Wow. Today’s Show and Tell is a doctoral dissertation on the action figure of Thud Butt from Hook. It’s written by Ben Leach, vintage toy enthusiast and frequent contributor to ToyFare magazine. It’s fair to say you have never loved a toy as much as Ben loves Thud Butt. Not ever.
So prepare to learn more than you ever thought possible about…Thud Butt.
One of these days, hopefully sooner than later, something is going to happen to make me realize thereâ€™s so much more to life than nostalgia and action figures.Today is not that day.
When I was a wee lad of 8 years of age, a movie came out that got me very excited. It combined action, adventure, comedy, mermaids, the ability to fly, prostitutes playing fairies, a short guy playing a tall guy, and a girl with freaky-ass caterpillar eyebrows.
It was called â€˜Hook.â€™ Actually, it is still called â€˜Hook.â€™â€˜Hookâ€™ is one of those movies where I was so glad I saw it as a kid. I know most adults who lack the power of IMAGINATION view the movie as screwing up a classic fairy tale. But when youâ€™re a kid, you just think itâ€™s so cool to see Peter Pan realize who he is to venture back to Neverland to save his children. Kids in the film were beating up on pirates with the aid of marbles, chickens, mirrors, and an expensive but essentially useless raft that served as five seconds of eye candy. Plus, I was too young to get annoyed with Robin Williamsâ€™ whole shtick. Look at the funny man who makes funny faces and slight variations on one funny voice!
As my sister and I have watched and rewatched â€˜Hookâ€™ year after year around Christmastime, weâ€™ve become aware just how important this film was not only for us, but a host of somewhat famous personalities who put their careers on the line just to say a couple of lines in a big-time Steven Spielberg movie.
My sister and I have also developed a deep appreciation of one of the greatest characters of cinematic history. Even though he was a secondary character, he possessed a commanding presence every time he was on screen. And when Peter Pan leaves Neverland, he puts this character in charge, acknowledging the characterâ€™s obvious leadership skills.
Iâ€™m talking, of course, about Thud Butt.
Yes, with the influential work of the future screenwriter of Muppet Treasure Island blended with the filmmaking talents of Steven Spielberg, they decided to take young actor Raushan Hammond, who was likely shopping at the Big & Tall at the age of 7, and exploit his girth to the fullest extent. He wasnâ€™t just the butt end of fat jokes. He literally had the word â€œbuttâ€ in his name.
When it comes to the big battle scene, his special attack abilities include stomping on a plank and whacking a pirate in the crotch, as well as curling up into a ball (MOVIE SECRET: They created a giant ball puppet of Thud Butt for what Iâ€™m about to describe) and roll down a plank, knocking over pirates like bowling pins.
Step 1: Magically lift legs up over head.
Step 2: Replace actor with medicine ball dressed in clothes.
It seems like itâ€™s all okay when, after the death of RUF-I-O, RUF-I-O, RU-FI-OOOOOOOOOOO, Peter Pan decides to put Thud Butt in charge of Neverland, but Pan/Banning squeezes in one last fat joke, instructing Thud Butt to â€œto take care of everything that’s smaller than you.â€ And you thought Mike Myersâ€™ Fat Bastard was one horrible fat joke after the other.
Despite all this, he was a hero in the battle of ineffective pirates versus mostly bad childhood actors, and I always wanted to have my own Thud Butt by my side, so that if for some reason people picked on me, I could have him stomp on the ground and whack them in the crotch. Also, I could roll him around like a ball, according to the film. Also, he could dance.
While Raushan Hammond wasnâ€™t immediately available to be my new best friend, that didnâ€™t stop young Ben. When I wanted to pretend like I had friends, I always resorted to my action figures. My sister and I had the entire set of Hook action figures, and let me tell you, they are some of the worst toys ever to grace the toy aisle in the history of toys. Mattel made absolutely no attempt to make them look anything like their movie counterparts. Ironically, Mattel managed to get Robin Williamsâ€™ likeness down pretty well when they made â€˜Mork and Mindyâ€™ toys in 1979.
