Back in the 1990s, fast food premium toys were pretty spectacular. Burger King tended to put out some of the best toys, including 3 3/4-inch action figures for Universal Monsters and McDonalds had a number of similarly sized small figures. In 1997 the Wolf Man Cellar Dweller was part of a line that, as a collector, I simply had to run out and get - full-size action figures? At a place that, at the time, I ate at regularly? For a couple of bucks, with food I'd buy anyway? You can't beat that. The quality of fast food toys has been on a rapid decline since LEGO stopped providing legit bricks and pieces to Mickey D at the dawn of the 21st century (and cereal toys are extinct), but as last hurrahs go this was pretty solid.
I have no idea who sculpted or designed these - if you do, please let me know - but I will say these were spectacular in their day. I would say that they were so good I had no desire to track down more from other lines - I was plenty happy with this set, even thought it was incomplete. (I snagged a Sideshow 8-inch Mummy around this time as well as Jack in the Box' horrific screaming Bride of Frankenstein. She did not age well.) Hasbro, Playmates, Sideshow Toys (now Collectibles), McFarlane's Monsters, and other figures in this era were all pretty fantastic, but they were more expensive. If you wanted something good and cheap, or free with "lunch," this was it!
Lon Chaney, Jr.'s wolfy beast is a hair taller than a vintage Walrus Man figure, and painted quite lightly. The sculpting looks more 1980s than 1990s, and Remco's figure was very 1970s. Funko's just-announced Wolf Man ReAction Figure aims to ape this retro style, and is almost too good - the splotchy flesh colors on the Burger King figure are arguably wrong, which puts it more in line with the crappy and incorrect aesthetic Kenner applied to numerous figures before basically getting it right for Return of the Jedi onward. Other figures were made over the years, including a series of monsters for Jack in the Box. I like these more.
The figure is quite good, coming with an action coffin and 5 points of articulation. Every joint swivels easily and his articulation is basically on par with all those old Kenner toys. He stands and sits, with foot pegs roughly the same size as Kenner's. He can be plugged on foot pegs inside his cellar coffin, where you can rotate a lever which causes him to rise out for a scare. A spring-loaded backdrop featuring a dark forest and moon rises up as he escapes the depths, making it a clever and charming little toy for the money. Given that ReAction figures are about $10, and that a figure of this quality would be $5 or $6 in 1997, it's something of a miracle that this was a fast food premium and not an actual toy.
His texture and sculpting is quite simple, with copyright marks on the back of his shirt and limited fur detail on his head, hands, and feet. The simple pleats and wrinkles on his outfit resemble those old toys closely, which is bizarre given how most figures of the 1990s turned out. His deco is clean with bright, white eyes and all the paint seems properly aligned. And Burger King probably gave away hundreds of thousands if not millions of these things. Today a figure should set you back about $5 (or less) and the set is $20ish to $50ish. If you can get it cheap, do so - mine has aged quite well over the years with minimal damage. Wolf Man is one of the best in the set, I'd argue that the Creature from the Black Lagoon is the lone dud while Frankenstein and Dracula are just OK. We'll be looking at those later.
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