Don’t underestimate America’s enduring love for “The Golden Girls.”
With their silvery hair and achy joints, the beloved characters from the 1980s sitcom are not the most obvious candidates to be immortalized as action figures.
But toymaker Funko saw a potential opportunity playing off the unlikely, and comical, pairing, especially given the show’s continued following among legions of die-hard fans. So it shrank Rose, Dorothy, Blanche and Sophia into 3¾-inch figurines in a limited-edition box set it sold at New York Comic Con over the weekend. The items quickly sold out at the annual conference where Star Wars, Spider-Man and Game of Thrones are usually the main stars.
Minneapolis-based Target Corp. was the only retailer to get their hands on them — but they didn’t last long. The action figures went on sale at Target.com on Thursday. By the next day, it had sold out of several thousand units.
“There’s an art and a science to these kinds of products and sometimes you just strike gold,” said Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman. “Clearly there is a pent-up demand for ‘The Golden Girls.’ ”
There are no plans to manufacture or sell more of them. But Funko also sells other Golden Girls figurines that began hitting stores such as Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon over the summer that are still available for sale. Those products, in which each character is sold separately, are more cartoonish versions of the ladies.
Nostalgia, which is often a key ingredient when it comes to collecting, was surely a big factor in the blockbuster success, said Mark Robben, director of marketing for the Everett, Wash.-based toy company that has had other exclusive toys sold at Target.
“ ‘The Golden Girls’ is something that people remember fondly,” he said. “I remember watching it with my grandmother. And it was a show that was ahead of its time in many ways. I think it just resonates with people.”
While Funko isn’t planning to reissue more of the box sets, which were designed to be a short-lived phenomenon, Robben said they are thinking about other ways to extend the line. Some ideas they have thrown around include releasing more characters such as Dorothy’s ex-husband Stan or selling accessories such as their house.
For those left empty-handed, there is still one way to find them. The box sets, which initially sold for $25, have started showing up on eBay starting out about $150.