THE INCREDIBLE CRASH DUMMIES
Left to right: Axel (Vince & Larry), Pitstop, Dash (Vince & Larry), Vince, Slick (Pro-Tek 2), Daryl (Pro-Tek 1), Spin (Slick & Spin)
The Original Series
Vehicles & Playsets
CGI Short Film
The Mind's Rubbish Bin
In 1991, Tyco Toys released a series of action figures called the Crash Dummies. The two flagship characters in the series were Vince and Larry, the stars of the Ad Council's popular series of PSAs concerning the usage of automobile safety-belts. As action figures, Vince and Larry could come apart at the neck, shoulders, and thighs by pressing one of two (or both) so-called "Impact Buttons" on their torsos. Other dummies in the line also had telescoping necks and "bug-out" facial features, which could be triggered by pressing their respective Impact Buttons. The user could either press the buttons manually, place the dummy in one of the line's vehicles and crash it (most vehicles in the line had functions which would press the dummies' Impact Buttons somehow), or find some other means. As the dummies were the same approximate height as the average action figure of the time, they could also be used with vehicles and accessories from other lines, such as G.I. Joe, Star Trek, and Inspector Gadget. Later, some radio-controlled cars in Tyco's own TycoRC line were adapted to fit the Crash Dummies (though the vast majority had no special crash function).
Despite criticism for its blatant glorification of automobile crashes and its great reliance on small parts, the Crash Dummies line proved to be a best-seller, for the first time out-selling LEGO bricks and G.I. Joe over the 1991 holiday season.
In early 1992, however, the Ad Council chose to abandon its contract with Tyco, forcing the latter to cease production of Vince and Larry. Rather than end a profitable series, Tyco chose to simply rename the characters to Slick and Spin, changing their uniform colour in the process. At the same time, the line itself was renamed to "The Incredible Crash Dummies".
Later that year, the dummies were given redesigned uniforms (called "Pro-Tek Suits") with bright neon colours contrasted against black. "Villain" characters, called "Junkbots", were introduced also. In early 1993, Tyco partnered with Nelvana Animation Studios to create a cartoon series based on the Incredible Crash Dummies. For an unknown reason, only one episode was ever produced, which was aired in May of '93 on FOX Kids. A VHS copy of the episode was included with a limited edition Ted or Junkman figure sold only through the remainder of 1993.
In mid-1994, four dummies (Slick, Spin, Axel, and Dash) received another redesign and new Impact Button functions. However, this series proved unpopular and was discontinued only months after its release.
Shortly thereafter, the dummies' uniforms were redesigned once more and they returned to their original Impact Button functions -- the unpopular Junkbots were also discontinued. This series (known as the "Crash Dummies Racing" series) was not widely-released in the United States, but proved fairly popular in Europe. Whilst the Incredible Crash Dummies line largely died out in America by late 1995, it continued in Europe until 2001, when Tyco was acquired by Mattel.
In 2004, Mattel attempted to revive the line under the Hot Wheels label (explained below), but discontinued it in 2006. In 2009, O-Games created a game for Nintendo's Wii entitled, CID The Dummy, where the title character has been compared to the second Pro-Tek series for his uniform design and his inability to come apart.
To this day, the Incredible Crash Dummies maintain a small cult-following, mostly by people who owned the original toys -- however, they have gained more visibility on the Internet. The original Crash Dummies have been the subject of several popular YouTube videos. The 21-minute-long pilot Incredible Crash Dummies episode has also been uploaded to that website (though in segments, due to its duration), as well as several television advertisements for the toy line, itself.
THE ORIGINAL SERIES
Series #1 - Vince & Larry: The line's debut series. Featured the Ad Council characters, Vince and Larry. Also introduced Daryl, Spare Tire, Skid the Kid, Hubcat, and Bumper.
Series #2 - Slick & Spin: Created out of necessity when Tyco and the Ad Council parted ways. The only change from the previous series was the removal of Vince and Larry, and their subsequent replacement by Slick and Spin.
Series #3 - Pro-Tek 1: The original dummies' uniforms were redesigned from a solid colour to several contrasting colours. New dummies Chip, Dent, Bull, and Ted, and the "villain" Junkbots were introduced. The vehicle bonus dummies, Skid the Kid, Hubcat, and Bumper were discontinued.
