Variants aren’t for everyone, but this one is as good as it gets for this Batman ’66 aficionado.
Part 1 of a 3-part look at Figures Toy Company‘s Batman ’66 variant offerings: The good and the controversial …
Sometimes things just work out.
I’ve mentioned a couple times that Burt Ward’s performance as Dick Grayson is something of an underrated part of Batman ’66. Or at least, it’s taken for granted.
Because Dick/Robin was such a one-note character, it’s easy to forget that there’s an actor in there. And Ward was so good at it that he quickly became typecast, effectively ending his acting career.
So my favorite Burt Ward moments tend to be those where he went beyond the usual, aggressively impetuous sidekick schtick. You didn’t see it often, but Ward was occasionally allowed to play with the tropes of the role.
Best example? The Joker Goes to School/He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul, in Season 1, where Batman sends his youthful ward to the Easy Living Candy Store to infiltrate the Joker’s gang by getting in good with Susie the Crooked Cheerleader (Donna Loren in an epically funny turn).
It’s Dick Grayson: Undercover Agent. (Or, as I like to call him, Juvenile Delinquent Dick Grayson.)
Throughout the scene, a leathered-up “Dickie Boy” sneeringly tries to convince “Sue, baby” and thug Nick (a riotous Kip King) that he’s really a bad kid and wants to join up with them — though they see right through his inability to smoke a single cigarette.
He’s a Rebel Without a Clue.
The whole thing seemed dangerous to Young Dan, but through adult eyes it’s one of the funniest scenes of the entire series.
A while back, while chatting with the folks at Figures Toy Company about their line, I mentioned that Juvenile Delinquent Dick Grayson would make a great variant. Lo and behold, there he is, as part of a $175 Entertainment Earth exclusive five-pack. (More on that in Part 2 and 3.)
Now, would I have preferred that Dickie Boy be a single release? Of course, I would. But business is business and for the purposes of this piece, I want to talk about Undercover Agent Dick Grayson on his own terms.
Which is to say that this is something I never in a thousand years would have imagined ever owning.
Top to bottom, I love this thing and it makes me giddy to think that it even exists. Dick’s wearing dark slacks and boots, his leather jacket and black gloves. The only thing missing is the faux-menacing sneer (and, I suppose, a miniature pack of smokes).
My next suggestion? A Susie figure. I mean, I know that Donna Loren’s image hasn’t been licensed, but a generic head on a red-and-white Woodrow Roosevelt High School cheerleader outfit would do the trick, wouldn’t it? If DC can manage to work around likeness issues in the Batman ’66 comic book, then FTC has wiggle room, too, I’d imagine.
Hell — or, Heck, as even Dickie Boy would say — think about it: Why not a whole line of molls and henchmen? A generic redhead female with a Robin outfit. A “Felix” Catwoman henchman. A G.O.O.N. A Joker henchman.
Remember, Mego went generic for the Planet of the Apes Astronaut, Star Trek Klingon, and so forth …
Would they sell? No idea. You tell me.
But it’s fun to think about either way.