I recently took Noah into store that sold old toys. Admittedly, the visit was more for me than for him. Since he didn't know that, I had to buy him something. Mr. T to the rescue! Noah, at 22 months of age, doesn't know who Mr. T is (the "A-Team" star has never had a guest role on "Little Bear" or "Dora the Explorer"). But for some reason kids instinctively love Mr. T, and Noah is no different. The other night he pretended to feed Mr. T part of a hamburger bun, then said, "T wanna play?" and put Mr. T in the driver's seat of his Little People SUV (pictured above).
The Mr. T figure was from a line of "A-Team" action figures made by Galoob in 1983-84. The whole gang was there, too - Hannibal, Face, Murdock, even Amy. There were also four bad guys to fight the A-Team (you can see the whole line of toys here.
I was never an "A-Team" fan as a kid. That seems odd to me, looking back, since I was at age 11-15 I was in the prime demographic. Maybe it was the competition. Thanks to this handy website of historic TV schedules I see that it was up against "Happy Days" (1983-84), "AfterM*A*S*H"/"Three's a Crowd" (1984-85), "Who's the Boss" (1985-86), "Webster" (1986-87). You no doubt are now giving props for my loyalty to both mediocre and/or formerly great sitcoms.
Mr. T and the show were a cultural phenomenon, so even if you didn't watch you ended up knowing all about it. Five years after the show was over, Mr. T was still out there T.C.B. He signed with NOW Comics to do a licensed comic - "Mr. T and the T-Force'. Mr. T came to the comics retailers convention and pumped up the crowd for his new comic. I was working at Comic Quest at the time and we had over-estimated the public appetite for Mr. T, who billed himself as a real-life superhero. The comic only lasted 10 issues, but it's worth seeking out #7-10, which were drawn by my pal, Todd Fox. Long after the show was over, I got to meet series creator Stephen Cannell when I worked at a local TV station, ICN6. He was on a book tour promoting his latest novel and did this interview with host Dick Von Hoene. Cannell knew they had lightning in a bottle with Mr. T. The man and the show have lives of their own beyond a five season TV series. To my son Noah, Mr. T is just a fun character, like Spider-Man or Captain America. They had a Murdock at the toy store, too. We may have to go back.