Synopsis of Toy
Nary an action figure spent as much time in the gym as Big Jim. If you wanted muscles and testosterone, brawn and biceps in your toys, this was the guy you grabbed. Action figures were steeped in war themes in the 1960’s, but in the early 70’s, thanks to Vietnam, the toy-buying public wasn’t as hungry for things armed-forces-related. Hasbro’s G.I. Joe shed his soldier skin to become a part of his own “Adventure Team” line, and Mattel introduced Big Jim.
Of course, Jim wasn’t just the adventurer sort—he was a big sports guy too. This brawny gent was nine inches tall, and when the collectors use the phrase “well-articulated,” this is what they mean. Jim’s biceps actually flexed, and his “Big Jim Body Action” allowed his ball-jointed limbs a great deal of bend and turn range. He had a button on his back, and when pushed, it allowed his right arm to extend down. He came with a skimpy pair of shorts, a muscle band (which popped off impressively when his muscles bulged), a karate board, dumbbells, and a Big Jim Sportsbook. And if you’re wondering why the karate board is included that little accessory laundry list, you need only remember Jim’s extendable right arm—push the button and the arm came crashing down on that poor board like it was made of paper.
Jim also had his own crew of buddies, all of whom apparently spent as much time working out as Jim did. Big Josh, who looked like Jim with a beard, had a yen for denim shorts, big boots and log-cutting; Big Jack was African-American and came with the same sporty accessories as his buddy Jim; and Big Jeff, a blonde, was the jungle type—machete-wielding and khakis-wearing. If Jim needed anything—from a bench press spotter to a mountain climbing buddy—these were his go-to guys.
Since the dolls came with not much more than their skivvies, a nice assortment of accessory packs was sold separately. Practically the whole wide world of sporting events was right there at Jim’s plastic fingertips: skiing, fishing, baseball, boxing, soccer, hockey, motorcycling and more. And don’t forget the adventures that were available to Jim and his posse: safaris, camping, cowboy-ing, commando-ing and rescuing—for any and all of your rescue needs. To aid in both the sports and the adventures (lest you think his modes of transportation would be any less impressive than his outfits), there were steel machines such as the Sports Camper, the Boat and Buggy set, the Baja Beast and the Rescue Rig.
Billed as Big Jim's "greatest challenge," Mattel’s dastardly Dr. Steel hit the shelves in 1975. He was big and bald, with a metallic right hand, a pipe he could break with that hand, and a menacing dragon tattoo on his chest. The following year, 1976, was the year that the Big Jim P.A.C.K. stomped onto the action figure scene. The five-member P.A.C.K., which was an acronym for “Professional Agents Crime Killers,” consisted of Big Jim, Warpath, the Whip, Torpedo Fist and Dr. Steel. Warpath was a tracker; the Whip was a weapons expert; Torpedo was in Intelligence; and Dr. Steel, who had apparently turned in his villain badge to fight the good fight with Jim, was the enforcer. All four members had a world tattoo on their left hand, and matching boots with wolf prints on the soles. Trying his best to foil the P.A.C.K. and to fill Dr. Steel’s old nemesis boots was Zorak, the mad scientist. This fiend came with his own hooded cloak, of course, and now he was advertised as Big Jim’s greatest challenge.
But there’s nothing a muscle-bound fella likes more than a challenge. Big Jim and the boys might have only lasted a handful of years, but the toy line continued in Europe to great success and a wide variety of models. Studs like that you don’t soon forget.
Release History of Toyearly 1970's - Big Jim
1975 - Dr. Steel
1976 - Big Jim P.A.C.K.