Toy Review

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  • Reviewed Format: 12" Action Figure
  • Manufacturer: Sideshow Toy
  • Retail Price: $29.98


The thinking man's action figure

By JEFF BOND     October 15, 2002

Back in the '50s and '60s, whenever humans encountered an extraterrestrial or some kind of superior intelligence, one thing was for certain: the thing was going to have a big head. Whether they were Metalunans, Metalunan mutants, Talosians or some other super-intellectual, big, bald "butthead" beings were the way to go.

TV's THE OUTER LIMITS contributed to this trend with several episodes, including "Keeper of the Purple Twilight" in year two and "The Sixth Finger," a seminal episode in the first season. In "The Sixth Finger" THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.'s David McCallum plays an uneducated Welsh mine worker who undergoes an experiment in accelerated evolution. The miner, named Gwyllm, begins transforming into an advanced version of homo sapiens: his fingers elongate and add a third joint, and he begins growing a sixth finger on each hand; he begins to lose his hair and his skull begins to expand in order to house a highly advanced, superhuman-sized brain. Eventually Gwyllm reaches a stage in human evolution in which he can no longer relate to normal human beings.

The image of the hyper-evolved Gwyllm has become one of the most enduring images from the OUTER LIMITS television program, and in a way it typifies science fiction from this period and pointed the way toward STAR TREK's Talosians and the pointed-eared Mr. Spock. The elaborate makeup was a collaboration between Fred Phillips (later to apply ears to Spock on STAR TREK), John Chambers (the makeup maestro behind the PLANET OF THE APES films) and Wah Chang, who specialized in sculpting the large rubber head appliances seen on THE OUTER LIMITS and STAR TREK.

Sideshow's action figure kind of subverts the concept of "action"Gwyllm doesn't come equipped with ray guns, equipment or transportation devices: just books to read and sheet music to play! Mat Falls' elegant sculpture perfectly captures the outré lines of John Chambers' original makeup, right down to the upswept ears, brow ridges, and McCallum's glassy-eyed, curious expression. The flowing lab coat smartly duplicates the costume shown on the show too. The highly poseable body is actually far more articulated than you'd ever need a figure of this particular character to be, but you can't complain about that. Sideshow also includes a handy display stand to keep this understandably top-heavy figure from toppling over onto its face.

Right now Sideshow Toys is the premiere torchbearer of '60s pop culture where action figures are concerned, with lines devoted to THE OUTER LIMITS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, HOGAN'S HEROES, and GET SMART. It's heartbreaking that the company's acquisition of a STAR TREK license only includes a line of busts: a 12" STAR TREK line to go with the TWILIGHT ZONE and OUTER LIMITS figures would truly complete the triumvirate of classic '60s sci fi.

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.


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