FW Presents: Those Wonderful Toys Ep.2

Chris Franklin shines the spotlight on one of the most notorious action figures in his collection: 1989’s DC Comics Super Heroes Lex Luthor from Toy Biz! Why is this figure so infamous? And what does it have to do with the 1988 Ruby Spears Superman cartoon? Plus, Chris reviews the NEW Funko First Appearance Superman action figure! All this, plus YOUR listener feedback!!!

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Clip credits:

Clips from Superman (Ruby Spears animated, 1988) starring Michael Bell and Beau Weaver. Music by John Williams and Ron Jones.

Clips from Superman (Fleischer animated, 1941) starring Bud Collyer. Music by Sammy Timberg.

Clip from Superman: The Movie starring Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty and Christopher Reeve.

“Toyland” by Doris Day

“Hurt” by Johnny Cash

Audio clips from Spaceballs, Batman (1989), and Batman: The Animated Series

22 responses to “FW Presents: Those Wonderful Toys Ep.2

  1. Almost laughed at the Johnny Cash needle-drop when you mentioned the punching-himself-in-the-face action. Great episode!

  2. Great episode! I actually still have this Lex figure. I was done with action figures by this point but only got it since the corporate Lex was so prevalent in the comics at the time. When I saw you were discussing this relatively obscure toy my first thought was “what next, Bob the goon?” and then you made my day,

    Here is Jack Nicholson & Tracy Walter discussing how “Bob” ended up in the 1989 movie:

    1. Someone has to love Bob the Goon. 😉

      Seriously, while I questioned purchasing Bob then and now, I do appreciate Toy Biz gave us a bit of a deep dive figure. I would have rather had Bruce, Alfred or Gordon (or even Alexander Knox), but hey, they did more than Kenner did with their Batman movie figures. Despite Kenner going WAY deep with every Star Wars character in a background shot, they didn’t apply that to the Batman films, so we never got the important supporting characters.


  3. Dear Mr. Franklin,
    Long time listener, first time e-mailer. I just​ discovered all your shows, and I’ve been on a binge listen of them all. Expect a series of emails soon. Anyways, my main reason for writing; Mattel did indeed produce a Toyman figure based on his Superman: The Animated Series incarnation. He was part of the final wave of JLU figures which were sold through Matty Collector. He was sold in a three pack along with Dr. Destiny and Firefly.

    1. Thank you Pedro! I had a nagging feeling Toyman HAD been done, officially, but the thought hit me while I was sitting at the mic, and I was too lazy to pause and go look that up. :-)

      I lost track of some of the later JLU releases through Matty Collector. The pain of dealing with their horrible server kept me at bay some times.

      But with Toyman AND Firefly…I probably need to track that one down.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you, and thanks for listening!


  4. “Wonderful” episode Chris! Really loving this series.

    So Michael Bell played Luthor, Zan, AND Plastic Man? Interesting stories he must have! (Fun Fact: he also guested on MASH once)

    That Action Comics #1 figure is pure bliss. Like you suggested, when I saw it my first thought was: More Fun #73?? Too bad they’re making the toy so hard to get by itself.

    Well done!

    1. Geez, how did I forget Plastic Man? Sorry to you and Max. I knew that, I just failed to mention it.

      I think he was also Bruce Banner on the 80s Hulk cartoon and Cyclops in the unsold X-Men “Pryde of the X-Men” late 80s cartoon pilot. LOTS of geek cred.


    2. He also did several important Transformers characters.

      (And he was Groppler Zorn in the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation!)

      Truly, Michael Bell is a living legend.

  5. In response to Rob’s comments about Michael Bell, I saw Mr. Bell was on a voice actors panel at the first ever Comic Con I attended. He does indeed have many great anecdotes. He spoke of his many roles, yet the character of Zan has a special place in his heart (similar to how Porky Pig meant so much to Mel Blanc). He had the audience practically in tears as he recounted a story of voicing Zan for a promo on the day that the old Hanna Barbera studios closed their doors.

    1. Wow, nice Pedro! I’ve never gotten to meet any of the voice actors of my youth. I’d have to try and coax Bell into saying “Form of…WATER!” and “YO JOE!!!” for me.


  6. Great episode.
    Love that Lex punches himself! I’d set up the figures so Superman would be nearby saying ‘why are you hitting yourself’ like every big brother ever.

    And that Action 1 figure is beautiful!

    1. I ALMOST did that gag…and the truth is, I forgot to put in a sound clip like that! Good call.

      Yeah, I love that Action #1 figure. He needs a Tec #27 for a buddy.


  7. Forgot to mention–if anyone ever wanted to play “Annie” in toy form, and they need a Daddy Warbucks, I think they know where to find a substitute.

    Also: Chris’ angry muttering over Vandal Savage is a thing of beauty.

    1. I’ve often considered swiping Cindy’s Knickerbocker Daddy Warbucks doll for a Mego-style Lex Luthor, so yeah, it works either way!

      I’m as done with Vandal Savage as I am with Black Adam. Way overused in my opinion. Do we really need a Black Adam movie? I don’t care who’s playing him? Give me Captain Marvel!!!


  8. Another entertaining the episode. The highlight for me was listening to Lex repeatedly punch himself in the head. That made me laugh out loud, which probably just confirmed my officemate’s suspicion that I’m crazy.

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