The mad action-figure-making geniuses at Super7 have done it again, hitting the rewind button on toy collecting history and going back in time to finally bring us action figures that seem like they really should have happened a long time ago, and no one can really fully explain why they didn’t. Better late than never, though – Super7, through its “ReAction” brand (which was once joined at the hip with Funko, though Super7 and Funko have now parted ways) has reopened the doors to Pee-wee’s Playhouse with what is being billed as the first wave of a new action figure collection.
And if you remember anything about the show at all, this collection – even though it starts out with only seven figures (Randy and Billy Baloney take up a two-pack of their own, and Chairry and Magic Screen are more like prop pieces with action features) – is a glorious reminder of the colorful, delightfully bonkers world of a Saturday morning show that sometimes still feels like it may well have been Saturday morning TV’s best kept secret (for which devoted fans still scream real loud).
Pee-wee himself and Captain Carl (played by the late, great Phil Hartman, who might just be making his first appearance as an action figure here) are the first wave’s only human characters. Chairry, Magic Screen, and Conky the Robot represent the show’s inventive set pieces that were often characters unto themselves, while Randy and Billy Baloney – pint-sized figures faithfully replicating the puppets seen on the show – are packaged together.
Best of all, the packaging is as colorful as the show, and the cardbacks faithfully reproduce chunks of the show’s manic set, with Super7 actively encouraging their customers to cut up the cardbacks to create a backdrop.
The mention of this being the “first wave” of the Pee-wee’s Playhouse collection seems to imply the promise of future waves, and there are characters aplenty to fill at least one more wave. Of the characters played by actors on set, Cowboy Curtis and the King of Cartoons are really conspicuous by their absence in wave one. A strong contender for another “prop” figure in future waves is, of course, Jambi – we can wish that he’ll show up later. (Hey, did somebody say wish?)
The figures are, as with almost all of Super7’s ReAction lines, in the 3 3/4″ scale, meaning that Pee Wee and friends can invade the Millennium Falcon, entertain the crew of the U.S.S. Flagg, or – at least in some cases – can be hauled away in the prisoner pods of your Imperial Troop Transport. (I, for one, intend to put Chairry on the top level of my Kenner Death Star playset, where Emperor Palpatine can finally have a seat after standing for all these years.) Whether the figures represent human actors, oversized props/set pieces, or pairings of puppets, each one costs $15. ReAction’s human(oid) figures maintain the simple stylings and five points of articulation of classic Kenner Star Wars or Fisher-Price Adventure People figures, so it may be an expensive proposition if you’re not already a collector of Kenner-style action figures, but the brilliant packaging of these old favorites makes it worthwhile.
ReAction’s days of producing too many figures for big (and arguably overexposed) licenses like Back To The Future and Gremlins are in the brand’s Funko past; Super7 now seems much more inclined to service fans of slightly more obscure properties such as the Breakin’ movies, Metropolis, Rocky IV, Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, Hellboy, classic Planet Of The Apes, and classic Universal Monster movies. Needless to say, we’re big fans of their work here at Pop Culture Retrorama. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go order Chairry – the Emperor grows impatient.