Released in 1965 by the Ideal Toy Corporation of Canada, this action figure was thought to have of been produced in direct competition to the widely popular 12″ GI Joe by Hasbro. Instead of having a military feel as seen on other action figures at the time, Ideal chose to have their action figure focus more on comic book and television heroes.
Ideal developed a plan to market a basic figure and then sell fully loaded outfits and accessories individually. This plan worked, with the basic action figure toy of Captain Action selling tremendously well, with the various character outfits following.
The initial outfit line included nine costumes, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Captain America, Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Steve Canyon, The Lone Ranger and Sgt. Fury.
The second line that was released in 1967 added Tonto, Buck Rogers, Spider Man and The Green Hornet. The Lone Ranger costume underwent a color change from red to blue. Also in 1967, a Video-Matic flicker rings were included with each outfit. These figurines were sold in window display boxes which are quite rare today.
Ideal’s concept and marketing guineas for Captain Action was way ahead of it’s time, with these action figures still in high demand among collectors today.
A second box design and offering was issues by Ideal, with Captain Action now coming with a 4 foot parachute. Only seven outfits can now be seen on the box, with Steve Canyon and Captain America not present. This box is considered to be the hardest to obtain among collectors.
The Captain Action line was officially discontinued in 1969.
The Phantom Costume
The Phantom costume had a good resemblance to what we see on comic book pages, with the Phantom set including the jumpsuit, purple cowl, face mask, belt with holsters, two automatic pistols, rifle with scope, knife, brass knuckles with skull insignia and boots.