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FISHER PRICE
ADVENTURE PEOPLE

 

 

 

The easiest way for me to describe this great toy line is to simply provide you with the article that I wrote for Toy Shop (with a few edits).

The Adventure People: Fisher-Price’s Forgotten Line
Toy Shop, March 28, 1997

What child wouldn’t want to travel on a wild animal safari, scale a mountain or rocket through space?

All these adventures were made possible, vicariously in the 1970’s through the magic of Fisher-Price.

Fisher-Price’s Adventure People series was introduced in 1975. As the name implies, Adventure People are adventurous – participating in endeavors like scuba diving, mountain climbing, space exploration, motor biking, parachuting and other exciting exploits. Aimed at older children, this toy line was produced for eight years.

The Adventure People have a distinctive, easily identifiable appearance. The colourful plastic figures are 3 ½ inches tall and articulated at the shoulders, waist and neck. Clothing is molded as part of the body and accessories such as scuba tanks are sometimes attached.

To participate in daring feats of sports, Adventure People have their own specially designed vehicles such as one-person submersibles and two-person space shuttles. All are made of hard plastic; some feature opening windows and doors. Fisher-Price is know for the durability of its products and the Adventure People are no exception. Figures and vehicles often can withstand extreme heat and cold and it is unusual to find broken figures and vehicles.<>Sets, however may be missing removable parts.

An interesting and notable feature of the Adventure People is the series’ representation of women. Out of more than 60 figures, 10 represented woman. By comparison, during the same period, Kenner produced about 100 figures for the Star Wars trilogy, of which only one was female (Princess Leia). When you consider that the Adventure People women represent scuba divers, mountain climbers, astronauts, TV reporters and rescue personnel, this was a very progressive toy line for its time. Only two minority figures (African-American) were in the series. One figure might be First Nation. As in other figure series the female figures are generally more collectible.

Is the series collectible?

Although this series was made as late as the 1980’s, it is becoming very collectible for several reasons.The series offers themes, such a mountain climbing, rarely found in other toy lines. The series also offers specialty collectors interesting pieces such as female characters or robots. The Adventure People offer collectors many variations in terms of colour, scarcity and regional differences.

The recent age of the series also has great advantages for the collector. Some sets can still be found in stores, usually in smaller towns. ( Update: I think most collectors will agree with the creation of internet auctions, especially ebay, that the days of finding items on the shelves in small towns is over. People in those towns now have access to the world and so can sell items even before they remove it from the local store.) More importantly, sets can often be found loose at garage sales and flea markets. The durability of the toys, a hallmark of Fisher Price, assures that most pieces found will be in good shape.

Loose figures, most with “Fisher-Price” marked on them, are valued around $1-$2 apiece with female figures commanding slightly more. Most sets are valued in the $10-30 range with several rarities selling for $75 or more. Of course Mint in Package sells for more.   Many collectors of the series find loose figures and accessories to create a complete set.

Creating a complete set can be challenging. Some of the sets had small pieces that often found home in the vacuum cleaner. Some collectors will buy an entire set just to get a certain tow rope or cable missing from their own collection. The two most difficult sets to find complete and loose are the Wild Animal Safari (#304) and the TV Action Team (#309). They contain the largest number of pieces plus some small items.

SIDEBAR:

I Picked Her Up and Took Her Home...

It was ten years ago when I first laid eyes on her...

She stood out among the soldiers and astronauts. Not only was she the only woman in the group but her lack of uniform was distinct. The dress she had on was badly torn and would be unacceptable in any company. Her Afro hairstyle dated her from the 1970’s and there was something familiar about her face. I wondered who this woman could be. Female and minority toy figures were not common in the 1970’s.

Had I seen her before? Was she a TV personality? I could only think of Uhura and Julia as possibilities but it was clear this figure was neither character. I was so intrigued that I picked her up and took her home. So I placed her on my toy shelf and inquired with various collectors. No one knew who she was and she sat on my shelf for six months or more.

Of course molded into her left inner leg were the words “1976 Fisher-Price Toys”. I finally made contact with some Fisher Price collectors and they knew immediately who she was. “That’s Carole, the reporter with the Adventure People TV Team”.

The collector who told me this information told me that a complete TV Action Team, Mint in Box, would be difficult to obtain. As she described the set to me I realized I had seen it only days before in a small town hardware store. The next day I drove the 160 kilometre round trip to the store and bought the set. (Remember this was around 1994 so toys were still in those stores. This hardware store has since remodeled and today only carries the most current toys.)

I had looked at the box but hadn’t seen Carole. The two male technicians were visible through the bubble of the box but Carole was stored out of site in the van along with the camera gear and cables. In my initial examination of the box, I has missed her obvious photo on the front of the box.

I spent a mere $20 CAD for the set which includes very detailed figures. I knew then that I would collect the entire series. When I got home I raided my children’s toy and sand boxes; cleaned them and brought their toys to my collection area. I have been on the lookout every since.