15 Unexpected Action Figures You Can Buy

Amazon
Amazon

When most people think of action figures, superheroes and army soldiers come to mind. But isn’t that a little limiting? After all, Benjamin Franklin harnessed the power of lightning and we’re pretty sure Hillary Clinton has a mean right hook. Here are some action figures you might not have expected—but totally want now that you know about them. (Since these toys are geared toward adults and likely have swallowable parts, they're not recommended for children.)

1. HILLARY CLINTON; $15


Now you can re-enact all the fun of the campaign trail with this Hillary Clinton action figure. The 6-inch figure comes with posable limbs perfect for striking presidential poses and giving impassioned speeches. The presidential hopeful is dressed in a signature Clinton pantsuit and sensible heels.

Find it: Amazon

2. DONALD TRUMP; $38


On the other side of the election, we have Donald Trump. While we couldn’t find an action figure based on his current political persona, there is this relic from his time as a reality star. The toy speaks and has 17 different quotes from the television show The Apprentice. Now you can fire all your other toys and build a ritzy golf course in your bedroom.

Find it: Amazon

3. EDGAR ALLAN POE; $12


Recreate famous stories like The Fall of the House of Usher or The Tell-Tale Heart with this Edgar Allan Poe action figure. The hard vinyl figure is perfect for all your macabre misadventures. The set comes with a tiny raven to whisper in Poe's ear.

Find it: Amazon

4. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE; $10


Writing sonnets has never been so exciting as with the help of this William Shakespeare action figure. He even comes with a plastic quill and book.

Find it: Amazon

5. JANE AUSTEN; $11


This Jane Austen action figure comes with a book and quill to help her write commentary about the high society in your toy box.

Find it: Amazon

6. RON BURGUNDY; $31


Relive all the best parts of Anchorman with this Ron Burgundy figure. The 13-inch toy has 12 different sayings from the movie and comes with a pair of aviator sunglasses, a glass of scotch on the rocks, and a dumbbell. You can also change Burgundy into a robe and loafers for relaxing at home with his many leather-bound books. Strangely, when you take off the sunglasses, you can look through the back of the figure’s head and see out of Burgundy’s eyes.

Find it: Amazon

7. VLADIMIR PUTIN (ON A BEAR); $65


Putin is known for his love of outdoor sports and riding animals shirtless, so it’s no surprise that his action figure would choose a bear as his steed. You can make Putin ride the bear into action—whether it be to hunt in the woods or intimidate foreign government officials.

Find it: Amazon

8. ALBERT EINSTEIN; $35


The German physicist might not seem like a superhero at first glance, but when you consider the breakthrough discoveries he made in his lifetime, it’s no wonder he’s been immortalized as a posable action figure. Use his movable arms to write elaborate calculations on blackboards and push back his luxurious, wispy locks.

Find it: Amazon

9. VINCENT VAN GOGH; $14


This van Gogh action figure comes with an easel and art box, and the figure holds a palette and paintbrush. The set has an amazing amount of detail: The easel actually opens and closes and holds a tiny version of a van Gogh painting (Harvest Landscape with Blue Cart).

Find it: Amazon

10. MOSES; $11


Have a biblically good time with this fun Moses action figure, complete with the Ten Commandments. The rest of your toy box is sure to stay in line when the rules are clearly displayed on those two tiny plastic tablets.

Find it: Amazon

11. PULP FICTION; $30


If you’re looking for a little more profanity with your toys, consider one of these Pulp Fiction action figures that spew all sorts of explicit quotes from the movie. You can pick from Vincent, Jules, or Jimmie. Vincent comes with a gun and has 12 different colorful sayings. Jules has a gun, briefcase, gold bracelet, and a “bad motherf*****” wallet; it speaks 11 phrases. Jimmie has a cup and slippers and says seven different things.

Find it: ThinkGeek

12. SNOOP DOGG; $40


This action figure is a full foot tall and ready to go on all sorts of adventures with you. With 34 points of articulation, you can pose the rapper in almost any position you’d like. Since it’s no longer in production, the supply is limited—get one while you still can.

Find it: Snoopermarket

13. ELVIS PRESLEY; $50


Serenade your other toys with this Elvis action figure. The glittering gold suit is certain to impress even your snooty G.I. Joe. Mattel has a huge line of Elvis toys and Barbie brand also makes a variety of Elvis dolls.

Find it: Amazon

14. POPE JOHN PAUL II; $34


Now you can bless your toy box with this Pope action figure. The toy has a historically accurate outfit and has 22 sayings spoken in the Pope’s actual voice.

Find it: Amazon

15. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; $34


Relive one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous experiments with this action figure complete with kite. Since this toy is made with hard vinyl, it probably won’t attract any lightning, but it’s possible Franklin never really performed this trick to begin with.

