Every so often, an actor's performance in a film not only sets the standard for that role, it also sears the memory of that character into the brains of the audience. From then on, if you see that actor in anything else, you think of that one role. And if you see any other actor play that part, you can't help but compare them to the "real" one.
In 1931, Dwight Frye gave two such performances: one in Dracula as Renfield, the insane lackey to Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula, and the other in Frankenstein, as Dr. Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant Fritz. (Fritz = Igor.) Fritz taunted the monster until the monster killed him. Frye appeared in sixty-one films between 1928 and his death in 1942, but history remembers him primarily for these two roles.
It is also these two roles which Sideshow Toy has chosen to immortalize in plastic form, in their 12-inch Universal Monsters action figure product line. (The RTM Spotlight will look at Renfield another time.)
The Fritz action figure is a limited edition of 3,500, and retails for around $40 USD. He can be found online at Sideshow Toy's online store and at other online stores which carry Sideshow's products.
Fritz comes with a few things we have seen before: a short walking stick, a textured stand/base, a brain, and a jar for the brain. (The jar has a "normal brain" label on it.) The short walking stick is the same as was used for Igor from the Young Frankenstein set, but if you aren't afraid of veering from the source material, it also makes a nice spike weapon. As you can see from the picture above, the RTM Toy Testing Lab Monkeys prefer Fritz to use it as a weapon rather than as a cane.
Sideshow's packaging for their 12-inch action figures has evolved over the course of 2001, with a detour into plain window boxes, but Fritz has a fifth-panel box. As on the other Universal Monsters figures, the fifth panel flap features the movie poster from the film in question, with the inside of the flap listing credits for the film. The flap closes with a small circle of Velcro®.
The portrait sculpture for this figure was done by Mat Falls. Fritz's scar is sculpted onto his face, not merely painted on, and the paint application for his five o'clock shadow is nice. Fritz was a hunchback dwarf, and as such would have to look up at the other characters, so the eyes on the action figure are also looking up.
Fritz's outfit is very detailed, including a full shirt under his jacket. His jacket and shirt both close with black snaps, although there are tiny buttons sewn on. Under the shirt, he is wearing a little stuffed pillow to simulate Fritz's hunch. The pillow stays in place with elastic. Fritz's shoes cover his ankles, but not his socks. The pants are not hemmed on the bottom, which adds to the feel of him being a mad scientist's assistant. If Fritz stands straight up, his pants are just a tiny bit too long, but once you pose him and get him all hunched over, the pants are the perfect length.
Fritz has the "standard" Sideshow articulation for their 12-inch action figures, which is:
Click to see more pictures of Fritz
- shoulders (ball jointed)
- bicep twists
- elbows (double-jointed)
- forearm twists
- wrists (move in two planes)
- hips (ball jointed)
- thigh twists
- knees (double-jointed)
- lower-leg twists
- ankles (move in two planes)