Series #4 - Pro-Tek 2: Slick and Spin's uniforms and Impact Button functions were redesigned. Axel and Dash (bonus characters from the first and second series) became part of the main cast. Otherwise, identical to Pro-Tek 1.
Series #5 - Crash Dummies Racing: Ran concurrently with Pro-Tek 2 in Europe and South America. Slick, Spin, Axel, Chip, and Dent received another uniform redesign. Slick, Spin, and Axel returned to their original Impact function, Chip and Dent's function changed to a telescoping head and torso. Axel no longer wore glasses. This series had only a limited release in the United States
In 2004, Mattel (who had acquired Tyco Toys in a leveraged buyout several years earlier) attempted to revive the line. It borrowed the Incredible Crash Dummies name, but omitting the article, "The", making it simply "Incredible Crash Dummies" (the original line's official name was "The Incredible Crash Dummies"). At first, they released only four dummies: Crunch, Splice, Gyro, and Crash, with each performing its own unique function. Crunch's head retracted into his torso, Splice split into three parts, Gyro's torso rotated, and Crash fell apart similarly to the original Incredible Crash Dummies. Also, vehicles would come with an unnamed dummy whose neck would telescope similarly to Daryl's, but would not spin. This dummy came in five colour variants (blue, red, green, purple, and yellow). Later, the same varying colours were applied to the named crash dummies.
In late 2005, the dummies were redesigned structurally (however, their functions did not change) and the animal characters of Hubcat (a cat), Divot (a raccoon), Speedbump (a dog), and Stinkbomb (a skunk) were introduced. The unnamed dummies' telescoping neck was replaced with a sound-chip, which would operate by pressing down on their heads, allowing them to play pre-recorded voice clips.
The series did not prove as popular as the original, however, causing Mattel to discontinue the line in 2006 (most retailers sold out of new stock in 2007).
The Hot Wheels Incredible Crash Dummies line contained several references to its Tyco predecessor -- the character of Hubcat is present in both lines (though with more decals in the original); the Hot Wheels Crash Kart operates in the same manner as the original Crash Cart and separates in the same places; the unnamed dummy's red and yellow colour variants made it resemble the original's bonus characters of J.R. and Flip, respectively; a playset called known as the Crash Cannon was introduced in the second series, which resembled the original playset of the same name in structure and function; among other things.
The line featured a total of 20 dummies (comprising 10 dummies in solid colours, 7 in Pro-Tek Suits, 4 in a second redesign of the Pro-Tek Suits, and 5 in the Crash Dummies Racing series) and 4 Junkbots. The Junkbot characters were released in the first and second Pro-Tek series, but discontinued for Crash Dummies Racing. One dummy (named "Pitstop") was only available from Canadian Tire and only during 1991.
Most of the dummies' Impact Button function was to fall apart. When the Impact Buttons were pressed, a series of thin metal clips inside the dummy's torso would move in a way which would allow springs to launch its limbs and head from its body (called "exploding"). Other features were a telescoping neck which would spin (i.e. Daryl, Pitstop) and "bug-out" facial features (i.e. Spare Tire). In the case of Spare Tire, his head could not rotate, as the mechanism which triggered his Impact function required a straight path into the dummy's head. Although these dummies did not come apart as an Impact function, their legs and arms could be manually removed. Each limb on all dummies could be separated further, removing the dummy's forearms and calves. The knee and elbow joints could be bent 90 degrees from their prone positions in either direction, allowing the dummy to interact with vehicles.
SERIES 1: Vince & Larry
Left to right: Vince, Larry, Daryl, Spare Tire, Wack, J.R., Flip, Dash, Axel
SERIES 2: Slick & Spin
Slick, Spin, Pitstop (dummies released in the previous series are not shown)
SERIES 3: Pro-Tek 1
Slick, Spin, Daryl, Spare Tire, Bull, Chip, Dent, Junkman
SERIES 4: Pro-Tek 2
Slick, Spin, Axel, Dash, Ted, Junkman Recolour
SERIES 5: Crash Dummies Racing
Slick, Spin, Axel, Chip, Dent
Skid the Kid (Vince & Larry)
Hubcat & Bumper (Vince & Larry)
Exploding dummies used an hexagonal plastic connector to hold the parts in place on the torso. The connector had a notch near the top to which the metal clips inside the torso could attach. However, this notch had the unforeseen side-effect of compromising the integrity of the connector -- it was common for the exploding dummies' limb connectors to break off at the notch, leaving no way for the clips to hold it in place. Whilst most such dummies were returned to the store for this reason, a typical repair was to use temporary mounting putty (sold under the tradename, "Fun-Tak", at the time), which would be adhesive enough to hold the limb in place, but flexible enough to permit the limb to pivot where necessary.
