The Plodding, Peanut-Eatin’, Mini-Mammoth
Released in 1992
Wow, the 90’s were a crazy decade because a figure like this would never be released today. Doctor El is an African elephant with a witch doctor motif that is just crazy to look at.
Doctor El is a massive figure that oozes power from every gray crack on his hide. We all know elephants to be one of the biggest and most powerful animals on the planet, and Doctor El shows off this very trait thanks to a muscular sculpt that make him look more like a power lifter than just a round mass with a (articulated) trunk.
He also has to have one of the busiest sculpts in the entire line of good guys, thanks in no small part to his multiple piercings, vegetation-covered headdress, busted tusks and bony jewelry.
While the Doc does have an incredible sculpt, he also falls victim to the dreaded cost cutting solution of paint skipping, as so many, if not all, of the other figures do. It’s weird because the front half of this figure is painted with vibrant color pallet we’ve come to expect from Playmates toys, but the same colors are skipped on the rear of this figure. Making what little clothing this guy wears become lost in a sea of gray plastic.
With that being said, however, I do love how much of a crazy amalgamation of human and elephant this character is. According to his backstory, he was a pygmy that was mutated by the Shredder in a bid to gain the upper hand on the Turtles (naturally). But thanks to how kindhearted elephants can be, this spooky spell-caster sided against the Shredder. Perhaps my favorite part of this figure is the left arm that still retains the same look of an actual elephants’ foot, but can still grip a shield.
Unfortunately, like so many of the figures that came out later in the toy line, there’s not much to go on with this figure from a character standpoint. He was never in any comic book, video game or even a single episode of the animated series. I can’t even say that he’s a fan favorite with any confidence as he seems to be a character that many have forgotten. Many characters have made comebacks in recent years, or at least they’ve been turned into a joke by the guys making the 2012 animated series (see Ace Duck), but there’s been very little love for Doctor El. With that being said, it’s probably better that he doesn’t come back into the spotlight as today’s temperaments just wouldn’t allow for him in this form. If he were to appear in some form of media today, he would be altered to such a radical degree that he could possibly be unrecognizable. I hate to say it, but Doctor El probably deserves to be left to our nostalgic childhood memories than stampeding across our television screens.
Turtle Trivia: Not much other than what I’ve mentioned before.