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Review of The Joker - 1966 Batman Television action figure

Mattel
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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Introduction

While I have been loving the new Mattel 1966 Batman series with my heart, my head has been less kind. I'm checking out another of the characters tonight, with hopes of bringing head and heart together.

The Joker was played by the great Cesar Romero. While Mr. Romero had more than 200 acting roles, including a great part in the orginal Ocean's Eleven with the Rat Pack, he was best known for his portrayal of the Clown Prince on the campy 1960's Batman show.

With the release of this figure, we *might* be seeing the end of this series, much too soon. The announced Catwoman will hopefully still make it to market, but rumblings from Mattel is that the series is complete. That's a pity, considering the wealth of great characters they had at their disposal.

This figure is available from online retailers for around $18, or at your local Toys R Us.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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Packaging - ***1/2
The packages have some great graphics from the show, including the classic shot of Batman and Robin scaling the building. I'm not sure why they selected this particular phrase for the Joker package - "Holy Interplanetary Yard Stick!" - but it's certainly unique.

I wish the show graphics had continued to the back, with the character shots. Instead they went with an animated cartoon style, which doesn't work as well for the license.

The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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Sculpting - ***
Of the characters released so far, this one is my favorite likeness. It isn't perfect, but I can easily see the actor and the character.

The wild expression matches the way Romero played the Joker, and the puffed up green hair looks great. The head is a little undersized for the body, probably because they didn't take into account the bulky coat, but it's better at certain angles than others.

He has no accessories, so one hand is sculpted in a fist and the other in a pointing pose.

He stands great on his own, and comes in at about 6.25" tall, properly in scale with the other figures.

The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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Paint - ***
Everyone knows the story - Romero was very attached to his mustache, so much so that he refused to have it shaved for the part. Instead, they just used the white pancake make up to hide it as best as possible, which worked for the standard of low-def television of the period. But anyone that's watched the movie on DVD knows how obvious the mustache still was. I can't wait to see what it looks like on blu-ray!

This is important because they absolutely couldn't over look it on the figure. Thankfully, they realized that and the shadow is right there on his upper lip, just like fans of the show expect.

Most of the rest of the work is decent, with reasonable edges on the face paint, including the hair line. There's still some blurry edges, especially on the costume, but they are fairly minor.

Articulation - ***
While there's plenty of joints, they are a bit restricted by the suit design.

He has a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut biceps, pin elbows, cut wrists, cut waist, hinge hips, cut thighs, pin knees and pin ankles. Joints like the ankles and waist are very restricted, while others like the neck are far less useful than I'd like, particularly at this price point.

Still, it's quite a bit of articulation for a old guy in a suit, and you should be able to find one or two reasonable poses.

The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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Accessories - *1/2
I was being generous with past reviews when I gave them two stars for the display base and 'collector's card'. That assessment dropping a half star here.

The card is nice enough, but I'm not a big fan of paper extras like this, since they generally end up tossed in a drawer. Worse is the Joker artwork on the card - it looks like Romero after a long illness.

And while the stand is cute enough, with the ZAP! sticker, you probably won't bother using it. He stands great on his own.

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Fun Factor - ***
The articulation is reasonable, and kids that have had the privilege of seeing the old show will have a good time squaring this guy off against the earlier Batman. Collectors won't be able to do a lot of posing, but there's still enough fun here for them to get a B score. It's that nostalgia, don't you know.

Value - *1/2
Eighteen dollars? Sorry, but with figures like the excellent NECA Ducth coming in cheaper and with more accessories, it's hard to justify this price point.

Even worse, because of the rumors of the premature end of the line, these are selling out at many retailers, and the price is already rising.

The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - ***
I really think I'm being generous here - with no real accessories and a price point of almost $20, it's hard for me to say this guy is really three stars overall. I suspect that my nostalgia for the show is taking over on this one, largely because of the figures released so far, the Joker is my favorite.

If the Catwoman does end up being the final figure in the series, I will certainly mourn the end. While some other companies will be cranking out the high end stuff, this Mattel series was our best chance to get a wide variety of villains. I suppose fans should be happy with what they've got...but so much more was possible.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - *1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is still at $18.

- has him in stock for $18.

- is at $22.50.

- Entertainment Earth is still at $19.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've also covered the Batmobile, the Batman and Robin two pack, and the first wave of figures that included Batman, Riddler, and the Penguin.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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The Joker 1966 Batman TV action figure by Mattel

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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