Non-exploding dummies used a connector moulded in the same component as the limb. For this reason, it was uncommon for them to be returned for broken connectors. However, in the case of Daryl, the clip which held his head in place would occasionally break, making the user unable to return it to the prone position. Occasionally, the reverse would happen -- the spring used to telescope his neck would break, rendering the Impact function useless. Also, there were certain ways to crash Daryl that could decapitate him. As there was no connector on his head, it could not be returned to the torso without breaking off the remaining plastic neck-pieces and adhering it back into place. In the case of Spare Tire, small children would frequently engage his "bug-out" Impact function and forcibly pull his facial features off. In spite of this, Spare Tire was the least-returned dummy in the line, as the Impact function required comparatively few primary components which could not be broken simply from use.
VEHICLES & PLAYSETS
There were five types of Crash Car available over the course of the series (the Crash Car, the Student Driver, the Crash Cab, the Bash'n Bomber, and the Dummy Derby). Each car was fundamentally identical (mode of crash and number of features), with the only distinct differences being their names, colours, and decals. When the front end of the car was crashed into something, it "crumpled" and the airbag behind the steering wheel deployed. The passenger seat also sprung forward, causing anything in it to be launched through the windscreen, which also came off. The roof and the doors could be removed from the car to expedite the placement of crash dummies into the seats. There were also rubber "safety-belts" on both seats, which the user could choose to apply to the car's occupants. With the safety-belt on, the passenger seat would not spring forward to launch the figure seated there out of the car. However, despite the belt's obvious statement about car safety, it would often inadvertently trigger the Impact function on exploding dummies, as it would cross the Impact Buttons when attached.
Despite claims made by the toys' advertisements, the airbag would not deploy with enough force to disengage the steering wheel, or engage the Impact function of the dummy in the driver's seat.
During the Vince & Larry series, Dash and Axel came packaged with the Crash Car and the Student Driver, respectively.
There were also five types of motorcycles in the line (all of them called "Crash Cycle", with the exception of the Crash Chopper in the Pro-Tek series). Each motorcycle came with an optional sidecar, making them all able to hold three crash dummies. The cycle, itself, was adapted with higher foot-pegs to allow Spare Tire to use it. When the front end of the cycle was crashed into something, it triggered a switch behind the front wheel. This caused the sidecar to eject and the cycle's seats to spring forward, theoretically launching the the dummies seated there. The sidecar was destructible in that the chassis could separate from the wheels, the chassis could split in two, and the seat could be removed. Motorcycles would typically have three helmets included. No bonus dummies came packaged with any motorcycle.
There were also several other crashing vehicles, specifically, the Crash ATV, Crash Kart (also called "Crash Cart"), and Crash Mower. Each one performed a different function when the front end of the vehicle came into contact with something. Like the motorcycles, most of these vehicles were adapted to be compatible with Spare Tire. During the Vince & Larry series, the bonus dummies, J.R., Flip, and Wack were packaged with the Crash Kart, ATV, and Mower respectively.
In the Pro-Tek 1 series, the Crash Plane was introduced, which could seat one dummy in the cockpit and contain another in the bomb-bay. The bay, however, was operated separately from the Impact function (it would open when a button on the fuselage behind the cockpit was pressed and closed when the button was released). The crashing function pushed the propeller inward, sending the control wheel into the dummy's impact buttons, and the wings springing off.
Beginning with the Pro-Tek 1 series, a few vehicles were introduced that performed no special Impact function.
Bull's Truck (or Bull's Flip-Over Truck) was designed specifically for use by Bull, making parts of it too large for other crash dummies. The truck features a "Junkbot Smasher", which was operated by pressing down on the bonnet. If the front tyres were rotated long enough, the truck would flip itself over by springing the front end away from the front-right tyre. Theoretically, the truck would then tumble about, throwing out any dummies that were not secured by safety-belts. Unlike the Crash Cars, Bull's Truck did not feature an air-bag or a dummy-launching passenger seat. It is possible that an additional accessory for the vehicle was planned, but ultimately not manufactured, due to the presence of a plastic stump in the truck-bed. Some have speculated that a Crash Dummy variant of the Bot Wrecker's projectile launcher was to have either been included with the truck or made available at a later date.
