They Might Be Action Figures

As you may know, I am on a mailing list devoted to They Might Be Giants. Occasionally, there will be a thread on this list that deserves its own webpage. Examples of this include the mondegreen thread (currently on a page maintained by Amy Greenlese), the frequently recurring TMBG dreams (located on Danielle Gaither's page), and the TMBG-related menu (which I maintain). While creating a page for this last thread, I remembered another favourite subject from the past: They Might Be Giants action figures. This set of posts started on 19 April 1998, when Claire Gray wrote:
"Could you imagine the Giants as action figures. You see, I'm an action figure nut, and lately I've been pondering the idea. Such as: Flans in plaid would come with that square guitar of his. And he would have guitar flinging action. Linnell in his linnellian clothes, could have an accordian that shoots keys. Maybe each figure could have a little button that plays one of their greatest songs eh'. the possibilities are endless (makes me wish I owned an action figure company)"

Danielle Gaither followed this with:
"Well, you could synchronize them to play 'The Famous Polka.' Also, you know how they have those toys that "dance" whenever you play music? Well, you could have these figures do The Pogo when Their music is played. Now, I have no idea how you'd get the figures to distinguish between Their music and everything else, but we're only dealing in theories anyway."

Later, I made the following contribution to the thread:
"How about:
TMBG Snowman Action Figure (complete with burning money and protective rubber skin)
Rabid Child (w/CB radio)
Chess Piece Face and the Big Duluth (w/trucks)
Particle, Triangle, Universe, and Person Men
Mr. Tambo and Urine Man
Mr. Horrible (w/moving chair)
Woman with writing on scalp
Man with rock
Hot Cha (w/fondue forks for everybody)
Exquisite Dead Guy (rotates in his display case)
Filthy Scarecrow (With broomstick arms that really wave!)
Dr. Worm (complete with drum set)"

Colin "Uncle Squid" Ellesley added: "Yeah... you could have an Evil Twin range so like, they couls wear opposing clothes and have red, evil eyes and that. "You could also incorperate a little figue that comes with the main product (like the little colourful ghosts you used to get when you bought a real ghostbusters figure). You could have Dr Worm, Mrs Train, a They-skull and alike. Maybe there should be a free Giant-Head figure with each... The Giant-heads could have different dance actions like those disscussed within this very mail list! "The only problem with turning icons such as TMBG into action figues is that you'd get companies like Kenner who make toys real un-life-like by fitting them with rocket launchers and stuff. Has anyone seen the kenner re-releases of the Star Wars figures.. no way did Luke ever have shoulders like that! I rest my case!"

Adam Schaaf wrote:
"i'd like to have the bassist action pack:

graham maby with super-speed chord playing action
tony "mo' money, mo' money" maimonie with bass slap action
hal cragin with rocket launching bass and "chick" magnet "

then there's the drummer pack:

brian doherty with wind-up fussion solo action
dan hickey with glockenspiel and replaceable long or short hair

"and of course, the velcro horns pack:

randy amos with sonic blast trombone
jim o'conner with trumpet harpoon gun

"all of these figures would be like the old school Megos (which are making a comeback). and a super-cool mail away offer for the steve calhoon mono puff figure. i say we bug the hell out of toy biz or kenner and get these things made. or we could get the info club make them. i love toys. some tmbg figures would fit nicely between my star wars, he-man and transformers (they're more than meets the eye, y'know). or perhaps i'm rambling on again. oh, the nurse is here with my medication."

Danielle then made a second contribution:
"I'd like to add 'The Inspector Over the Mine,' dressed in geeky beach clothes and complete with beeping metal detector and discarded falderal. Yes, that's it! That's my TMBG character to identify with! What would an "Ana Ng" doll look like? Maybe you could push a button and she'd say, 'Small girl after all' or 'I don't want the world; I just want your half.' Don't forget the girl with the crown and scepter. Also, a blue canary night light a la 'Birdhouse in Your Soul' would be pretty cool."

Joey Groah added:

Flans with Stick
Lead guitarist Eric Schmemmereerrhorn(discontinued)

"Mono Puff tie-ins
-Flans with Hillbilly Drummer costume
-Lady Puff and Sister Puff, gotta have girl action figures so the market can get inflated.

"Can't have action figures without playsets:

-'64 Worlds Fair
-Bridge with action graffhiti
-New York City, including Manhattan Island with 'sinking' feature, featuring Cowtown suburb
-Invaders from Venus, with Space Johns (special Star Wars figures tie-in), connects with Sun/swirling mass of incandescent gas playset & Moon Base
-Hell (Hey, Spawn gets it, so can TMBG action figures)
-Dog Show w/ culture killing puppies
-Berlin, w/special Bob and Bing figures
-and of course, Istanbul"

In response to Joey's post, I wrote:
"If you're doing women, you might as well throw in Ondine, with unloaded gun and pickup truck."

About the Hell playset, I stated:
"I suppose there would be some snowballs there. There could also be a surfing Satan, I suppose. Also, a James Ensor connection could be worked in, since he painted some demons and skeletons and stuff."

I also wrote:
"What about the Toddler Hiway playset, or the Pencil Rain Military Commando Set? There could also be a Cabbagetown playset, complete with Uncle Jack, and a sea for Granddad to fall into.

"I've already mentioned a few vehicles, but here are some more:
The Boat of Car
The Spy Plane
A car with kittens painted all over it
The NyQuil Driver's car
The women and men's ship
Shriner cars (although I suppose they could come with the dog show playset)
The car without a handle
The silver space ship

"And, getting back to action figures, who could forget the Statue, or Bill (skywriting far above the planet Earth)."

Josh Nielsen said:
"Well, no set of action figures is complete without the VIDEO GAME available on N64, Sega, and Playstation. I'm thinking John and John's Quest to Kiss the Girl From Venus (For Science). You could also have little bonus games at the end of each level, like get the women and men across the ocean, wake the cross-eyed bear, survive the pencil rain, and Kitten's escape from jail."

Jim Kuemmerle also had a response to Joey's idea about the Hell playset:
"complete with snowball, avalanche, and roadblock??"

After I placed this page on the Internet, Reverend Danno had another suggestion for a video game:
"Another Tmbg Video game could be 'Nintendo '64 Worlds fair'. Help John, & John find there way around the 1964 worlds fair, help them get to the DuPont pavilion. Also the' they got lost game. Guide the Giants around cowtown, help them find the radio station."

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