Telco, Rennoc, and the Design Arts Dilemma: A Scarecrow Study

Started by aura of foreboding, February 15, 2010, 04:53:37 AM

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aura of foreboding

This thread is inspired by an animated witch found by Packy.  I believe the witch to be a "Halloweener."  The question is where did the Halloweeners come from?  I followed the trail all the way back to what I could see to be beginning and now I'm even more confused.  Follow along.

This is a Telco Box:


This is a Telco Box:


Note the eerie similarities between the two boxes.  The topmost image is definitely Telco.  The second image is marked "Design Arts."

Note the Design Arts box calls the animated figures "Special People."  This is strangely similar in name and font to Rennoc's "Little People."


Remember the Scarecrow in the first image?  This appears to be a second generation version of that figure.  Yes?


At a third remove from the original figure, we have this Scarecrow - Note same pumpkin and materials as the previous two.  But, look at the box: 


Halloweeners. 

I have spent years studying up on Telco Motion-ettes, but other than the names and product information, I am not very astute when it comes to the competition.  Can someone shed any light on the mysterious similarities between these companies?  More specifically, what became of Design Arts?  And who made the Halloweeners? 

packy120353

Aura thanks for the help on my Witch!  - - - Does your Halloweener say "Made in Taiwan" and nothing else on the base? I LOVE that Frankenstein. I have a Telco copy Frank made by Angel Toys (?)
He had hair but it fell off and I like him better. There's is no box.

aura of foreboding

Packy, unfortunately, none of the figures you see in the first post are my own.  These photos are part of my vast image library of Motion-ettes and friends that I have put together over the years.  Needless to say I am very interested in each of these companies.

But, yes, that Rennoc Frankenstein is really fun.  I have never seen another one like it.  I have been collecting the smaller animated figures since the early 90s, but I just recently started to upgrade to the larger versions.  Unfortunately, unlike you, I am never able to find Motion-ettes and copycats locally.  All of my animated figure finding has to be done online.  (Because of this, I am solely focusing on Telcos at the moment.) On a rare occasion, I am able to find a Gemmy figure in the thrift stores, but nothing older than that. 

And, I must say, I LOVE your Frankenstein.  I think he is the most Karloff-esque figure I've seen.

Hopefully we will get some answers to the company dilemma from someone in-the-know.

The Phantom

I am currently researching and collecting Motionettes myself.  I find the variations and similarities fascinating.  For example, I have noticed 4 or 5 distinctly different witches, all of which labeled Telco.  I have verified at least two of the sculpts as genuine Telcos (the very common witch from the 80s and version exclusive to Wal-Mart in the mid-1990s).  Also, it is interesting to note that Gemmy made several products, which shamelessly knocked off the Telco Witch completely.  Would you mind sharing your collection of photos?
"Feast your eyes; glut your soul on my accursed ugliness!"

Dr.Terror

I had a few Rennocs as a kid.   They used to sell them at ACME around 1990.   I still have the Witch (telco sculpt)  with the crystal ball still in her box.  

I remember Rennoc used this Dracula  



I didn't buy one because I already had him.   But not Rennoc,   "Pumkin Time" or something like that.  Which makes things even more confusing.



When Gemmy eventually got on the scene I believe they made this guy also, but with an orange lined cape.

The most commonly ripped off Telco sculpts are the Witch, Dracula, and to a lesser extant Frankenstein.  
Morning, noon, or night, Anytime . . . . the count may strike. If you're caught you have to linger, Cause Dracula may bite your finger!

aura of foreboding

#5
The Phantom, I will definitely upload some of my pictures, but it will probably take some time.  I am still organizing them.  But, I will let you know when I get around to it.  I think it's a great way to go about rebuilding childhood memories, even though I didn't own most of these guys when I was young, nor was I even aware many of them existed.  There are actually 3 Telco witch face sculpts for the 24" line and 2 (that I am aware of) for the 18" line.  

Dr. Terror, I own the Pumkin Time Dracula as well. Gemmy definitely knocked off the Telco witch a lot (as did other companies) as well as the large Dracula.  They added LED lights to his eyes though.  The witch they used later on was one of their own creation.  She was actually green. 


aura of foreboding

#6
Here's a pic of the 3 large witch face sculpts.  


