Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Action Man

I can still remember my first sighting of Action Man.

According to Wikipedia he was inroduced into the UK in 1966, so thats when my first sighting would have been - at my cousins.

Even though we were younger than Alan and the word "gay" hadn't been invented yet, we thought Alan must be gay for who had ever heard of boys having dolls before ?

He tried to explain that Action Man was not a doll, he was a soldier, he had a gun and everything and you could dress him up in, oooh, four or five different outfits all of which were actualy overalls with the same pair of oversized plastic boots that, if they had been scaled up to real life, would have fallen straight off any real soldiers feet as soon as they tried to run anywhere.

We played with our cousins Action Man that afternoon despite our grandma mocking us all from her chair with old peoples phrases like "you big jessies" and "look at my grandsons, they're all cissies" - she was a dateless old biddy and I heard later that she'd knitted my cousin's Action Man a cardigan and a bonnet - but by the time we got home we were nagging our mother to buy us both an Action Man.

Sure enough, come christmas we got one each, one Action Man and one clean pair of overalls for him to wear, and a gun.

Over the years we collected every single outfit and accessory for Action Man, our grandma was right, we were big cissies saved only by the fact that all of the outfits and accessories were dangerous army type things with big guns and suchlike and not at all girlie although I admit that the Action Man sailor outfit with its rubberised sailors cap was a little on the camp side, it was Mr Cook's favourite Action Man outfit and Mr Cook over the road was a tad bent - more of him another day.

A friend of ours had the unfortunate faux-pas of having Tommy Gunn bought for him by a well meaning but cheapskate parent. Tommy Gunn was the cheap imported version of Action Man, it was rather like owning a pair of Asda trainers instead of the latest Reeboks, owning Tommy Gunn just screamed out "we're dirt poor" and in every single one of our dolly battles in our back gardens Action Man ripped Tommy Gunn another arse, which pleased Mr Cook no end.

One christmas we were each gifted the Action man Red Devils outfit, the Red Devils were the British Army parachute display team and the Action Man version was supplied with a real parachute that was strapped to his back and when thrown from a bedroom window would glide Action Man safely to the ground, on more or less most of the occasions.

Tommy Gunn had a similar accessory but one afternoon in our back garden we were to discover just how inferior Tommy Gunn could be when our friend threw his as high as he could and the Tommy Gunn parachute failed to open in a mysterious "accident" that may or may not have been caused by how badly the parachute was packed by on eof us.

Tommy Gunm hit a paving slab in our garden so hard that his elastic insides snapped and his head, two arms and two legs pee-doyn-ged to all points of the compass leaving only the torso with the failed parachute still attached - oh how we laughed, we laughed and laughed and laughed and never found one of the legs. Eventually with the aid of some strong garden twine we managed to put Tommy Gunn more or less back together again minus one missing leg and he became an army veteran complete with his own wheelchair that we made out of glued together lollipop sticks.

But just like the Mr Parlanchin story, eventually we tired of our Action Men although by that time we had a collection of several and a large armoured (plastic) troop carrier to drive them all around in. One afternoon during the summer school holiday all of the Action Men were out on patrol in the troop carrier in the garden when it inexplicably caught fire with the aid of a cigarette lighter smuggled from someones dad's jacket pocket and despite the heroic actions of the wheelchair bound Tommy Gunn to save his pals, they all perished in the inferno, as did Tommy Gunn who fell into the flames afterwards.

Our mum went crackers when she got home after we'd burnt about £100 worth of Action Men and stuff, all that was left was a huge lump of multi coloured plastic in the middle of the garden, that stuff is now worth a fortune on ebay but many of our boys toys ended their lives in terrible fiery accidents in our garden when our parents were at work, including one when a whole platoon of plastic soldiers (made famous in the Toy Story film) met a horrible death by flame in the kitchen sink aided by lighter fuel and a match which actually set fire to the kitchen worktop while our neighbour stared in horror from her kitchen window across the driveway.

Que sera.


kk said...

Very,Very tempted to Post this :)

Gary said...

It made for a much more varied and enjoyable childhood than sitting in front of a tv watching MTV like my kids do :)

kk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.