Curly, The Three Stooges – No Census, No Feeling

8 Overall Score
Displayability: 10/10
Playability: 7/10
Quality: 8/10

Great attention to detail & likeness.

Loose joints & head, boots tough to remove, jersey open too tight.

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The relentless wave of nostalgia permeating pop culture shows no signs of slowing down. It’s especially powerful in the toy industry, where retro is the driving force behind many toy lines. Figures Toy Company is the leader in the ‘What’s Old Is New Again’ push, and they’re doing an excellent job.

The company’s updated takes on the classic Mego 8-inch action figures are really well done.

They not only make superb collectible display pieces, they’re a ton of fun to play with. FTC smartly branched out from just putting out reissues of the most fondly-remembered Mego products – namely, the Marvel & DC superhero dolls – to also issuing retro-styled figures based on other popular entertainment properties. The possibilities are really quite endless, because there are diehard fans for just about any movie or TV show out there.

However, I have to admit I was quite surprised when I first heard that Figures Toy Company was putting out a line of Three Stooges action figures.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE The Stooges. I grew up when their black & white reruns were in heavy rotation in the 1970s. Considering their heyday was already 40 years in the rearview mirror at that point, their impact on pop culture was already established.

But with the arrival of cable TV, video games, the Internet and an onslaught of new media to digest, The Stooges seemed to have slipped by the wayside and been lost to the dusty storage room of history. Let’s face it; watching 70-year-old B&W slapstick comedy routines doesn’t exactly score tons of views on YouTube.

So I remember thinking that maybe action figures based on these lost legends wouldn’t be the wisest move.

Well, I can’t speak for the sales figures, but I can say that in terms of quality, the Stooges line does these comedy icons justice.

This review is of Curly from the classic “No Census, No Feeling” short. I can’t speak for other toy collectors. The main criteria I use to judge any toy is:

  • Displayability
  • Playability
  • Quality

That last point is key when discussing retro figures.

Because a big benefit to buying the new retro reproductions of classic Mego figures as opposed to scouring eBay and conventions for the originals – besides the obvious difference in cost – is that those 1970s-era figures may have loose limbs, torn material, stains, etc. The chance to buy a brand new action figure that also hits the nostalgia sweet spot is quite enticing, as long as the manufacturer has made a solid product.

From the re-sealable clamshell to the easy-to-remove twist ties and the baseball card screenshots on the blister card, the packaging on the FTC Three Stooges action figure line is a collector’s dream. It gives you easy access to the figure and its snap enclosure and well-shaped plastic casing lets you put him back in place to display as if he had never been removed from the packaging.

As I mentioned, these figures in the Stooges line are based on the “No Census, No Feeling” short that is one of the most popular in the trio’s lengthy library of laughs.

The episode culminates with Moe, Larry & Curly ending up at a football game, and needing to interview people for the census, they don football uniforms and try to talk to football players.

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Those football jerseys and pants are expertly reproduced here. Curly’s jersey is nicely stitched material, much like the retro superhero costumes, and it has the No. 18 on the back. The pants are also well made. You can keep them above the knee in the old-style football way or pull them down. The knee-high socks are a nice touch, too.

But the black rubber boots are quite difficult to take off. I was afraid I was going to snap off the foot as I tried to remove the boot. And the jersey, while very nicely made, is really tough to remove. The neck area of the jersey is so tight, I thought I would pull off Curly’s head when I removed the jersey for inspection.

Because FTC manufactures the bodies of their retro-style figures the same way Mego did, the resemblance in articulation is uncanny. I took a photo of the Curly figure next to my 1977 Mego Spider-Man, in the exact same pose, to show you what I mean.

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However, I also found some familiar problems with this figure as I had with some Megos from back in the day. Namely, loose articulation points.

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Curly’s right arm and leg are both very loose. The joints in the shoulder and in the hip socket are not properly aligned. The right side of Curly’s body feels very fragile. Mind you, I’m able to pose him in a variety of ways, but the right arm in particular needs all sorts of moving around to get it where you want it to be. That was quite disappointing.

IMG_2523Unlike Scott’s note in his review of the Moe action figure, Curly’s head isn’t abnormally large. The molded rubber head is well proportioned – and a fantastic replica of Curly Howard, right down to the closely cropped hairline. But, the head is also much too loose.

IMG_2526It feels as if it could come off at any moment (like I mentioned when earlier about removing the jersey). For a brand new figure just removed from its packaging, that’s inexcusable.

Those flaws in the body design really hurt the Curly figure’s overall rating, because while this is obviously a product aimed at MIB collectors, it should be manufactured to withstand the most basic demands of an action figure – namely, posing it.

While the flaws with some of the figure’s joints, keep it from getting my top rating, the attention to detail overall is an example of what Figures Toy Company does best.

From the detail in Curly’s face to the high-quality football jersey and pants, and even the added accessory of the Census file, this figure is a faithful reproduction of one of the seminal moments in the career of The Three Stooges.

Those flaws with the figures shoulder and leg will only matter to those fans who like to pose their figures or, (gasp!) actually let their children play with them. This displays very nicely inside its gorgeous packaging. So if you’re just collecting these figures, then you should be quite happy adding it to your collection.

We’ll have reviews of two more figures from the Three Stooges line coming soon. And don’t forget to check out Figures Toy Company website for more on their great line of retro figures!

 

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Michael Avila
Author: Michael Avila View all posts by

Mike Avila is an Emmy-winning TV Producer & longtime pop culture writer. He’s based in Miami and according to his wife, spends way too much money on toys. Find him on Twitter and Instagram .

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