At first I struggled to remember these figures, but slowly it came back to me. I remember my younger brother playing with these in the mid to late 1970’s, as these Fisher Price toys first came out in around 1975.
These were not the Superman type models, these were the normal everyday action dolls that were astronauts, or a daredevil type and all were chunky type models that had moveable parts with hands that could grasp an object or item, and in most cases the limbs would move too.
This was very important as not only did you get the figures, but in some cases you could also get a set of other items to go with it. Like the Safari set, that came with the Giraffe and Lions, and a big enough Jeep to get several of your rangers and friends into. The idea was that you could make up your own story with these toys.
Let’s be very honest here, as kids we were always losing things, so it would not have been out of place in our minds to have a Lion in a Zoo with an Astronaut or Helicopter, as we would probably continue to mix and match the sets with our clumsy friends.
You may recall that every one of the characters or the items that came with the characters were very brightly painted, and this really made the toys more appealing to 70’s kids. The colours were also the only way my brother could tell one character from another, before he threw them across the room.
The throwing and hard use of these toys was another great seller, as they were made to last. There really was not much you could do with them in normal play that would break them. Although perhaps the more complicated items like the Helicopter would lose the blades very quickly, and the occasional wheel may go to the back of the sofa.
You always knew there would be a lot of young kids in the house, when sitting on a chair or sofa you would find toys and characters from these Fischer Price sets stuck in the pit of the chairs.
Unfortunately the company did not release the full sets into the UK, so we had a very limited amount of sets, but for those living in the US it was a completely different story altogether.
No matter if you were in the bath, in the garden, in the car or at a friend’s house, these were with you in your hands and in your imaginative minds, creating all those TV shows from your memory with the wrong characters in front of you.
As mentioned before, they also did some animals like a Dog, Giraffe, Dolphin and I think I remember a Zebra, but it could have been a Horse.