there was an inherent risk in asking Santa for an action figure, because parents usually figured that as long as it had the right logo on the box, they were on the safe side.
Turns out they couldn't be more wrong, because hiding within the toy lines you loved were ...
#36. April O'Neil's Boss (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
He looks like he's one missed deadline away from a felony groping charge.
It was something of a rite of passage for boys in the late '80s/early '90s to wake up on Christmas morning and see the wrapped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-shaped box. In anticipation you'd tear it open, wondering what would be revealed. Your favorite Turtle? Your favorite villain? Or some fat guy eating a sandwich, with toilet paper stuck on his foot?
The official TMNT Burne (April O'Neil's boss) action figure included exciting accessories like a phone, a typewriter, a press pass that fit nowhere on his person and another, larger sandwich.
With a sword grip.
The truth is, an alarming amount of TMNT toys were neither teenage nor mutant nor ninjas nor turtles. Some of them weren't even appropriate for children. Case in point:
#35. Prostitute April O'Neil (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
"I'm ... making a documentary!"
This is a prostitute. This wasn't a Barbie tie-in or something: This Ravishing Reporter April doll came packaged like a regular Ninja Turtle, including accessories like a dagger to defend herself when her pimp isn't around and a fully detachable skirt, which no doubt served to fuel adolescent fantasies in the dark ages of the pre-rule-34 era.
Also, it turns out that it didn't take a whole lot to qualify as a TMNT villain:
#34. Pizzaface (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Notice how his pinky finger is doing the Shocker.
Pizzaface was described as "Shredder's crazed culinary creator" and "the ultimate Turtle nightmare" because he possessed the power of the pizza pie. And if there's one defining characteristic of the Ninja Turtles, it's that they hate pizza.
Not that this picture looks exceptionally appetizing.
#32. Farmer Turtles (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
OK, at least this one is a Turtle. As a farmer.
That is, some toy designer said, "It's the mutant turtle part kids love! They can take or leave the teenage ninja part! The whole show could be about planting seeds and learning about proper crop rotation, the little shits will still watch it!"
Damn, guys, it was hard enough to even want to buy a Donatello figure at all. And yet this must have been so popular that it led to a follow-up. To their credit, they did make a vast improvement for this one:
The Action Figure Archive
They replaced "Don" with "Mike."
#31. Moss Man (He-Man)
That's the greenest neck beard we've seen since the Grinch got hooked on Eve.
There was a time at the height of He-Man's popularity when the social status of a school-age boy was dictated entirely by the amount of Masters of the Universe action figures he owned. The only thing worse than having no He-Man figures? Having one of the lame ones.
And they had a lot of these. Since the only discernible unifying concept for the He-Man line was the presence of pectorals and a Speedo, the designers were able to come up with some truly deranged shit. Like Moss Man. This guy doesn't just look like he's coated with fungus: They actually went out of their way to give a dampy feel to the touch and a "real pine scent" to it. It is disgusting in every conceivable sense. Look at his face. Look at it.
Now imagine trying to sleep with that thing staring at you from somewhere in your room, if you can. Moss Men are particularly difficult to find among collectors today because most kids buried them in their backyards in fear.
#30. Stinkor (He-Man)
Final Frontier Toys
Sure, blister pack. "Fun."
Stinkor? More like ... no, yeah, Stinkor is fine. Like Moss Man, Stinkor came with an actual stench derived from patchouli oil -- that was his power. Smelling like a hippie.
"Keep the sword. I'm out. Fuck you."
#29. Grizzlor (He-Man)
The Tribbles have armed!
Then there's Grizzlor, also known as the moment when Mattel started fearing for the sanity of its employees. Grizzlor is a mental breakdown in the shape of an action figure. "Dear lord, they've gone too far this time. How are we supposed to sell this?" "Uh ... let's stick a crossbow on it."
They started to drift a little from the He-Man concept with this one, since you can't actually see his pecs or crotch, but presumably they're still somewhere in there (unless you shave it and it's just one big gonad). At least at this point they were still trying. Sadly, we can't say the same for ...
#28. Orbear (He-Man)
What possible good could those stubby articulated legs do?
A Masters of the Universe bear. But wait! This is only its initial shape. Just like Prince Adam turned into He-Man or Cringer turned into Battle Cat, a Transformers-like mechanism allowed this ordinary bear to turn into ... a ... ball?
"And it should be half white, because cocaine."
#27. German Mechanic (Indiana Jones)
The Indiana Jones Toy Reference Page
Real name: Herr von Muffintopp.
When Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981, a toy line seemed like a no-brainer: After all, George Lucas and Kenner had just made a gajillion dollars selling action figures based on another beloved Lucasfilm property also starring Harrison Ford -- it would have been stupid not to sell toys based on this thing. The only problem was that while Star Wars had Luke, Han, Chewie, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, the Emperor, the Stormtroopers and more, Indiana Jones had ... Indiana Jones.
That led to stuff like this, a toy of the nameless, shirtless German mechanic who fights Indy near a plane. This action figure is especially disappointing when you consider that the character's only notable feature (the fact that he was killed by a propeller blade) is in no way acknowledged here. Not even in the box art. Also because he appears to be 30 years older than in the movie and overweight.
A fight with this dude ends in emphysema coughs before head mist-ification.
But, again, it's not like they had a lot to choose from. Even the film's main antagonist, Hans von Meltyface or whatever, was just a guy in a suit. This forced them to take things to kind of a weird place ...
#26. Marion, with Removable Dress (Indiana Jones)
The Indiana Jones Toy Reference Page
Somehow the phrase "this figure's knees were not jointed as most of the others were" seems incredibly offensive.
Yes, now you can rerecreate the scene in which Marion is in danger of being raped by Nazis! Also, she comes with a monkey.
To be fair, a lot of the toys in this line came with removable clothes. It was never a great idea:
The Indiana Jones Toy Reference Page
Why ... why would you even ... why?
So hey, the next time you watch that awesome scene where Indy shoots the swordsman, remember: At least one of them is wearing a thong. Goodbye, childhood!
#25. Wheelchair Rocky (Rocky Series)
With real Vicodin-popping action!
We'll just cut straight to it: The Rocky action figures are pretty much bananas through and through. Sure, there's all the figures you'd expect to see, like Clubber Lang and Apollo Creed and Rocky himself. But this franchise posed 10 times the problem for toy makers as Indiana Jones -- it doesn't even have villains, per se, or cool changes in costume.
So what they're left to do is sift through every single scene of the franchise and recreate them in action-figure form. What child wouldn't want to play with a battered, bloody Rocky in a wheelchair?
And it goes downhill from here ...
#24. Ivan Drago's Wife (Rocky Series)
That's right. It's Brigitte Nielson's character from Rocky IV, the Russian Ludmilla Drago. Who could possibly want to own an action figure based on the likeness of Ivan Drago's wife? Other than Ivan Drago?