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SECRET ORIGINS OF CAPTAIN ACTION - PART 4 of 6
The AMAZING NINE- THIRTEEN-IN-ONE HERO!

When Captain Action was first created, his nine different identities led to the doll being dubbed "The Amazing Nine-in-One Superhero" -- but in 1967, Ideal issued four MORE identities the good Captain could assume, making him, in reality, "The Amazing Thirteen-in-One Hero." Today on DIAL B for BLOG, we take a look at Cap's final four heroic personalities, Spider-Man, The Green Hornet, Tonto, and Buck Rogers. We'll also meet Cap's trusty sidekick, Action Boy, and see the famous Video-Matic Flasher Rings that came with Cap's second-issue personas! Here we go, Action lovers...

CAPTAIN ACTION as SPIDER-MAN!
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.SPIDER-MAN

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962

SECRET ORIGIN: A radioactive spider bites geeky student Peter Parker, giving him abilities like those of a spider. He devises wrist-worn web shooters and a uniform, and uses them to fight crime as Spider-Man.

REAL ORIGIN: Jack Kirby initially proposed a story about a kid who gets powers from a ring he finds in a spider-web, and fights crime with a web-pistol. Editor/writer Stan Lee gave his OK, but after seeing Kirby’s initial pages, Lee decided the King’s version of the character was too much like Captain America with webs. Lee reassigned the book to Steve Ditko, who abandoned the magic ring and web-pistol, and completely redesigned Spider-Man's costume. The rest is history!

FUN FACT: In naming Spider-Man, Stan Lee was inspired by pulp crimefighter The Spider, who also used a ring as part of his gimmickry.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Amazing Spider-Man #5 was the very first MARVEL comic book that I, Robby Reed -- creator of this web site and author of this article -- ever bought!


BELOW: Rare Spider-Man promotional art by Steve Ditko
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CAPTAIN ACTION as THE GREEN HORNET!
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.The GREEN HORNET

FIRST APPEARANCE:
The Green Hornet radio show on WXYZ Detroit and other stations on January 31, 1936.

SECRET ORIGIN: Wealthy newspaper publisher Brit Reid fights crime by night as the masked Green Hornet, using his Hornet Gun and tricked-out car, the Black Beauty, to put the sting on criminals with his trusty Asian sidekick, Kato.

REAL ORIGIN: The Green Hornet was created by station WXYZ's George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, who also created The Lone Ranger!

FUN FACT: The radio show used Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" as its theme song, blended with the sound of a hornet buzz created on a Thermion, one of the first fully electronic musical instruments!

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Bruce Lee landed the part of Kato at age 26. He got the part because he was the only person to audition who could accurately pronounce the star's character's name, Britt Reid!


ABOVE RIGHT: Original radio Green Hornet Al Hodge
BELOW: The Green Hornet's brief Gold Key comic book career, and The Black Beauty model.
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GREEN HORNET #1 (FEB 1967) GREEN HORNET #2 (MAY 1967) GREEN HORNET #3 (AUG 1967)
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CAPTAIN ACTION as TONTO!
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TONTO

.FIRST APPEARANCE:
Tonto made his first appearance on the 12th episode of the Lone Ranger radio show, which aired on station WXYZ on February 25, 1933.

SECRET ORIGIN: Tonto is the Lone Ranger's faithful Indian companion. "Tonto" is a real Potowatomie Indian name that means "wild one."

REAL ORIGIN: Tonto was created by writer Fran Striker to give the Lone Ranger someone to talk to. During the show's 21-year run, with only a few exceptions, Tonto was voiced by American actor John Todd, pictured right.

FUN FACT: Tonto was portrayed as an intelligent character who was almost an equal partner to the Lone Ranger. Nevertheless the name given him by writer Fran Striker also means "idiot" or "stupid" in Spanish.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: When the Lone Ranger shows are dubbed for Spanish audiences, Tonto is renamed Toro, meaning bull!