The Dirt Digger was a front-loading bulldozer, featuring an operable shovel at the front and a hook at the back in which to place a rubbish skip. It was advertised as a way for the Crash Dummies to clean up defeated Junkbots.
The Junkbot Wrecker (frequently shortened to Bot Wrecker) was designed for use by the Junkbots. Like Bull's Truck, if the front tyres are rotated for a sustained period, a spear-shaped snowplough-like apparatus at the front of the vehicle sprung forward, presumably to take down Crash Dummies (or to launch dummies that had already been collected). The vehicle was incongruous, in that it had only enough space for three Junkbots, when four were released. Also, since the Junkbots did not Impact like crash dummies, the Bot Wrecker performed no special crash functions. The Bot Wrecker is not particularly common, compared to other vehicles in the line. There was some criticism of the vehicle, which led to a shorter-than-average life-span. The number one issue concerned its lack of compatibility with the Crash Test Centre playset -- some users reported that it damaged the Crash Metre or broke it outright. The second concerned its lack of compatibility with the Junkyard playset, as it is too tall (with the projectile launcher accessory) to pass underneath the low platform at the front. Also, it was criticised by parents for having too many sharp edges on which their children could be or had been injured in some way. Due to its rarity, it is considered one of the most collectible items in the series, if not the entire line. It was also the series' only Junkbot-themed vehicle.
The Crash Cannon, also introduced in Pro-Tek 1, was intended to used by the Junkbots to launch attacks against (or simply launch) the Crash Dummies. Although the art on the box portrays Junkman using the cannon to launch Slick, it was later portrayed in the Incredible Crash Dummies film as a tool created by Crash Dummies and is seen being used by Slick and Spin. It could be rotated by turning a crank on the base. It operated via a pullstring at the back end of the cannon -- pulling the string would directly move a flat plastic stick inside the cannon, which (assuming the string were "yanked") would launch anything resting against it. It came with a boxing-glove rocket which could be launched as a cannonball. Junkbots could sit in the control seat on the side of the cannon, but due to their irregular shapes, they could not fit into the cannon's barrel to be launched.
The Crash Test Centre, introduced in the Vince & Larry series, was a multipurpose playset featuring the iconic Crash Wall (based on the concrete/metal wall into which actual cars are crashed to test safety features) and a Crash Metre. The Test Centre was made of four main components: the surface, the Crash Wall, the Crash Metre, and the control console. Whilst the control console was a different shape, requiring a specific position, the Crash Metre and the Crash Wall were interchangeable, able to be placed either on the test track or on the raised platform to the right. They were held in place with four plastic shims, installed from the back side. Scattered about the surface were two types of connection ports: three-pronged ports and cylindrical ports. The cylindrical ports were used to set either a collapsible traffic sign or an accessory called the Rocket Sled Launcher at various points near to and far from either the Wall or the Metre (there were ports aiming at both possible locations). The Launcher was operated by gripping a trigger handle and squeezing it. The speed of the launch depended on how much force was used to squeeze the handle. It was equipped with two three-pronged ports, one above the other. The three-pronged connection ports supported most of the Test Centre's accessories and could be found in a number of places on the surface and on the Crash Metre, which allowed for a great deal of user customisation. Accessories which supported the three-pronged ports include the Rocket Sled Launcher's seat, two pylons (which are intended to hold a girder across the test track), a dashboard (which contains another port), and the front fender of a car. To the left of the test track was an expansion port intended for the Crash 'n' Bash Chair playset.
