Back in 1990, Dick Tracy was adapted into a feature film starring Warren Betty and Al Pacino. The film was a modest hit at the box office, but in the months leading up to the film, it was expected to be the next Batman at the box office. Back in the day, Batman was a surprisingly huge hit with a reach that was felt on almost every corner of the globe. I can remember people were actually painting bat symbols on street signs and Dick Tracy was expected to do the same.
It didn’t exactly work out that way. But the ad campaign was huge, with Dick Tracy logos adorning everything from plastic cups to TV dinner trays. Of course there was also an action figure line released from Playmates Toys. Feeling the pressure of keeping up with the surprising momentum from the Ninja Turtles action figure line, Playmates Toys acquired the Dick Tracy license and proceeded to produce action figures of a similar sculpt and scale as their TMNT figures. The line consisted of fourteen figures, with the bad guys taking up the overwhelming majority of the lineup. Most of the cast from the film was represented in the toy line, from Dick Tracy himself, to bad guys like Steve the Tramp and Flattop.
But there was one figure that was also release that went unaccounted for for up to a year after the film’s release. The Blank was a bad guy figure that wasn’t released until 1991, and from what I can tell it wasn’t released until almost a full year after the toy line’s initial release. The reason being was that this figure’s blank face was actually a mask that could be removed and reveal (spoilers) Breathless Mahoney, a character portrayed by singer and actress Madonna. Not wanting to spoiler a big reveal in the film, Playmates opted to push back release of the figure about a year, and thanks to the good not great box office bank of the Dick Tracy feature film, as well as the lukewarm sales of the action figure line itself, Playmates tested a release of the Blank figure in Canada as a Sears-exclusive release. The figure was not only limited to a Canada release, it could only be obtained via Sears catalog.
Obviously, sales were not that great due to probably zero word of mouth about the figure’s release. Thus The Blank sat in boxes and waited until the internet became a thing. Nowadays, the Blank is a highly sought after collectors item to can go for well over a thousand dollars if mint on card. Many collectors even believe that this figure is possibly the rarest action figure ever released. Let me say one thing, I think that action figures should be enjoyed and it really burns me when I see collectors trying to artificially inflate the price of a figure they’re trying to sell. But with the Blank, it could be argued that this figure is truly one of the rarest action figures ever produced.