Sunday, December 18, 2011

#96 TRASH BAG BUNCH – WAVE 1 FIGURES 1 to 12 (1991)

The trash bag bunch was a figure line produced by the American toy company Galoob in 1991, and distributed in Spain by Famosa one year later. The toy line repeats the basic schema of good vs. evil, with an ecologic element. It tried to make children aware of the environmental threats to the Earth, and the importance of recycling and caring for our planet. It’s important to remember, that in the early 90s, the ecology get up strength as an idea and the people start thinking about the importance and the necessity of taking care of the envinment, the ozone layer or the water of the oceans.

Almost contemporary of these “Trash Bag Bunch” were the cartoons “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” and the action figures made by Kenner. This series also had an ecologist approach. Both the cartoons and the figures were available in Spain, although they were not very popular at the time, and didn’t sell very well.


We don’t want to forget other American cartoons with the same or similar approach, like Toxic Crusaders, that also had its own series of action figures (made by Playmates, with the inspiration of the famous film “The Toxic Avenger” from 1984), or the Ninja Turtles (also made by Playmates, -Bandai in Spain-), in which we can find many figures that represent mutant monsters living in the sewers surrounded by trash and rats.

The origin of this figures is also quite curious. On one side, Galoob had produced in 1987 a series of cheap plastic figures called the “Magic Diaper Babies”. These figures were babies (and dog’s or cat’s puppies) with diapers that turned blue or pink in contact with water, to find out if the baby/puppy was male or female. These extremely cheap figures (around 30 cents of a dollar each) were sold massively.

On the other side, the designer of this line, Mel Birnkrant saw one year later how the State of New York wanted to build a trash dump in his neighbourhood. At the same time, Mel was thinking how could he develop a similar toy line to the “Magic Diaper Babies”, but this time for boys. Thinking about toys and trash dumps, he imagined which animals and “beings” would be attracted by the dump to his neighbourhood (rats, worms, snakes, mosquitoes,…) , and made one drawing with what it would be the initial concept of the “Trash Bag Bunch”. The original name gave by Mel was “The Garbage Bag Gang”, and built a display stand with empty garbage bags.

Galoob had a series of plastic figures that were already produced and provisionally named “Robots, Aliens and Monsters”, but they hadn’t found yet an eye-catching way to market them. That’s were the two different way converge to create the “Trash Bag Bunch” toy line. The name was changed because “Garbage Bag Bunch” was pretty similar to “Garbage Bag Kids”, the parody of the “Cabbage Patch Kids”. Mel didn’t participate in that project anymore, except for contributing new ideas to extend the line.

To see the more images of these prototypes, concept art, and to know more about Mel Birnkrant , we recommend to visit his website: http://melbirnkrant.com/trash/

NOTE: The text of this article was written by Pablo G. Del Río and myself for the magazine "Figuras en Acción".

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: TRASHBLASTER (#1), VAC-U-ATOR (#2), KLUTCH (#3), BREEZOR (#4), STERILIZOR (#5), SANITIZOR (#6), BIO-DEGRADOR (#7), FUMIGATOR (#8), GRIMESTOPPER (#9), DR. SHEERN (#10), WHITE WASHER (#11) & PROF. GARBOFF (#12).
  • Toy Line: Trash Bag Bunch (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm

3 comments:

  1. Facinating - You've just identified 3 of the figures in the 'unknown' bag in my Galoob box!, all I have to do now is track down the other 21!!!

    Good Post...
    H

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment! I published today the second part of this article, and the third (and last) part will follow in 2-3 days. Maybe you can recognise the rest 21... if not, send me a picture, I'm quite familiar will this kind of figues from (+/-) 1985 on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Gog, it was a joke, I meant that I had three, which I now know thank's to you and would have to find/buy all the others now you have posted them to show what they look like!!!

    I do have another 2, both robots - I think - they are not here, and I saw that you were going up to number 30-something and hoped they would be there, so I'm looking forward to the next post!

    ReplyDelete

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