Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

A Grander Grand Moff: Gentle Giant’s Cushing Kenner Counterpart

It’s Sci-Fi Friday !

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures
Peter Cushing’s Star Wars character gets a belated but super-sized facsimile.
(All images courtesy of Diamond Select Toys/Gentle Giant Ltd.)

Fun City…

Spring 1977. Manhattan Island. 
6 friends emerge from their subway trip smack dab into a purse snatching in progress. Instinctively they give chase to the thief and corner him in a dead-end out-door parking lot. Police arrive and the boys quickly head for their destination, the Loews Astor Plaza movie theater. 

Yeah, that happened. It was a memorable real life adventure to have on the way to viewing Star Wars, which turned out to be the defining fictional adventure of the 20th Century.

Detour aside, we managed to get seated in time to read the serial inspired crawl and feel the imperial cruiser roar from the back of the theater and over our heads.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth

Who to my wondering eyes did appear…
As the tale unfolded, I remember how surprised I was to see my favorite Hammer Films actor, Peter Cushing, turn up on the screen. Cushing had long ago established himself as a determined Dr. Frankenstein and agile Van Helsing in Hammer’s reinventions of monster movie classics. By 1977 he had also played Doctor Who in two films (Dr. Who and the Daleks, Dalek Invasion Earth 2150) and was an icon of the horror and science fiction genres. So, even his smattering of screen time in Stars Wars added an air of class and extra level of menace to the narrative. This was a serious bad guy, willing to obliterate the innocent “blue marble” Alderaan just for sport.

Therefore, it’s hard to believe that in the avalanche of nearly 100 Star Wars action figures released by Kenner in the ensuing decade, Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin character never got his turn as a collectible toy.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth

Super Size Me…
Enter Gentle Giant Ltd. to remedy that oversight in a big way. The company, known for their high quality product sculpts for Diamond Select Toys, has its own line of Star Wars figures. They’ve previously released a The Empire Strikes Back styled DarthVader, and Cloud City based Leia Organa. Although based on the beloved 3.75 inch originals Gentle Giant’s Jumbo Kenner counterparts stand an impressive 12 inches tall.

This grander Grand Moff will be released in January 2022 but is available to pre-order as a limited edition exclusive from Entertainment Earth, or directly from Gentle Giant for members of their 2021 Premier Guild. It comes in a classic blister card display, with collector friendly resealable casing.

Other Jumbo Star Wars figure preorders include a beskar and cape clad Mandalorian, and an SDCC 2021 exclusive Return of the Jedi 4oth Anniversary Boba Fett.

Gentle Giant Jumbo Figures come in classic style, collector friendly, resealable cases.

SkeletonPete Says…
I later learned that the Hammer and genre film cast connections went even deeper than Mr. Cushing. Though voiced by James Earl Jones, it was former Frankenstein Monster David Prowse physically portraying uber villain Darth Vader, and Peter Mayhew, the automaton minotaur in Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger was in the Wookie suit. Well… the only thing that could have made it better was if Michael Ripper was underneath the Greedo mask.

diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
diamond select toys, gentle giant, str wars, Peter Cushing, grand off train, kenner, action figures, entertainment earth
Film & Television Series Toys & Collectibles

It Ain’t The Addams Family: “Penny Dreadful” Returns

showtime, penny dreadful
All in the Family – The cast of Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” will soon find themselves immortalized as Tonner fashion dolls.
Mysterious and Spooky…
The Showtime series Penny Dreadful returns for a second season this Sunday, May 3. Though I think the show was greeted with some apprehension from genre fans it quickly became a must watch even for jaded “monster kids” like myself.

Though I was hoping for the best, I was honestly expecting an Entourage styled “monster rally” similar to the glib spin on the Pre-Raphaelite artists perpetrated by BBC’s Desperate Romantics (2010). Fortunately creator John Logan treats the characters with reverence and has spun up a plot line that can satisfy both novice and knowledgable viewer. I personally liken it to the mis-en-scene of Coppola’s Dracula (1992) honored with outstanding performances from its cast. If you’ve avoided viewing so far I’d suggest that a binge watch to catch up is worth the effort and time.

Your House is a Museum…
Aside from a couple of Mego styled figures from Entertainment Earth‘s Biff Bang Pow, the series seems to have gotten past merchandisers on it’s first round. That will be remedied by a barrage of offerings this spring. Collectors can expect trading cards from Cryptozoic Entertainment, calendars, posters, tarot cards, refrigerator magnets, and other branded products are all in the works.

showtime, penny dreadful, hot topic
Some of Hot Topic’s “Penny Dreadful” inspired line.
So Get A Witch’s Shawl On…
As announced by Jackie Breyer’s Total Licensing Report, CBC Consumer Products with gothic glam purveyors Hot Topic will be featuring a ton of women’s togs based around the series’ dark flavor. Expect Hot Topic’s shopping mall store windows to be adorned with Penny Dreadful themed displays in late May when the line debuts for sale. The designs appear to be quite wearable beyond their show based novelty. Presale is already available on the Hot Topic website.

Neat, Sweet, Petite…
Much to my glee, the fine folks of the Tonner Doll Company will be creating high end fashion dolls of the lead characters. The easy-on-the-eyes cast should translate well to doll-land, with actress Eva Green in particular seemingly created to be portrayed in this medium. Based on the company’s prior work with licenses like DC Comics, Gone With the Wind, Avatar, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and The Big Bang Theory, I expect these will be exceptional renditions.

Toys & Collectibles

Fire, Ice & Everything Nice: Dark Horse’s “Mother of Dragons”

Dark Horse and HBO Present Emilia Clarke, Daenerys Bust
If you’re riding high on your dose of the new season of “Game of Thrones” you can quench between episode joneses pondering this amazing likeness of Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. The unburnt “Mother of Dragons” is fittingly replete with baby perched on her shoulder, just like the final scene of season one. A color variant, representing the hues of Viserion, will be exclusive to Entertainment Earth. The included base is entwined with relief work depicting the iconography of the show’s opening titles, featuring dragons and stags and wolves.

Not much is left to say when the picture above speaks volumes, but having personally perused this piece from Dark Horse Deluxe and HBO licensing I must note it is simply stunning. Expect this limited edition to be available in late June. The Gentle Giant Studios sculpt is approximately 7 inches tall and 8 inches wide.