The Most Controversial Toys of the Modern Era, Part 2

By Poe Ghostal in Daily Lists, Toys
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 6:00 am

Poe Ghostal here. As many noted in the comments on my last list, The Ten Most Controversial Action Figures of the Modern Era, there were a number of toys that didn't make the cut. This was mostly due to my criteria of only including toys that someone had written a professional article about regarding some sort of "controversy."

The rules are a bit looser this time around; I'm including toys that perhaps didn't merit much attention in the press, but collectors were certainly aware of them. I'm also expanding beyond action figures into toys of all types.

Of course, I could easily fill a dozen of these lists if I just went through every item on Reverend Rose's "Warped Toys" lists from the 1990s and early 2000s. But few of those toys merited much attention aside from those lists, so let's focus on the stuff people (or at least collectors) were actually talking about.

10.) "Party" Angela


At this point, Party Angela deserves some sort of Lifetime Achievement Award for appearances on toy-related Topless Robot lists.

Geeks have always been attentive whenever a female action figure is made with an accidental variant in which the factory forgets to paint the crotch area and leaves it flesh-colored. While there are plenty of actual figures of porn stars with sculpted genitalia, it's these variants of mainstream figures that catch collectors' notice.

The first and still most famous example is "Party" Angela, who has appeared on Topless Robot lists twice before. Spawn's angelic adversary was released in 1995, back when the adult action figure market was exploding and the slightest factory variation would send a figure's price skyrocketing.

A few years later, a Stephanie McMahon figure from JAKKS' WWE line had the same sort of wardrobe malfunction, which was a bit creepier in that the figure was based on a real person (well - 99% real, 1% silicone).

9.) Megatron


Nowadays, all toy guns are brightly-colored or, at the very least, have an eye-blindingly bright orange tip at the end of the barrel. But back in the day, you could buy your kid a black-molded toy gun that could easily get them shot by police. Such was the realistic design of evil Transformer villain Megatron's alternate gun mode.

The alt-mode was so realistic it was used at least once to hold hostages at gunpoint. Later releases and reissues of the toy added an orange cap to the end of the barrel. Heck, in Australia today, you can't legally own Masterpiece Megatron without a license and a lockable gun cabinet.

8.) Swearing Baby Smurf


In 1997, a mother in Ontario claimed the Berry Lovin' Baby Smurf doll she bought for her grandchild made three sounds: it laughed, it cried, it said, "Who gives a fuck?"

Manufacturer Irwin Toy claimed the toy didn't swear and that people were simply mishearing the words "I want to hug you." Listen for yourself and decide. Whatever it's saying, one thing is clear: that is one crappy voice feature. That shit is so garbled it could be saying anything.

7.) Wanking Tarzan

Can you guess why this toy was controversial?

His official name was "Rad Repeatin' Tarzan." The gimmick was that he could record you saying things and then repeat them back. Evidently he was also supposed to raise his hand to his mouth to do his famous call. However, lowering the arm just a little bit resulted in a far different gesture.

It's not clear whether this toy was ever actually recalled or banned, although due to its notoriety on the Web, plenty of eBay sellers are happy to tell you it was and is therefore RARE HTF!

6.) Black Canary Barbie


With a leather jacket-underwear combination that covers most of her torso and fishnet stockings, Black Canary is arguably one of the more fully-dressed female superheroes in comics. But when Mattel released a version of Barbie in Black Canary's outfit, some people were not pleased. The media called her "S&M Barbie," and the religious group Christian Voice claimed that "a children's doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible - it's filth."

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