Dr.Terror

The Pinned Stripe Drac is Telco with Chis Lee head.    If Rennoc did a version with that head, it wasne't in the line-up the years i bought them.  I would have gotten him in a sec.     I had to settle for Rennocs version becasue the Telcos were too expensive.  My local SuperFresh  had the early big versions on display in their Deli dept every Halloween.  I wanted them with a passion, lol.     I had the Frank also.  I called him Asian Frank, lol.    The rubber bat on his cheek eyes lit up also.  

On the old Yahoo group Ray Castile uploaded a bunch of Telco catalogs.  If you were a member you should be able to still access them.
Morning, noon, or night, Anytime . . . . the count may strike. If you're caught you have to linger, Cause Dracula may bite your finger!

aura of foreboding

#8
Here are the 18" witch sculpts, with a Gemmy on the end:


Dr. Terror, I apologize that I edited my comment about the pinstriped Dracula.  It was just that your picture wasn't showing up on my end, so I thought you might have known he had pinstripes.  So that is why it is gone.  Anyway, yes Telco's Drac had pinstriped pants as well, but so did the Rennoc vampire (and it had the Pumpkin Time head).  It is a very strange thing, all of these companies trying to be like Telco - even in the smallest ways.    

Here is an image of the electric Rennoc vampire with the pinstriped pants:


You are correct.  I don't think Rennoc ever used the Telco head for their vampires.  At least, I have not seen it.

I have seen a couple of catalogs.  I was a late joiner to the old group, so I will have to see if I can find my login info.  Thanks for the tip!

Dr.Terror

Sounds like Rennoc just ripped of the technology but did their own head sculpts.   I remembered Rennocs witch head being a Telco rip-off.    I checked and they had their own witch, it wasn't a Telco rip-off after-all.  Although it's highly influenced by Telco 2. 

   

Morning, noon, or night, Anytime . . . . the count may strike. If you're caught you have to linger, Cause Dracula may bite your finger!

The Phantom

Thanks for the photos, everyone.  I have the second sculpt of the Telco 17" Witch.  I've seen tons of the Rennoc Witch posted on Ebay as "Telco."  I think that a lot of people have them and really just don't know what they have.  They see Telco Motionettes and think they're similar to what they have so they just assume it's another Telco product. 

I got tripped up for a while because Gemmy had a Witch sculpt and clothing design that was identical to the original Telco Witch.  For example, Gemmy's rocking chair Witch.  I had one when I was little and now as an adult, I've been searching for one and just recently found one when I realized it wasn't Telco at all.

I remember these products being all over Wal-Mart when I was little in the 90s.  Unfortunately, the licensed versions moved in and replaced the generic ones in the early 90s.  Honestly, I prefer the original sculpts to the licensed Universal ones.  Honestly, I don't remember the copycats, but I'm sure I've seen them.  I know I've at least seen the Rennoc Witch, not at stores, but in peoples windows when I was trick-or-treating, etc.

These really bring back memories.  I wish somebody would produce quality products like this now-a-days.
"Feast your eyes; glut your soul on my accursed ugliness!"

packy120353

Already posted in another thread, but I finally located a Rennco Frankenstein w/box. I wonder if they did a Mummy...or a Wolfman...
See Reply #1674 in "Show your weekly finds" thread!

The Phantom

If only there were an archive of Rennoc and other Motionette copycat product catalogs.  I think some of the knockoffs have a bizarre charm of their own. 
"Feast your eyes; glut your soul on my accursed ugliness!"

Dr. Creature Feature

I got This Telco Witch ripp off the other day at a resale shop. Her Head is busted off but i bought her because the box is awesome. It looks like it is made by ESCO but I'm posting it so you guys can see another ripp off Witch and another version of the boxes.

"Creature Stole my Twinkie"

Anton Phibes

Quote from: aura of foreboding on August 25, 2010, 07:07:02 AM
Here are the 18" witch sculpts, with a Gemmy on the end:


Dr. Terror, I apologize that I edited my comment about the pinstriped Dracula.  It was just that your picture wasn't showing up on my end, so I thought you might have known he had pinstripes.  So that is why it is gone.  Anyway, yes Telco's Drac had pinstriped pants as well, but so did the Rennoc vampire (and it had the Pumpkin Time head).  It is a very strange thing, all of these companies trying to be like Telco - even in the smallest ways.    

Here is an image of the electric Rennoc vampire with the pinstriped pants:





I have one of those vampire electric figures up on ebay right now. What do those things usually bring in?

You are correct.  I don't think Rennoc ever used the Telco head for their vampires.  At least, I have not seen it.

I have seen a couple of catalogs.  I was a late joiner to the old group, so I will have to see if I can find my login info.  Thanks for the tip!