Wow, you just opened the floodgates of my memories! What can I say about the Crash Dummies? Haha, what CAN'T I say?
I liked the original commercials mainly because of the voice work of Lorenzo Music (aka Peter Venkman on the Real Ghostbusters, Garfield, and of course Carlton the Doorman on Rhoda) as Larry. I can clearly hear his delivery of "Hey Vince!" from the opening of several adverts.
Shortly after the action figures came out, there was some sort of revision that I never understood, and Vince and Larry were renamed Slick and Spin. The sudden figure variants intrigued me, so I hoarded a few of the original versions, and then one day I opened them, and from there on out I was hooked.
Some of the other variants included some Citgo exclusives with their corporate logo on Slick and Spin, and seems like some other retailer had a similar deal.
Someone got irate about the pets pack, with Hubcat and Bumper... a feline and canine pair of Crash Dummies that you could run over with the toy car. They said that the other toys-- including the baby in a stroller-- were "educational" because you could demonstrate in miniature the different effects of being seatbelted or flying out the windshield, but the flatten-able dog and cat were "just morbid".
The 'educational' claim made me attempt to demonstrate to my niece and nephews the importance of always wearing one's seatbelt, but I think they were far more interested in watching me repeatedly wreck the cars.
Although I will always have a soft spot for Lorenzo Music as Larry, my favorite action figure was Axel, whose name was not only an anagram for mine, but who was also painted to have glasses that strongly resembled the frames I wore at the time. (And the crash dummy with the suspenders and hat, who came with the riding lawnmower, was a pretty good likeness for my dad. Can't recall the name offhand, though.)
And I absolutely LOVED the computer-animated cartoon that came with later characters like the villainous junk characters. Written by Savage Steve Holland, it was chock full of bad puns and loopy gags that still pop to mind to this day...
"Through thick and thin, Slick and Spin get the job done!" (opening theme song)
"It's the torso, only moreso!"
"Neener, neener, neener, we know where you are!"
Sigh... good memories. I actually uncrated those toys from my parents' attic in the last year or two. I was thankful that they seemed relatively undamaged by the temperature extremes, but in the end I had to box them all back up. My own sons always wear their seatbelts anyway, so I didn't even do another round of educational lessons.
Who am I kidding? It was play time, man. Any excuse to crash those cars.
I recently read a Kingdom Keepers novel set in Epcot, and the bad guys have some Crash Dummies from the Test Track ride on their side. I've never ridden Test Track, so I kept seeing Vince and Larry in my mind, and it was hard to summon any menace to that mental image, LOL.
Oh, and I'm glad I wasn't the only one to see a resemblance to C-3PO.
Axle... er.... Alex