Getting Back in the Saddle with the League…


By Shawn Robare

It’s been forever and a day since I contributed to the League, so with the new year in full swing, let’s get back up on that horse!  That cliché actually leads into this week’s League topic as well, Cowboys.  It seems as if the stars are aligning right now as everything on my pop culture radar is currently pointing me towards the western genre, whether it’s the upcoming episodes of the Cult Film Club (that I just recorded with Paxton Holley and Jaime Hood and should go live on the 23rd) and the Nerd Lunch Podcast (which should go live tomorrow), or this new League assignment, I have cowboys on the brain.  So, riffing on a topic from the upcoming Nerd Lunch episode, I wanted to take a second and post about my favorite western-influenced toy line from my childhood, the 1981 Legend of the Lone Ranger set by Gabriel

These figures hit the pegs right in between Star Wars and G.I. Joe and were unfortunately heavily overshadowed by the former.  Released as a merchandising tie-in for the movie of the same name, it’s kind of a shame that the line was never fully realized do the film failing at the box office.  Though I never saw the flick as a kid, I did watch the Filmation cartoon that was out around the same time and dearly wanted the toys.  I was lucky enough to get both the Lone Ranger and Tonto figures before they disappeared off of toy shelves, and the duo stuck around in my collection up until my parents sneakily threw away all my toys during a cross country move in the early 90s.

Looking back, what I really loved about the figures was that they were a step up in quality from your typical 3.75 inch figure at the time.  Not only did the figures have two more points of articulation than their Star Wars counterparts (bending at the knees), but they also had the nice feature of having working holsters and sheathes so you could put away Tonto’s knife or LR’s pistols.  Also, even though this line was never as popular as lines like G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K. or Star Wars, I find that the older I get the more I look back at the obscure figures with a greater fondness.  I guess sometimes you don’t need money and longevity to mark a great toy line, though I’m sure Gabriel would beg to differ…

If you’re curious about the League, and want to see what some of the other members have written on this week’s topic than do yourself a favor and head on over to either Cool & Collected or these great sites below…

Jaime, Shezcrafti.com, wants you to know that a Cowboy Needs a Horse (needs a horse, needs a horse…)

Rich, Fortune and Glory Days, wants to make sure than when you hang a man, you Hang ‘Em High!

  • http://www.timlybarger.com Tim L.

    Something tells me a revived interest in the Lone Ranger is just around the corner… :)

  • http://Www.fortuneandglorydays.blogspot.com Rich

    These are awesome. A guy I know on a collecting forum is big on these! I’ve been tempted to pick some up!

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com Shawn Robare

    Hobgoblin – Lucky duck! Yeah, these are some of the toys that would be accompanying me back in my time machine after I build it… Shezcrafti – I blame it on Quentin Tarantino…

  • http://www.shezcrafti.com/ ShezCrafti

    I was thinking the same thing, Shawn. This corner of the blogosphere seems to have gone cowboy-crazy! There must be something in the moonshine. Very cool to learn about this toy line, since I know nothing about it. I have to admit, though, I like the packaging better than the actual toys!

  • Hobgoblin238

    I had all of those figures. Except the horses..

  • UnfrozenCavemanGamer

    Funny story about these… I had Lone Ranger and Tonto and their horses… but not Butch. So, we were having a gift swap at school and I convinced my mom to buy Butch as my gift to take. When I got to school I told the teacher my parents said they couldn’t afford to buy a gift and I couldn’t participate in the gift exchange… needless to say I enjoyed my Butch Cavendish figure for many years LOL

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