Pose Him in 1001 Positions
In 1965, Ideal was at the height of it's design of an action figure to combat the wide popularity of Hasbro's 12" GI Joe. What they came up with was Captain Action. Instead of focusing on military outfits, they wisely went with something even more popular - comicbook and television heroes. They developed a plan to market a basic figure and then sell fully loaded outfits individually. Their plan worked like a charm, kids gobbled up Captain Action and raced to be the first on their street with a Batman, Superman or Lone Ranger to tote around.
Captain Action was way ahead of his time. Ideal did a fantastic job and these figures are probably the best on display of any line ever made. Captain Action was a hit and wisely Ideal expanded the line in 1967 to include a young sidekick, Action Boy. They never specified where he came from or who the Mom might have been...she must have been French/Australian because he came equipped with a boomerang and a beret! To appeal to the animal lovers, Action Boy came with a black panther named Khem. Also in 1967, they issued six accessory packs, some of which were quite creative as well as a massive vehicle, Silver Streak, to cart your Action Boy and Captain Action figures around in. This thing was fantastic in that it actually floats, rolls and fires missles that can shoot your eye out!
An enemy was added to the line in 1968, the sinister and original, Dr. Evil. He had no disguises other than a very rare lab set, although a number were planned. The Captain Action line was officially discontinued in 1969.
The original release of Captain Action came in a rectangular box depicting the nine original outfits. The earliest version of this box shows the Lone Ranger in a red shirt. All Captain Action figures were packaged with the following: Hat, outfit with sticker logo, boots, gun, belt with slit for sword, and lightning sword.
The second issue boxed Captain Action came with a 4 foot parachute. Only seven outfits are depicted - Steve Canyon and Captain America got the snub! This is definitely more hard to find than the original issue box.
The final boxed version of Captain Action was released in 1968 to co-incide with the launch of the sinister Dr. Evil. Note the addition of "The Super Hero".
The initial outfit line included nine disguises: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Captain America, Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Steve Canyon, The Lone Ranger and Sgt. Fury. Steve Canyon and Sgt. Fury are fairly unknown these days, but in the 60s they were popular comic strip heroes. The second line that was released in 1967 added Tonto, Buck Rogers, Spider Man and The Green Hornet. The latter three being the most rare (and valuable). Also in 1967, the Lone Ranger outfit was switched from red and black to all blue (to match the live-action series version), Sgt. Fury was discontinued and Video-Matic flicker rings were included with each outfit. Each outfit included a number of awesome accessories. They were sold in window display boxes which are quite rare today.
Ideal did a fantastic job on the Batman outfit, although I could say that about almost all of them. This set includes: Batman costume with sticker logo, cowl, face mask, batarang, bat rope, reel with grappling hook, utility belt with 2-way radio buckle, laser-beam flashlight, drill and boots.
Another fantastic set on display. Includes Superman costume with sticker logo and attached cape, mask, cape, belt, four yellow arm shackles, Phantom Zone projector, block of Green Kryptonite, gold plastic chains, boots, Krypto the Super Dog with cape.
One of my favorites. Ideal had to reach to come up with more accessories for the Captain and although he has the most limited arsenal of any Ideal set, this is one of the most popular for collectors today. Includes Captain America costume with sticker star logo, mask, laser beam rifle, ultra-sonic intensifier pistol, belt with holster, shield with handles, boots.
Hard to top the job they did on Aquaman. This set includes Aquaman costume with mask, conch horn, trident spear, belt with knife sheath, knife, swordfish rapier, flippers.
Pretty basic but was a great likeness. This set includes Phantom jumpsuit, purple cowl, face mask, belt with holsters, two automatic pistols, rifle with scope, knife, brass knuckles with skull insignia, boots. Today The Phantom would probably carry the Glock 19 since the Glock is large capacity but still lightweight.
This set includes Flash Gordon space suit with four stickers, face mask, space helmet with helmet ring, space belt with holster, ray pistol, oxygen guidance "Zot" gun, silver boots. Note: he did not come with gloves. These are from the Power Pack accessory set.
Lone Ranger costume (red or blue shirt), face mask, hat, black pants, gun belt with two holsters, two pistols, Winchester rifle, boots with spurs (frequently broken off). In 1967, the Lone Ranger outfit was switched from red and black to all blue to match the live-action series version more closely.
Camo jumpsuit, face mask, helmet with chin strap, walkie talkie, machine gun, gun belt, bandolier, three grenades, .45 pistol, boots. Since this set was discontinued after the first series, it is quite hard to find today.
