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Captain Action was a toy line released by Ideal in 1966. Following the success of the popular G.I. Joe action figures Hasbro, Captain Action was a fighting man who could also be dressed in different outfits and use various weapons; but instead of being a pure military hero, he could become more fantastic figures like superheroes. This was accomplished by not only putting different outfits on the doll, but masks as well.
The first line of Capt. Action figures had him changing into nine different comic-strip heroes: Batman, Superman, Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, Capt. America, Aquaman, the Phantom, Steve Canyon, and Sgt. Fury. Each of the costume changes came in their own separately- sold window boxes for easy perusal and purchase. They came with the clothing and mask, as well as accessories and/or weapons unique to the particular character. Batman's, of course, came with his batarang and utility belt, along with other tools like a flashlight and grappling hook; Superman came with a hunk of kryptonite, his dog Krypto, and also (in a faithfulness to the comics usually unknown with toy companies) a phantom ray projector.
With the second wave of accessories the next year, Capt. Action got a sidekick in the form of the youthful Action Boy. (not to be confused with Austin Powers's nemesis), he was a blue-skinned alien whose brain was exposed; he came with a ray gun, bearded human disguise, and a snazzy pre-disco medallion. In addition, Capt. Action got some more generic accessory packs including such things as a parachute or jet pack, as well as a land-sea vehicle called the Silver Streak. During its lifetime, the line sported a number of different gift sets, box designs, and accessory combinations. Sears and Montgomery Ward each issues exclusive headquarters pieces for the hero.
But it wasn't meant to last. The toy line was shut down in 1968 due to falling sales. It had only a brief, two-and-a-half-year life span, but Captain Action remains one of the most fondly remembered of male action figures.
- DC Comics produced a Captain Action comic book in 1967. You can see a gallery of the covers here.
- The most valuable outfits for modern collectors are Spider-Man and Green Hornet.
- In its concept phase, the character was briefly called Captain Magic.
- Dr. Evil had no villains he could change into.
- Action Boy came with a pet black panther.