The Crash 'n' Bash Chair (sometimes called Crash Test Chair or simply Crash Chair)was a type of device similar in structure to a dental examination chair and in function to a torture rack. The back and front of the chair could be bent upwards and downwards, respectively, with the central segment remaining immovable. On the extreme top and bottom of the chair's surface were hooks used to clamp dummies in place by their wrists and ankles. The user could then turn cranks on the sides of the chair to extend the surface area, thereby separating the dummy's parts at the forearms or thighs. Additionally, dummies could be strapped in with two rubber straps which hooked onto prongs on the sides of the chair. A mechanical arm was situated on a track next to the chair, itself, which could be moved along the entire length of the surface and/or turned on a 360-degree pivot. The arm operated by tension -- pushing the arm to an upward position would create tension in a metal coil inside the assembly. When tension was released, the arm would come speeding down toward the chair. In the recommended position, whatever was mounted onto the arm would depress the Impact Buttons on the dummy in the chair. The arm could be adjusted further by moving the connection point at the end upwards or downwards a total of 180 degrees (45 degrees at a time). The connection point featured a standard three-pronged port which supported not only the accessories with which the Crash 'n' Bash Chair was packaged (a steering wheel, a spring-loaded clamping claw, and a hammer), but also many of the accessories packaged with the Crash Test Centre playset. The chair's mechanical arm was also connected to the playset with a standard port, allowing the entire arm to be fitted into any such port on the Test Centre.
The Junkyard, released in 1993, near the end of the Pro-Tek 1 series, was supposedly the Junkbot equivalent of the Crash Test Centre. However, it was obviously designed for use with a Crash Dummy. Similar to the Test Centre's Rocket Sled Launcher, the Junkyard featured a catapult which would slingshot a dummy through a signboard, which was mounted on a platform, supported by a mounting apparatus shaped like the front of a lorry. The apparatus also served as a sort of "prison", as it featured a swing-open barred door at the front and had bars at the back also. There was a gate at the front of the playset which could be crashed through with a vehicle, though it was not sturdy enough the cause the vehicle's Impact function. The Junkyard was criticised for being too simple in comparison to the Test Centre and also for it being unable to be used in conjunction with the Crash Cannon. Also, users observed that the signboard platform was too low down to permit Bull's Truck or the Bot Wrecker to pass under it.
Whilst the Incredible Crash Dummies line was principally a series of playsets and toys, its popularity created demand for other types of merchandise as well. Whilst the licensed products consisted mainly of housewares and clothing or accessories, several miscellaneous toys were also produced. These toys bore the Incredible Crash Dummies indicia, but were completely independent of the main series. A Crash Dummies variant of Rock'Em-Sock'Em Robots was released concurrently with the Pro-Tek 1 series and featured Slick, Spin, Junkman, and Piston Head. A set of diecast metal "breakaway" Matchbox cars, based on the Bash'n Bomber and the Dummy Derby, were released during Pro-Tek 1 also. During Pro-Tek 2, a number of pull-back mechanical Crash Cars were released, some of which featured a sound chip which would produce a crashing sound when a button on the toy's front fender was pressed. Oddly, despite being released during the Pro-Tek era, the cars were based on the Student Driver and Crash Car from the Vince & Larry series and featured either Slick or Spin in the driver's seat (portrayed on stickers, rather than by actual Crash Dummies).
Other toys included colouring-books, radio-controlled Crash Cars (whose roof, fender, and doors would fall off upon contact with a solid object), plush "Crack'Ups" Slick and Spin (dolls whose heads, arms, and legs were held to the torso by Velcro), ViewMaster reels, board games, Colorforms sets, and Play-Doh moulds.
It was not uncommon to find these miscellaneous items for sale in wholesale outlets (such as dollar stores and pharmacies) for years after the main series' discontinuation. This is due mostly to the fact that the manufacturers of the licensed merchandise were not affiliated with Tyco, allowing them to continue manufacture even after the latter had abandoned the Incredible Crash Dummies copyright.
CGI SHORT FILM
In May 1993, a cartoon based on the Pro-Tek 1 series was aired on FOX Kids. It was rendered entirely in 3D computer-generated imagery and the voice-actors were all recognisable from other cartoons (most of them having taken part in something by DiC Animation Studios, generally The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! or Inspector Gadget). The plot centres around the invincible prototype Torso 9000, which, after being taken out for a test-run by Ted, is accidentally paired with a prototype (and completely evil) dummy head, creating Junkman. The programme surrounds Slick and Spin's attempt to retrieve the Torso 9000, but ending up needing to rescue its creator, Dr. Zub, from Junkman, who is bent on obtaining the design for the Torso in order to duplicate it for his army of Junkbots.
The 3D models for the dummies and vehicles were previously used in the line's television advertisements. It is recognised by animation enthusiasts as one of the few well-produced, non-Pixar, feature-length CG animations released prior to Toy Story. Some critics found the programme's frequent usage of puns and metaphors to become tiresome, as well as the Junkbots being portrayed as stereotypical bumbling henchmen (contrary to their card descriptions). Also, the Torso 9000 plot is never fully resolved, as Junkman appears to escape with it. This suggested that the programme was intended to be the pilot episode of a series of The Incredible Crash Dummies cartoon shows, however only the one was ever released.
