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Sunday Toy Chest: Animated GHOSTBUSTERS Nostalgia

Today’s edition of the Toy Chest is going to be rather a walk down memory lane. While we’ve been reviewing new releases and currently available figures, I wanted to take the time in the spirit of Nerdoween to revisit my collection of Ghostbusters action figures – specifically the Kenner line released in the late 1980s based on the animated series The Real Ghostbusters.

The Ghostbusters feature films were smash successes and had crossover appeal to both adult and young audiences, and so to capitalize on the appeal, the cartoon series continued the adventures of the characters. Both films remain popular enough to this day that figures are still being produced by companies like Funko, Diamond Select Toys, and Mattel. The upcoming reboot will only compound interest in the franchise as a whole, ensuring the Kenner-released multiple waves in their Real Ghostbusters line, mostly diversifying the lineup with each successive iteration. Plenty of versions of the four core characters were released, of course, but Kenner had no shortage of supporting cast and ghosts to join them. Janine Melnitz and Louis Tully each received different variations of their characters, and there was a line of “Haunted Humans” released that proved popular with collectors.

As Kenner was often producing the figures independently of the storylines on the animated show, some of the figures became rarer than others based on their popularity. Granny Gross, for instance, was one of the inexplicable hits among the “Haunted Humans” line. While Granny looked unassuming and meek, a twist and pull of her hat revealed the “Gross” part of her name: her very large jaw and third eye made quite the frightful impression.

The initial wave was just referred to as the “Heroes” line, and subsequent waves added novelty features such as scared faces in the “Fright Feature” wave, classic monsters in the appropriately named “Monsters” wave, waving arms and spinning heads in the “Screaming Heroes” wave, and even more wacky faces with the sequel wave, “Super Fright Features.” The crowning jewel of mine, and I would assume many others’ collections, would of course be the Firehouse playset. Having the entire team of Ghostbusters is all well and good, but every team needs a home base, and the Firehouse was a three story gem.

After Kenner’s troubles forced them to scale back their operations in the late 90s, Trendmaster took over production of figures for Extreme Ghostbusters, the animated series that aimed to amp up the franchise’s “cool” factor. (It feel like everything went through one of those 90s “extreme” phases at one point or another.) Extreme Ghostbusters found Egon Spengler and Janine Melnitz serving as the old guard, and Egon aiming to train a new class of Ghostbusters for New York City’s ectoplasmic woes.

It stands to reason that we can expect a line of collectors figures from the new Paul Feig-directed adaptation in the franchise, and if Sony truly ends up going forth with a separate animated Ghostbusters movie as well, there may indeed be a mass-produced line of figures. Can you imagine how many more toys and goodies we might be getting out of the Ghostbusters brand for years to come!? Let’s discuss!

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