One of my earliest actions figures memories is of playing with a Star Wars Hammerhead figure during a church service. The next earliest is a vague memory of a set of action figures. There were four of these figures, they had something to do with something that was happening on TV, and one was a lion. As it turns out, this is not another of my phantom memories. It is instead a quite accurate recollection of Mattel’s Flash Gordon action figures.
Mattel put out these action figures in 1979 to capitalize on the new Flash Gordon animated movie/series (which you can read more about here). I don’t remember the series, but I seem to remember the movie running in prime time and having a good degree of hype. I also remember watching it while having the action figures in hand, which might mean the figures were released prior to the show. The four figures I had were most the four figures in the line’s first generation: Flash, Ming, Prince Thun (the lion I remembered), and a Lizard Woman. The fact that I had all four seems odd to me, as I rarely had a full set of anything, and I seem to remember (but may be wrong) that Mom bought them as a set as some discount store.
Wherever they came from and however I got them, I enjoyed them quite a bit. Though the figures seem to lack some detail and features, they were still fun to play with, especially while the movie was on, and they made an impression on me. I guess humanoid lions and bipedal lizards have a way of doing that.