BELOW: Yes, Tonto had his very own comic book title!
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TONTO #5 TONTO #17 TONTO #21

Yes, Tonto ALSO had his very own Aurora model kit -- ad art by Murphy Anderson!
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CAPTAIN ACTION as BUCK ROGERS!
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.BUCK ROGERS

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Anthony Rogers, the central character of Philip Francis Nowlan's novella "Armageddon 2419 AD," first appeared in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, cover shown right

SECRET ORIGIN: While exploring a cave, US Army Air Corps officer Anthony Rogers falls into a coma after being exposed to a gas. He awakens in the 25th century. Together with Wilma Deering and Dr. Huer, Buck struggles to rid the world of evil warlords.

REAL ORIGIN: On January 7, 1929 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century AD, the first science fiction comic strip, debuted. The Buck Rogers comic strip ran continuously for an amazing 38 years, ending on July 8, 1967.

FUN FACT: John F. Dille, president of the National Newspaper Service syndicate, arranged for Nowlan to turn his Armageddon stories into a comic strip. Dille coined the nickname "Buck" for the hero, and the name stuck.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: The famous Amazing Stories cover shown right does NOT depict Buck Rogers -- it illustrates "The Skylark of Space," another story in the issue.


BELOW: Buck Rogers comic strip, among the first professional work of Murphy Anderson
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Introducing the sensational character find of 1967...
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.LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY!

Batman had Robin, Superman had Jimmy Olsen, and in 1967, Captain Action got Action Boy! Pose him in 1,001 positions! Action Boy came with accessories such as a beret, a boomerang, and his pet, a black panther named Khem (seen left). Khem is .the Egyptian word for black!

Like Captain Action, this nine inch tall figure also had the ability to transform himself into different superheroic identities: Aqualad, Robin and Superboy. Contrary to popular belief, a Kato (Green Hornet's sidekick) uniform was never produced for Action Boy!

Although the Action Boy figure was produced with brown hair, aging can make the figures' painted-on hair look red or sandy blonde. Who, exactly, was AB? Although not specified originally, Action Boy was later said to be Captain Action's actual biological son, a welcome change from the endless arrays of wards, orphans and nephews who were usually kid sidekicks. Illustrations for AB's three different accessory boxes, all pictured below, were provided, again, by the inimitable Murphy Anderson.

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Here's the Captain Action & Action Boy mini-comic that came with the figure. Are Cap and AB really the "World's Greatest Super Heroes," as it says on the mini-cover? Well, considering they can change into Superman and Batman, as well as Superboy and Robin, I'd have to say the answer is... YES!
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Action Boy races off to adventure with Cap in the Silver Streak, their amphibious land/water cruiser!

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Action Boy looks to be having a grand old time in the advertisement seen below for the Silver Streak, showing the toy from multiple angles, and listing its features. Wow! It even fires "turbo rockets," aka two plastic darts!

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CAPT. ACTION VIDEO-MATIC FLASHER RINGS!

With the second issue of the popular action figure, each Captain Action uniform came with a "Video-Matic Flasher Ring." These plastic rings had a lenticular image on them that showed Cap as himself, and when tilted showed Cap in the identity of Batman, Spider-Man or whatever identity the ring came with. Here's an animated GIF showing the rings with both images...

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Hey! Reader!
Stop staring at the mesmerizing ring images above. You'll hurt your eyes! And believe me, Robby Reed, creator of this site and author of this article, you'll NEED your eyes for our next issue. That is, of course, unless you don't like looking at pencils and inks by Wally Wood, and don't like seeing rare pencil roughs by the late Gil Kane (in which case I strongly suggest you see an eye doctor immediately). Coming next -- the CAP COMIC BOOK!


CLICK HERE FOR PART FIVE

SECRET ORIGINS OF CAPTAIN ACTION PART FIVE
The CAPTAIN ACTION COMIC BOOK!
by JIM SHOOTER • WALLY WOOD • GIL KANE


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