When â€˜Hookâ€™ toys were put away but good in the Leach household in favor of X-Men and G.I. Joe figures, I noticed a weird â€œSkull Armorâ€ version of Captain Hook at a Kay Bee toys back in about 1992. On the back of the package, it looked like they were actually making some kind of neat figures, including a crocodile. But there on the back of the package was proof that there is a God. Mattel had decided to make a Thud Butt action figure.
I never, ever once saw the Thud Butt figure in stores, despite secretly always wanting one. As I began to move from â€œplaying with toysâ€ to â€œcollecting toys,â€ price guides would quickly tell me that Thud Butt went unproduced. My little heart was broken, and went broken for several yearsâ€¦until Thursday, April 2, 2009.
My belief in God was reaffirmed when an eBay search made my heart stop, my jaw drop, and my nerdiness get the better of me. An eBay sellerâ€¦no, a SAINTâ€¦had decided to list an actual, honest-to-goodness Thud Butt action figure.
Like most great toys, when American kids got tired of them, European kids got into them, and so Thud Butt was released to French kids, British children, and other younguns who donâ€™t have English as a first language.
So here it is, a couple of weeks later, and I finally own my Thud Butt action figure. And actually, we own two of them, since another one appeared at the same time. So I have one in its original package, while my sister has one to play with. And believe me, the Thud Butt action figure does not disappoint.
I think the actual action figure is somewhat flattering to Raushan. Keeping with the theme of the toy line, the Thud Butt action figure looks nothing like his real-life counterpart, other than they are both African American. They at least make an attempt to keep the outfit intact. And though his hat is over-sized on the figure, at least it looks sort of like what Thud Butt wore.
Thankfully, while the limitations of action figure technology in 1991 are apparent, Thud Butt makes up for it by also being a Transformer. Remember the Thud Ball scene? If Thud Buttâ€™s action figure looks a bit off, itâ€™s because his body is designed to roll up into a ball so you can throw him into pirates or basically anything you can think of.
The card also comes with instructions on how to make a Thud Ball.
Itâ€™s definitely tempting to chuck Thud Butt at our cat Skittles, but weâ€™ll behave, even if she deserves to feel the power of Thud Butt against her furry frame.
But as fun as the actual figure is, what puts Thud Butt into the stratosphere of awesomeness is his assortment of accessories. They even make up for the fact that he doesn’t come with the giant marble-firing gun.
The first accessory is rather basic. He uses a tortoise shell for a shield.
Like any action figure aimed at young boys, he has to come with a weapon. So what kind of weapon would you trust an 8-year-old Lost Boy with? If you guessed JAGGED SCYTHES, youâ€™d be correct. He comes with two of them, just because heâ€™s not content enough with stabbing you in the gut. Once youâ€™re down, Thud Butt goes for the head. Or at least thatâ€™s what I assume.
While the Hook toy line is generally crappy, I have to give Mattel a lot of credit for including this next accessory. During the food fight scene, before they start throwing whipped cream with food coloring at each other (so that no one got hurt), they pan over all of the delicious food that Peter has created thanks to the POWER OF IMAGINATION. While most of it is typically what youâ€™d expect of an imaginary feast (giant turkey, multi-layered cake), thereâ€™s one item that you wonâ€™t be able to find at your local supermarket.
Thatâ€™s right, itâ€™s THUD BUTT CHEESE. Even the mere act of typing it sounds wrong. â€œHow does that Thud Butt cheese taste? Do you like it when you have Thud Buttâ€™s cheese in your mouth? Thud Buttâ€™s cheese is giving me gas.â€ Better yet, THUD BUTTâ€™S CHEESE fits in his hands. â€œThud Buttâ€™s cheese got all over his hands!â€ Letâ€™s knock it off before I corrupt too many impressionable minds.
But the best accessories are often those that make absolutely no sense. Thatâ€™s certainly the case with Thud Buttâ€™s last and greatest accessory. For no reason whatsoever, Thud Butt comes withâ€¦
â€¦a beaver. Donâ€™t worry, youâ€™re not hallucinating. There was no beaver AT ALL in the movie, but thereâ€™s a beaver with Thud Butt. Thud Butt has a small hole in his left arm, and the beaver hangs onto Thud Buttâ€™s arm for dear life. What does the beaver do to latch himself onto Thud Buttâ€™s arm? And why the subtle yet confident choice of the gender of the beaver? Itâ€™s simple really. The beaver squeezes his â€œpegâ€ into the hole in Thud Buttâ€™s arm, happily resting there for all to see.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the Thud Butt figure is the artwork on the cardback. There are two different images of Thud Butt. The one on the front of the card shows him in all of his Thudball glory, with a wisp of air trailing him that we can only assume is a streamlined fart thatâ€™s the result of eating too much of his own cheese. Also, note the beaver.
