antican

Where have all the Rikers gone?

On a recent trip to my homeland (Los Angeles) my brother and I, in anticipation of attending the world’s largest annual Star Trek Convention, decided to search through our old things to find our Star Trek Toys. As mentioned in an earlier post, I once had the opportunity to show Michael Dorn my favorite toy, my Galoob Worf action figure, when I was but a mere child. This Galoob line were the first Star Trek toys I remember us having. Later of course we had Star Trek The Motion Picture action figures and of course oodles of the Playmates figures that spanned every series, but didn’t start getting released until a few years into The Next Generation. 

Galoob had a strange set they released, which included a shuttle craft (which we had), a Ferengi ship of sorts (which we also had), and a couple alien species who made only one appearance in the episode “Lonely Among Us,” and then were used as set dressing later on. When I watched this episode recently I was reminded how we used to joke that the action figure of The Antican was in fact an old version of the Mon Calamari – Admiral Ackbar’s species from Star Wars. 

As we searched through our toys we found many versions of the same figure. You see, toys had to be replaced as they became worn, used, and broken. Sometimes we would intentionally break our toys, but not often, usually they just got tired. The picture above are toys from Star Trek: The Motion Pictures. These action figures are obviously from a later time when we knew better how to take care of them.  In fact as we first started to really get interested in filmmaking we would make our own movies or episodes, if you will, using some of the playmates toys. As they got over used we would get a second toy for close-ups and glamour shots, while the more worn and older toy would serve in demanding battle sequences. But I digress. 

When we did our search for toys we found many generations but we seemed to be lacking a few important ones. We couldn’t seem to find the original set of the Galoob The Next Generation figures. The set with the flimsy worf and a data with spots all over his face. We also couldn’t find even a single Riker toy. Eventually we came across a box in the garage that contained many secrets. We found most of the Galoob figures, a great deal of Picards, and all of the Trois (which were in a special bag that held all of our sister’s toys) but there still seemed to be no Rikers. Not to mislead you, we did find some Rikers, but these were of a much later incarnation. We couldn’t find any of the early Rikers. There were no Rikers from the Galoob series, and certainly none of the early Playmates Rikers with the tears in his uniform. We couldn’t even find the later Rikers that still had tears in the uniform, but the tears had been painted over. I can only imagine  Playmates had decided that the tears were stupid, which they were – especially for creative kids who sometimes needed Riker to appear in a film not as if he had just gotten out of a fight with a pregnant Sehlat. There simply were none of the early Rikers. It baffles me to this moment. As I write this post I simply cannot seem to figure it out, where have all the Rikers gone?

The Galoob figures Star Trek: The Next Generation Figures. (pictured clockwise from the bottom: Tasha Yar sitting, Data assembled from pieces assumed to be his own, Ferengi, Captain Jean Luc Picard, Presumably Riker’s headless body, The Antican, Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge, The infamous Lt. Worf.)