Find it: Amazon

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

The Fur Trade: How the Care Bears Conquered the '80s

Care Bears were one of the great merchandising success stories of the 1980s.
Care Bears were one of the great merchandising success stories of the 1980s.
Kristy Sparrow, Getty Images

How do you patent a teddy bear? That was the question facing executives at American Greetings, the popular greeting card company, and toy kingpin Kenner in the early 1980s. American Greetings was coming off the success of Strawberry Shortcake, an apple-cheeked sensation that adorned cards and hundreds of licensed products. Kenner was the force behind the Star Wars action figure line, which rolled out in the late 1970s and went on to become one of the biggest success stories in the history of the toy industry.

Now the two companies wanted to collaborate on a line of teddy bears. For Kenner, it was an opportunity to break into the lucrative plush toy market. For American Greetings, having a stuffed, furry iteration of a greeting card—complete with a name, a unique color, and an emotional message—was the goal. The solution? Put greeting card-esque designs on the bears's stomachs and call them Care Bears. It was a simple idea that proceeded to rake in roughly $2 billion in sales in the Care Bears's first five years alone.

 

Strawberry Shortcake was the brainchild of Those Characters From Cleveland, a creative subsidiary of American Greetings headed up by co-presidents Jack Chojnacki and Ralph Shaffer. (While on a business meeting on the West Coast, the two overheard a receptionist telling someone that “those guys from Cleveland” were there, inspiring the name.) Given a mission from Kenner to reinvent the teddy bear, a childhood staple since the turn of the 20th century, Those Characters recruited cartoonist Dave Polter and freelance artist Elena Kucharik.

Shaffer examined the rainbow, heart, and other greeting card designs submitted by Polter. He then examined the bear sketches turned in by Kucharik. They fit together like two puzzle pieces. Putting the colorful designs on the bear’s stomach gave it a quality similar to the sentimental cards American Greetings was known for.

Two Care Bears are pictured at the Boy Meets Girl x Care Bears Collection at Colette in Paris, France in February 2017
Care Bears symbolize friendship—and billions of dollars in revenue.
Kristy Sparrow, Getty Images

Those Characters continued to refine the look of the bears, compressing their frame and giving them a little extra volume to make them more squeezable, and a heart-shaped button on their rear ends identified them as Care Bears. American Greetings was able to secure a patent based on the graphic design of their bellies. Their two-dimensional look was fleshed out by Sue Trentel, a plush designer who was able to craft a teddy that resembled the drawings.

The creative team eventually settled on a lineup of 10 bears, each one a different color and reflecting a different emotional dimension. There was Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Love-a-Lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear, and Wish Bear, along with one anomaly. To balance out the potential overdose of saccharine feelings, Grumpy Bear was added. In the narrative devised by Those Characters, the Care Bears lived in a giant castle and went out on missions of caring.

While Kenner was leading the charge in terms of marketing, American Greetings knew they had a premise with broad appeal. Before any Care Bears made it to shelves, the company secured 26 licensees to manufacture everything from clothing to bedsheets to coloring books. Retailers who may have been reluctant to devote store space to a new line of teddy bears were impressed by the support, leading chains like Walmart, Kmart, and Target to quickly sign on.

 

To complement the launch of the Care Bears at the 1983 Toy Fair in New York City, Kenner president Bernie Loomis mounted a major Broadway-style stage production at a cost of roughly $1 million. During the show, Strawberry Shortcake made an appearance to introduce the next great merchandising craze.

The bears went on sale that March and quickly sold out. Desperate for more product, Kenner promised a factory owner in Taiwan a new Mercedes if he could make 1 million more Care Bears—and quickly. (Kenner got their bears, and the factory owner got his car.) American Greetings had a 16-foot stretch of Care Bears cards lining the greeting card aisles. An animated series was a hit. The Care Bears Movie followed in 1985. By 1988, more than 40 million Care Bears had been sold. By 2007, the number was 110 million. The teddy bear had successfully been reinvented.

Several Care Bears are pictured on a table at the Boy Meets Girl x Care Bears Collection at Colette in Paris, France in February 2017
Care Bears have endured for nearly 40 years.
Kristy Sparrow, Getty Images

The Care Bears have been reintroduced several times, including in 2002, 2007, and 2013. American Greetings is still marketing the Care Bears under their Cloudco Entertainment brand. A new animated series, Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, began airing on Boomerang in 2019, while apparel and other licensing—like Care Bears Funko Pops! and Care Bears clothing for Mattel’s Barbie—is still going strong.

Why the enduring appeal? In 2007, Polter credited the secularized version of values that are often instilled in churches. The Care Bears were on a mission of sharing, loving, and caring—a greeting card message that never had to leave your side.