This week, we take a look at another science-fiction film from the 1970s....The Black Hole, Walt Disney's foray into sci-fi adventure films. It focused on a team of explorers aboard the USS Palomino, who discover the USS Cygnus a long-thought-destroyed spacecraft hovering dangerously close to a black hole (hence the movie's title). Once aboard, they meet a mad doctor and his army of robot servants, and of course therein lies the meat of the story.
This film was an exciting space adventure with a diverse cast and new robots that sparked the imaginations of kids everywhere. When my friends and I got together, this was one of the toy lines that we collected, and we played with them right alongside other similarly-scaled toys.
Wave 1 - 1979
The movie did very well for the time, so naturally, a toy line was created in 1979 by Mego. Available alongside the Buck Rogers toy line, these 3¾" figures were compatible with each other, and that other sci-fi toy line from a galaxy far, far away... They all feature the same articulation points as many other toy lines of the time, and the bodies were held together by rubber bands inside the torso.
The civilian leader of the crew, this figure is a pretty decent likeness of the actor who played him on screen.
Based on the heroic and cocky lieutenant of the crew, this was one of my favorite figures in the line.
The leader of the Palomino crew, Captain Dan Holland used the same body as Pizer, just with different colored stripes.
The mad doctor and leader of the USS Cygnus, Dr. Reinhardt rules over a droid army that he created to help him take over the new galaxy beyond the black hole. This figure features extra detail on the hair (giving him a greying look), which was pretty rare at the time, as most figures were painted in solid colors.
A journalist and part of the crew, this figure also sports the greying hair deco. Not the most exciting figure, but a pretty decent likeness.
The only female figure in the line was of the scientist with ESP powers. Much like the other figures, there was no paint on the facial features.
Perhaps one of the scariest evil robots in cinematic history, the red giant never spoke, but somehow each move he made spoke volumes and terrified us as kids.
- stands for Vital Information Necessary, CENTralized
The noble, heroic droid helped the crew escape Reinhardt's evil plans, and charmed his way into the hearts of kids. This is my personal favorite figure in the line, because he was so different from anything else I had seen at the time.
Wave 1.5 - 1980
The following figure was released in a later assortment which was something of a transition between waves 1 & 2. This was available with the rest of wave 1 in the US and Canada, then again with the figures from wave 2.
Finally, the Sentry Robot...a member of the army aboard the Cygnus. This figure broke away from the mold a bit by adding wrist articulation (made up of parts borrowed from Mego's Micronauts figure line). He also included twin holsters, although he only came with a single blaster...which looks nothing like it did in the movie.
Wave 2 - 1980
The second wave of figures was only released in Canada and Italy Therefore, we never had them in our backyard adventures. But thanks to a fellow collector, I'm able to present a couple of them for today's feature.
Old B.O.B. - stands for BiO-sanitation Battalion
An older model similar to V.I.N.CENT, Old B.O.B. may have had a few screws loose, but his heart was in the right place. The figure is pretty accurate to the movie appearance, although not as dirty.
So, here's a interesting development....originally I hadn't planned to show the following pair of figures, because I didn't have them, and neither did my pal Rick. But after talking things over with my CTR partner D. Martin, it turns out HE HAS the missing figures! SWEET! Enjoy!
One of the rarest figures in The Black Hole, if not any action figure line, the Humanoid figure comes with a removable cloth robe and a pair of cloth booties, which are not shown here.
Essentially a repaint of the Sentry figure. Still has the inaccurate blaster, but still very cool.
So there you have it! Nearly a dozen action figures from the past, in the CTR spotlight! Very special thanks to Rick Blood for providing the toys seen in today's feature. While I do have some of them from my childhood, they are in nowhere near as good condition as Rick's, so it's great he was able to loan them to me to take into the studio.