Today I decided to write about one of my favorite characters from the glory days of late seventies/early eighties sci-fi. The show is Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the character is none other than our hero’s pint sized sidekick Twiki.
Believe it or not Twiki is actually not a real robot and is played by a human actor! Huh, what?
Well of course it was a human, a very small one at just 3’11″ tall, but a man for sure. His name is Felix Silla and he has appeared in a bunch of movies and TV shows. Ewok in Return of the Jedi? Check. He also played Cousin Itt in the Addams Family, Lucifer in Battlestar Galactica, a young gorilla in the movie Planet of the Apes and even the stunt double for Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Pretty cool if you ask me.
The voice of Twiki was even provided by legendary voice talent Mel Blanc, wow!. Anyway, as cool as Twiki was he never scored too big in the merchandise world. Bummer. Here is a rundown of most of what is out there.
Probably the most common item out there is the action figure that was released in 1978 by Mego. In scale with the rest of the line of 3.75″ figures this little guy stands just 2.5″ tall. Despite being so tiny it articulates surprisingly well.
This is the larger version made to be in scale with the 12″ figures (click here to see some of the others). Here Twiki stands about 6″ tall and comes with the added feature of being a wind up figure. This allows him to walk along slowly, kind of like in the show. Even though he is the coolest piece in this set he is the only one I seem to be missing, grrrr! Apparently I am just waiting for a great deal, a.k.a. I want a boxed one and am not willing to pay $100 to get one.
This 10″ figure is a very interesting piece and a real tough one to get your hands on.
It actually comes from this playset, made by HG it is listed as the Buck Rogers – Twiki – in the 25th Century – Communications. The set contains a belt, code wheels and walkie talkies. As you can see, the Twiki is a communicator and by pushing the button on his belly his chest lights up and can be used to send messages in morse code, they even included the code on his back. This Flasher was also sold seperately.
Like I said this set doesn’t show up very often so it is tough to gauge a value. The one you see above is actually listed on eBay as we speak for the princely sum of $500. I would say a more reasonable estimate would be $75-100. The Twiki does turn up by himself from time to time and I have seen him vary from very chromey to just a flat silver gray color.
In addition to figures there are also some more random Twiki items.
This is a pencil topper, a very small pencil topper at that.
A slurpee cup from 7-11.
Even an inflatable TV chair of all things. This was made by Carlin Playthings.
A particular favorite of mine is the radio-controlled Twiki. It turns out that this is inflatable too. Basically they made a motorized base that was able to move around remotely and then attached a Twiki-shaped inflatable on top. Very clever. He stands about 4′ tall when fully inflated and is pretty impressive.
Just as with the communication set this piece doesn’t show up too too often so prices tend to vary wildly. Once again I would say that you would have to drop at least $100 to get one in the box. If you are in the market for one be sure to check for leaks as these old toys… well they can leak. The best way to check is to inflate it and then wait, after about 30min if it doesn’t look softer than it was before then you are probably OK.
Last up is this odd little piece.
Bizarre huh? Just like the chair above, this piece was made by a British company called, surprise surprise… Bendy Toys (click here to see another version of this same toy). At 6.5″ tall this figure is very strange indeed. It is made from a spongy type of foam rubber on a wire armature which allows it to be bent and posed to some degree.
I just got this gem in the mail a couple of days ago. It came from England and cost me all of $4 (including the shipping!), a bargain for sure. This is the only one of these I have ever seen in person. I suppose we should expect that though given that rubber of this type is very prone to disintegrate, either due to its age, aggressive play, or even a hungry dog.
I have only seen one other on eBay before and as you can see he is quite different in his finish. This one has a more detailed chest plate (actually this was Dr. Theopolis in the show… yes Twiki carried another character around like a big medallion, hey it was the seventies). Most of the rest seems to have been left unpainted. This is in stark contrast to the first one you saw that is brightly painted. Very weird indeed.
Before I depart I did want to just toss you a bit of a curve ball. Remember a few days ago I put up a poll asking your opinion on me writing the occasional post that was a little racy and risque? Well it turns at that most of you signed off and gave me the go ahead. That being the case today’s offering is actually one such post, let’s call it R&R #1.
What is so risque then?
Well to say that Twiki bears a slight resemblance to a certain part of the male anatomy would be… well it would be the understatement of the century.
Don’t believe me? Go back and check for yourself. Pay particular attention to Twiki’s head.
… AHA! Vindication! See I told you.
Here is an alternate view of the bendy figure you just saw to highlight my point a bit.
It is unmistakeable now.
Someone clearly decided to have a joke at everyone else’s expense. I am amazed the studio didn’t spot this because you can be sure they would never have allowed it in a million years.
Like I explained in my previous post, how this wasn’t given the middle-school-boy-test I will never know. Had they done one they would have found out about this most questionable of designs within about… zero point two seconds!
OK well that was it, hope you were all able to cope.
By the way ToyNerd did get its 1000th comment yesterday from Mathew. He will be receiving a cool, one of a kind prize from me. Congrats. The rest of you keep on commenting as I will continue randomly selecting folks and giving out more prizes. You never know, it could be you next time. Good luck.
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