This set included a green jumpsuit with printed zippers and sticker on right shoulder, mask, hat (note difference between it and Captain Action), helmet with oxygen mask, parachute pack, belt with holster, knife (same as weapons arsenal), .45 pistol and boots.
The Tonto outfit came with a two-piece costume, face mask, headband with feather, bow, quiver, arrows, gun belt with holster and scabbard, six-gun, knife, moccasins and eagle. This set was issued in the final series but is probably the least expensive of the sets.
One of the hardest to find today. This set included Buck Rogers jumpsuit with sticker logo, face mask, space helmet, space gun, gloves, space belt and harness, twin jet packs, radio microphone with cord, canteen, space light and boots.
Second only to Spider Man in value and probably harder to find is the Green Hornet set. This one came with Green Hornet suit and shirt, face mask, hat, shoulder holster, gas pistol, watch message receiver, hornet sting (cane), TV scanner with phone and shoes. The watch and phone receiver are the hardest to find pieces by far.
The gem of any Captain Action outfit collection. This set included Spider-Man jumpsuit, face mask, spider light, utility belt, spider grappling hook with rope and handle, spider saw (go figure), spray tank with hose, spider, and boots. Where they came up with the saw, we may never know.
There were two released of Action Boy, the original version and space version. Action Boy also had three great outfits in his line. These are very hard to find in any condition and they are extremely rare boxed.
Action Boy Figures
This original Action Boy set included Action Boy outfit, beret, boomerang, knife, boots, Khem the Panther and collar/leash.
The second release of Action Boy was the space version. This set included space suit, space helmet, boots, gloves, knife, ray gun, belt, Khem the Panther and collar/leash.
This set included Superboy jumpsuit
with S sticker, face mask, cape, belt, super chem lab, telepathic
thought scrambler, interspacial language translator, boots and of course, Krypto! The bolts on the helmet are frequently missing due to the tiny plastic attachments holding them on.
The gem of an Action Boy collection. This outfit came with two-piece Robin costume with R sticker, face mask, cape, utility belt, gloves, batarang launcher, batarangs, climbing grips, two bat grenades and boots. Probably the most valuable outfit set of this line and just stunning on display with Batman.
This set included Aqualad costume, face mask, swordfish spear, belt, seahorse knife, shell axe, boots and of course, Octo the Octopus.
Ah yes, the bad guy. More like a hippy mad scientist alien but, this was the late 60s. Dr. Evil is one of the ugliest action figures ever made, but he is still a great part of this line. His body is identical to Captain Action's, only colored light blue. There were two sets released, the basic boxed version which included the Dr Evil figure, grey two-piece outfit, medallion, sandals, ray gun and human mask. Later in 1968 he was issued with "His Disguises and Weapons" - a window box set which added an oriental face mask, lab coat, thought scanner, hypnotic eye, laser ray gun, magnifying glass, ionized hypo needle and reducing ray!
Several Captain Action AccessoryPacks were issued in window boxes in 1967.
This thing actual shoots the mortars!
In 1967 Ideal expanded the Captain Action line to include a vehicle (Silver Streak - with firing missles) as well as a number of playsets. These were: Headquarters carrying case with Captain Action figure in Batman costume and ring (Sears exclusive), Action Cave carrying case (Montgomery Ward exclusive), Quick Change Chamber with Captain Action figure in Batman costume and ring (Sears exclusive), Silver Streak Garage (Sears exclusive) and Dr. Evil Sanctuary carrying case (Spiegel exclusive). Without a doubt, the playsets are very, very rare. The fact that they were issued mainly with exclusive rights led to low production numbers. Only the most die-hard Captain Action collector has a complete set today.
Sears Exclusive Silver Streak Hideout
This playset is perhaps the hardest to find of all (I have seen one myself in all my years of collecting) because it was sold only thru a Sears Catalog for one season and is made entirely of cardboard. It is actually pretty neat and includes hdeout doors for Silver Streak to roll in and out of, windows and hatches for Captain Action and Action Boy to use and really interesting graphics and attachment pieces (also made of cardboard). Don't hold your breath looking for one today!
Fueled by the popularity of Ideal's Captain Action, Aurora purachsed the rights for a model kit and released one in 1966. Playing Mantis re-issued Captain Action in 1999 but failed to acquire the rights to any of the super-hero lines. Probably the reason for it's demise shortly thereafter.
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