Monday, August 31, 2009

Yo, Rinty!

Toymaker Louis Marx & Co. made a lot of Fort Apache playsets, issuing one annually for 20 years. One of the best was the Rin Tin Tin Fort Apache playset. I got one for Christmas around 1958. It contained 60mm figures as opposed to the usual 54mm in other Western sets, and some of the poses were outstanding. Also included were characters from the TV show The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, 1954-1959.
The show featured an orphan, Rusty B. Company (Lee Aaker) and his German shepherd, Rin Tin Tin, both of whom had been adopted as mascots for B Troop, Fort Apache. Despite the fact that the real Fort Apache didn't have stockade walls or a totem pole and that the Indians in the set didn't look like Apaches, it was still a swell playset.

Pictured are the character figures from the set (l-r): Lt. Rip Masters (James Brown), Rinty, and Rusty. No, not the King of Soul James Brown. In some areas of the country Rusty was released without the rifle. I always thought Marx missed the boat by omitting Sgt. Biff O'Hara as a character figure, but I suppose they couldn't get them all. The other regular on the series was Trooper Boone, played by Rand Brooks.

Rinty was portrayed by three different dogs over the course of the show, two of which were descendants of the original Rin Tin Tin, whose movie career was launched in 1922.

More trivia: Lee Aaker was one of the campers in the original Spin & Marty series. The same dog figure was used as Roy Rogers' pet, Bullet, in the Roy Rogers playsets.


Dave Lewis said...

Great photography, cool trivia. Let's see that Marx Custer and his posse.

Dave Lewis said...

P.S. What was Marx thinking with Rusty's pose? Looks like he's waiting to hug his big fat mama.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Character figures were usually in uninspired poses, but there were exceptions.