DIAMOND SELECT TOYS TO DEBUT TALKING MONTY
PYTHON ACTION FIGURES
Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles (DST) of Timonium, Maryland has announced that it will release the first-ever talking Monty Python action figures this year.
Capitalizing on the most licensable of the Python films, DST has modeled the figures on the main characters from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The first series of three figures (see photos) will include:
Series 1 is slated for a late November release. Series 2, which is looking at a Summer 2004 launch, will feature the other three Pythons:
Each figure will stand 7-inches tall and will come with a Grail logo base which, when pushed, will say one of three phrases. Each recorded phrase will be taken directly from the film and will, of course, be specific to that character.
The figures will carry a suggested retail price of $12.99 and will
come with shield, sword, and base (with talk button). About 10,000 to
50,000 units of each figure will ship, according to DST. The figures
will be available at comic book stores and collectible shops. All of
the figures on display will have a "try me" option - look
for them later this year.
I'd Like to Buy a Fish License
Andy Livingston of Diamond Select Toys explained the process by which the company decided on the Python figures.
Every once in a while we try to think of a new license, explained Livingston. Looking to fill the slot of a recently expired license, Battle of the Planets, the creative brains at DST turned their thoughts to other cult phenomena. Normally we try to think of properties that are 'evergreen' and not just fads Mr. Livingston said. Disney, Looney Tunes, Star Wars, and Monty Python fall into that category. They have been around forever.
Monty Python was a clear winner, particularly given the success of the DVDs and other licensed products. But how to break new ground in a rapidly growing field of Monty Python memorabilia? The one thing that was missing from the product family, the execs at DST felt, was 'sound.' So, DST contacted Bliss House, North America's licensor for the Monty Python films, and struck a deal. Bliss House, it turned out, had access to a number of Digital Audio Tapes of the original Holy Grail film.
For some at DST, the project was a dream come true. We have some BIG fans in the company, explained Livingston. Multiple viewings of Holy Grail became mandatory for the staff. Scripts and photographs were consulted. The airspeed of various swallows were tested. Coconut halves were parked in the executive lot until the wee hours. Developing figures based on a twenty-eight-year old film proved to be no small task.
Likenesses are always very difficult to do, explained Livingston. With Holy Grail, the figures' likenesses had to be based on how the actors looked in the original 1975 film. The Pythons' faces have changed so much that doing a three-dimensional computer model of the actors (as some movie studios and toy companies today are doing) would not have made sense. For this, the film itself had to be consulted.
The artists used photos and sculpted the figures by hand, using metal skeletons and special clay. The photos shown with this article are test versions, which are 50% larger than the final figures you will buy in the stores. When the test versions are finally ready, the figures will be replicated by artisans in China. Steel molds will be created wherein plastic is poured to create the individual figure components - heads, arms, legs, etc. The parts will then be assembled and painted by hand. At every step there's a person, explained Livingston.
Keep tabs on the new figures from Diamond Select Toys by visiting http://www.diamondselecttoys.com/products/.