April’s Big Bad Boss
Released in 1992
You want to know something ridiculous? In terms of detail, Burne’s action figure, while slightly outlandish, is one of the best when it comes to nailing their animated counterparts.
While I’m sure many of you are wondering the why and how of Burne getting a figure made, you should remember that not only was he the main man at Channel 6 News, but he was also a staple character that helped round out April O’Neil’s work life. Along with Irma and Vernon, Channel 6 became more than just backdrop for adventures to unfold in, Burne, and Channel 6, became anchors for forming public opinion on not only the Turtles, but for all mutants everywhere. And, shockingly, it wasn’t pretty.
While the figure itself may just look like nothing more than a curmudgeonly oafish fat guy with food in his mouth, I am honestly floored at the amount of small details that give this figure life. From the pencil tucked behind his ear to the ink stain on his shirt, to the toilet paper stuck to his shoe, Burne shows that he somehow always firmly planted at his desk while always on the go, ready to dish out the bad news on the heroes in a half shell.
While this figure may have been designed as a bit of a joke, and not to be taken seriously, you have to hand it to Playmates to not skipping on a single detail and honestly not skipping on the paint either. While almost every figure in the line has glossed over details that are woefully unpainted, Burne somehow made it through manufacturing with nearly every detail on his sculpt finely painted. If nothing else, the inclusion of Burne Thompson, along with the rest of the Channel 6 news crew, should prove to everyone how much of an impact the animated series had at the time. While there were figures made for characters that were limited to a single appearance on the animated series, to see a figure made for the human characters that weren’t necessarily part of the main cast was a big deal at the time
Yes, I understand that a tubby crankshaft holding a sandwich was not the first item on your average kids Christmas list, but the fact that you could find this guy on store shelves next to the likes of Casey Jones or the Shredder speaks volumes about how big the Turtles were in the early 90’s. Whether or not it’s still that huge is up for debate, or at least it’s up to another round of focus testing. But with that being said, let’s hear it for Burne Thompson, the figure we didn’t know we wanted.
Turtle Trivia: Burne was voiced by two legendary voice actors during the ’87 animated series run; while Pat Fraley, and Rob Paulson as an alternate.
*Burne Thompson was known as Toon Burne in the Toon Turtles variant line released in 1992.
April’s Best Friend
Released in 1992
Okay, I’m going to be honest with you here; I really dislike the portrait on the card that came with this figure. On every figure, there was a brief history, and oftentimes a origin story, on the back of every blister card package that was part tongue twister. With Irma’s, it seems very mean spirited in that it tells the reader that she’s not very smart, she carries around ice cream and describes her as a drawn up ding-a-ling. Now, I haven’t read every portrait for every figure in the line, but none of the other figures have received this type of treatment. Call someone evil, call them a coward, call them what you will, but don’t teach kids that t’s cool to belittle someone else’s intelligence. It is never okay for a kid to think its fine to call someone stupid. Especially since Irma was never portrayed as such. Sure, she may have invested a bit too much of her time daydreaming about the perfect guy, but she had a dry wit that showed you that there was definitely something going on upstairs. Playmates toys…this is a fail.
Now that that’s out of the way…
I have always liked Irma, April’s best friend and secretary to Burne Thompson at Channel 6 News. She was always really sarcastic, incredibly cute and more than a little klutzy. While her figure may not translate the best to an action figure, she’s definitely got the same smile and dorky glasses that set her apart from almost all of the other women in the first animated series that were seemingly all designed to look like pin-ups.
Her action figure comes dressed in a yellow sweater under a green vest and a red skirt, where her animated counterpart dresses in a simple blue sweater and purple skirt which looks much nicer from a design standpoint as its fewer layers and the colors complement each other nicely. Plus, she’s wearing socks and sandals, this too is a fail, but it’s a fail that’s on Irma this time.
Irma is a great character that has made something of a resurgence over the past couple of years, having appeared in the 2012 animated series as well as the current comic book series from IDW Publishing. While I don’t have much more to say about the figure, I’m just glad to see that, while Irma may just be labeled the “best friend”, it’s awesome that she was popular enough to have an action figure back in the day…even if she didn’t look the way she did on TV. Which is hilarious and something Irma would probably shake her head at and think it was just her luck.
Turtle Trivia: While many fans seemingly agree that Irma’s last name is “Langinstein”, in the ’87 animated TMNT series, she was never given that name, as she was only referred to as “Irma”.
*Irma was known as Toon Irma in the Toon Turtles variant line released in 1992
Channel 6 Cameraman
Released in 1992
With camera in hand, Vernon is ready to take the shots that no one is prepared to take. He’s willing to go out on the front lines and report the most dangerous news bubbling just under our noses. No one else is prepared for the dangers and risks that Vernon faces on a daily basis…it’s just too bad that he’s too much of a chicken to actually face the dangers that he’s being paid to cover. More than likely, he’s going to make sure to take the credit for all the life risking that April and the Turtles actually deal with.
I just have to say, Vernon’s figure is great, in particular his head sculpt. They really nail down his animated counterparts likeness, from his large nose to his cool and slick haircut. But wow, he is wearing a PINK shirt. Now I like the color pink (or watermelon to you alpha males out there) just fine, but Vernon looks like he’s partially made out of bubblegum he’s so pink.
It is kind of weird to find a figure in this toy line that captures the likeness of a character so well. There is no real artistic likeness taken with Vernon. He’s not an amalgamation of different versions of a given character like even the Turtles are. And it’s also kind of refreshing to just see a normal looking guy. He’s not wearing a funny getup, nothing is on fire, he doesn’t have a gun made out of egg beaters, nothing. He’s just a dude. Yep, just a guy named Vernon…the action figure.
Okay, so he does have a gun concealed in a video camera, but so did April, and this is pre-Giuliani New York. It was nuts.
Turtle Trivia: In the TMNT Adventures comics from Archie Comics, Vernon’s last name was Prindle and not Fenwick.
*Vernon is known as Toon Vernon in the Toon Turtles variant line released in 1992.