Wednesday, December 16, 2009

M*A*S*H Action Figures by Tri-Star - 1982

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In 1982, there was an explosion of M*A*S*H-related merchandise, from games, t-shirts, shotglasses, and, improbably, action figures.

The above figures were released by Tri-Star in 1982, with the entire line consisting of Hawkeye, B.J., Col. Potter, Margaret (here called "Hot Lips"), Winchester, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy.

There are several questions that come to mind when you think of this particular line of toys--first, did anyone really think an adult show like M*A*S*H would be popular as a line of kids' toys? What were kids supposed to do with these?

Secondly, and even more of a mystery, is concerning the "variant" figure in the line--Klinger. Not only did they make a regular Klinger figure, but they also made one in drag! This has got to be the first (maybe still only?) action figure of a man wearing women's clothes produced for a mainstream audience.

Of course, Klinger had stopped wearing his Section 8 outfits a few years earlier, making the decision to produce a figure like this even more of a head-scratcher.

This was years before the whole toy collector sub-market sprang up in force, so these figures pretty much came and went, despite the show's massive popularity. Even now, they can be found fairly cheaply on eBay--I think I managed to amass this whole set for less than $100 total.

Of course, the most expensive figure of the set is--you guessed it--Klinger in drag!


6 comments:

Butch R said...

Interesting about the figs. Until I see things like that here, I don't know they existed even being a big MASH fan. I can tell you there has been another cross dressing action figure released. I think it was MacFarlane Toys who released a series of "Movie Maniacs" that included a Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates in Mother's dress (also had a wig, IIRC). While not sitting next to the Star Wars figs or GI JOE, I did see some of their "no blood" variants at Walmart.

Russell said...

Will we be seeing any of those other items you mentioned *here*, Rob?

All of these items were because of the imminent end of the show, of course. By the beginning of the 1982-1983 season the announcement had been made that this would be the last season. So there was a huge amount of MASH interest. I'm pretty sure I either had a MASH t-shirt, myself, or somebody in my family did...certainly I saw many of the things around.

rob! said...

Russell-

We'll be seeing a couple of pieces in the next day or two!

Radar Hat said...

Man, I've been a M*A*S*H nerd since it was actually airing and I had no idea they made all that stuff until Rob started this blog. I knew there were bubble gum cards & T-shirts, wasn't aware of action figures and board games.

Shot glasses - now that's one collectible that sounds interesting.

*logs on to Ebay*

Barbora said...

Hello,

just wanted to drop a line, since I am keen on MASH myself - watched all the episodes at least 3 times already :)

I also wanted to ask you a favor - I am currently working for a website called www.ToyCollector.com, and am therefore always looking for new content. Wouldnt you be up writing an article about MASH collectibles for us?

Please, get in touch with me - barbora@toycollector.com

Anonymous said...

I have just come across a B.J unopened figurine and a MASH Doctors set unopened if you can let me know the value or if anyone is interested.. Contact me at Gabe@Sussmans.com

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