Rare 1986 trash fetches big money 30 years later


The collectors market for failed lines, knock-offs and forgotten oddities from 1980s toy shelves never seems to grow cold. These super rare offshoots of the Mel Appel “Weird Ball” mutations recently erupted on eBay.

If that slanty, cross-eyed, buck-toothed head-shakingly offensive visage above looks familiar to regulars of this site, yes, it’s none other than the Mel Appel Weird Ball Collectums “None Chuck” …or at least his toy-line-inbred cousin.

We’ve posted on the vinyl statuette type figure here before — a misguided attempt at humor inspired by the Marx “Nutty-Mad” toys of the 1960s. Read our original post, updated a while back with card art, here.


This later offshoot — “The “G.R.U.N.T Team” line — re-purposed tooling and molds of existing He-Man-ish / Remco-ish bodies, but still adapted the already established array of offensive racial stereotypes and Garbage Pail Kid juvenile gross-out humor the company used in previous lines.

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Note the vestigial body hair molded into the torso and shoulders from whatever original toy this was — troll, monster, barbarian, cave-man, professional wrestler? All of the above? This posable, articulated version of None Chuck came with a weapon of some sort that I can’t track down, but I’m guessing it was a sword to hurt himself with.

The same seller had the articulated version of the sumo character Humungasaki as well:

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This version of the Oriental over-eater discarded the head-scratching “Eat At Chans” graffiti that adorned the statuette version.


Also, note the cloth belt. The ninja originally had a red sash according to the card art.


These variants of the Appels are ludicrously scarce, and truthfully I can’t even remember them from back in the day. The examples above showed up on eBay last month, and the ninja went for over $75 despite being loose, incomplete and in so-so-shape at best. Dealers are asking as much as $250-300 for carded examples of other figures from the line. I’m consigning myself to never owning one of these…

I am, however, super curious about who does own them and who’s hunting them so voraciously that these prices are out there. There’s a segment of 35-50 year-olds re-buying their childhoods (guilty as charged myself at times!), plus a new wave of nostalgia for Mad Balls and the Appel version “Weird Balls” and the like, but there’s also a much younger crowd really into mini-figures, knock-offs and bootlegs, and the ancestors of modern day ‘urban vinyl’ collectors items. Would love to hear from some of you who have collections like this, how old you are and what got you started.

Also, what do you do for a living, cuz if you can afford these I’ll change careers, like tomorrow.


Carded wrongness of NONE CHUCK

One of our first toy posts back in 2009 was of an artifact from my own craze-era collection, and a reader just sent me pics of one still on its card, so here’s an update for those of you who missed this back in the day:


SEP 3, 2009

Here’s the all-time heavy-weight champeen of politically incorrect – hell outright racist and offensive – 80’s ninja toys: “None Chuck” from CrayArt / Mel Appel’s Weird Ball line. These 5″ vinyl statuettes were a throwback to Marx’s Nutty-Mads from the 60’s, but were actually cashing in on more contemporary merch lines like Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packs and Madballs.


A seriously 40’s war-era buck-toothed “nip” sculpture in the 80’s… amazing.

I actually bought this piece as a gag gift to VN’s ninjutsu soul brother Tim March back in the day. He lent it back to me a few years ago to shoot for an eventual article, and has hopefully forgotten about it, cuz I like where it sits on my shelf. –winge–

Read all about the line and the figure at the absolutely awesome “Weirdo Toys” blog!




More than six years later, NC is even more offensive, as my copy has yellow paint for the skin tones that’s been getting more and more yellow with age.

The one below, still on its heavily illustrated card (sadly not in too good a shape here) has more natural (read: caucasian) flesh color.


Weird thing I had long forgotten about with this line was how they phased in and out of parody, producing some genuine confusion. “Made of 99.4% Bendable Plastic” — so is that a real stat, are they bragging about it, or is it an attempt at humor or what? WHY IS THAT LINE THERE?!?!?


This is really making me want to hunt down a “Karate Sid” and “Humangasaki” to complete the triumvirate of martial arts cultural wrongness.

Or maybe not…


I understand where this company was coming from with this line, but man… keep the character design at the comical gore and booger gag level, don’t go after the cheap ethnicity/culture dig. I’m no stalwart of ‘political correctness’ but man, did they really need to go “Paco Taco?”

Another thing — and anyone old enough to remember the early to mid-80s will concur — it was a time of pretty strong cultural exchange with Japan, with some of that nation’s best films, cartoons and comics becoming available in English for the first time, graphical art motifs and kanji showing up in fashions, music videos, even school supplies… just all over the place. We WANTED anything Japanese, we weren’t into laughing at them like sailors on shore leave during WWII. Just from a business perspective, NC and ilk were a bad idea.