If you were confused by the presence of the beaver in the first place, so was the artist hired by Mattel to help sell Thud Butt to impressionable youth. The artist was so confused, that he/she decided to turn the beaver into a squirrel.
Iâ€™m already 87.5 percent of my way towards 2,000 words about Thud Butt, and I donâ€™t think theyâ€™ve gone to waste. As I said from the beginning, Iâ€™m hoping I get to the point that I can get excited by something normal rather that a long forgotten action figure that comes with a suspicious beaver and cheese. But if thereâ€™s at least one thing in life that can get me this excited, I must be doing something right.
I LUV THUD BUTTTTTTTTTT!!!
Funny how I came across your blog,… I had acquired some HOOK trading cards made by TOPPS. On the back of one of the cards it mentions Thud Butt:
"Netted by the Captain, Peter yells, BANGERANG! It's the Lost Boys' battlecry! They immediately return the call and swing aboard the Jolly Roger. In the thick of battle, Thud Butt releases his secret weapon… a pet beaver with a yen for peglegs! Watching from the prison door grating, Maggie and the slavekids cheer."
I had actually google'd the pet beaver because I don't remember that at all!!!
Wow. Just wow. And here I was going to take some pictures of clone troopers.
I seem to recall him being simply called “Thud” in the movie.
I remember getting the Crocodile figure from Hook as well as the Hook in skull armor. I still have them somewhere at my parents house….
As many obscure toylines as I remember, and as much as I love the movie Hook, I have absolutely no recollection of this toyline. If they were all this insane, they'd be worth hunting down!
I have a TON of figures from this film. I would occasionally get like 90% of the toys from really bad movies. Although I think Hook is a fine underrated film, I have no idea why I ended up with so many toys.
That said, Thud Butt I never owned.
and thank you for posting this, it caputred perfectly the silliness and the fun of the film and the toys. thinking back , all together i had that (for the time) superposeable flying Peter, some pirate that i dont think was a character, ol’ thudbutt here (and i remember the cheese and those lethal weapons as well) and for my birthday one year i was given this awesome four wheeled tank from the movie, that was made to seem like it was made out of fabric and twigs sewed together. it had a big boxing glove missile. pure awesomeness. thanks again for reminding me of childhood glory
I used to have the Peter Pan figure from this film.
GGGGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH i remember HIM! Hook was one of my favourite movies as a kid and i had that fig, and a really cool peter with balljoint shoulders. my neighbour had rufio
I was going through a huge Capt. Hook obsession a few years back, basically buying up anything Capt. Hook related… one of the things I bought was Capt. Hook and Peter Pan on eBay. I opened the Capt. Hook… I think the Peter Pan is still somewhere in my garage…
Wow. That figure looks fun AND hilarious. Great post.
My friend watched it while under the influence of PCP, and claimed to have believed that he was in the movie.
I have fond memories of taking some chick to see that flick back in high school.
…wait, scratch that. I have fond memories of scoring with some chick I took to see that flick back in high school. I barely remember the flick itself.
Reading it, I felt the way Alice Cooper claimed to feel when he first heard "Welcome to the Jungle": "I should have written that!"
Does Ben Leach have a site or a blog or anything?
@Monte: You know, somehow I knew you were going to say that. I seriously thought to myself, "Monte's going to post something like, 'No offense, Poe, but this is the funniest thing that's ever been posted on PGPoA.'"
I'm not afraid to say it: this is the greatest post of all time. From any blog.
By a comically unlikely coincidence, I recently thought about renting Hook and writing an essay about it for Retrobate; I always thought it was unfairly dismissed and generally underrated.
Haha – that is excellent. I have to find this toy now.
Awesome! I wonder where Thud Butt is now.