Limited-edition Ted and Junkman figures were released shortly thereafter with a VHS copy of the programme, which featured a bit more dialogue in places, compared to the televised version. The figures and the cassettes were only sold through the remainder of 1993, making them highly sought-after by collectors.
Slick, Jackhammer: Jim Rankin
Spin: Michael Carvana
Dr. Zub: John Stocker
Ted: Lee MacDougall
Junkman: Dan Hennessey
Spare Tire, Piston Head: Richard Binsley
Bull, Daryl: Paul Haddad
Computer Voice: Susan Roman
In 1993, a videogame based on the Incredible Crash Dummies was released for NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Mega Drive, Game Gear, and Amiga 2000. There were two different versions of the game. the first was based somewhat on the Slick & Spin series, with the objective being to perform various types of stunts and crashes to earn the high score. This version was released on Game Boy and Game Gear and was developed by Acclaim. The second version was based on the plot from the Incredible Crash Dummies film, where the objective was to stop Junkman. This version was released on the Amiga 2000, Super NES, and Master System, and was developed by LJN. Gameplay in the console version was equatable to Super Mario Bros., in that it was a side-scrolling jumping game. The NES version, also developed by LJN, entailed Slick and Spin rescuing Spare Tire and Daryl from Junkman. Gameplay was largely similar to Super Mario Bros. Slick appeared to have been retrofitted with some sort of mechanical unicycle on which to move about, though this seemed to be inconsequential, as he would move and jump like any other Mario-type character. Given the graphical capabilities of the console, the dummies appeared in their solid-coloured uniforms from the Slick & Spin series, rather than their Pro-Tek suits, which would have been consistent with a Junkman-centred plot.
THE MIND'S RUBBISH BIN
The VHS version of the Incredible Crash Dummies was somewhat longer than the version which was televised. A scene involving Chip and Dent attempting to hang a signboard, followed by a bombproofing test by Spare Tire and Bull were cut from the televised version, as well as most of the Crash Plane scene. For some reason, Junkman's line, "What a moron!", when Piston Head falls into a rubbish skip was cut from the broadcast version, though the scene behind it remained intact.
It should be mentioned, however, that the VHS copy was released after the film was televised. It is entirely possible, given the complexity of 3D CG animation at the time, that the scenes were not entirely completed by the deadline for broadcast, with Nelvana opting to finish them for the VHS release.
Despite his appearing as the Blofeld's-cat in the Incredible Crash Dummies film, Hubcat had been discontinued at the end of the Slick & Spin series. Most retailers no longer sold the Hubcat & Bumper figures at the time it aired.
The 1995 Disney/Pixar film, Toy Story (widely recognised as the first-ever cinematic production rendered entirely in CGI), contains a line by Rex the Dinosaur: "I'm from Mattel! Well, not really from Mattel, but from a smaller company purchased in a leveraged buyout." This line would seem to describe Tyco, who had been purchased by Mattel in a leveraged buyout in 1994. This may be a reference to The Incredible Crash Dummies film, which is known by animation enthusiasts as the first well-produced, non-Pixar feature-length production rendered entirely in CGI. Additionally, it is revealed that the connector which supposedly holds the Buzz Lightyear action-figures' arms in place is the same shape as those which held the limbs on the exploding Crash Dummies.
The Ad Council broke their contract with Tyco after several television stations refused to run the Vince & Larry PSAs, claiming they would serve as free advertising for the Crash Dummies toy-line. As the Vince and Larry characters were the only ones under the Ad Council's ownership, the only difference in the line following the split was the replacement of Vince and Larry with Slick and Spin. Rather than needing to create new art for the new dummies on their blistercards, their nametags were painted over and their uniform colours were changed to more closely resemble Slick and Spin. For one reason or another, neither dummy's name was added to their portrait's nametag, leaving a simple yellow stripe.
Vince's (and, therefore, Slick's) nametag on that action figure's blistercard portrait is on the wrong side of the Impact Buttons.
Vince and Larry continued to appear in the pictures of the vehicles and playsets on the back of the figures' blistercards and the vehicles' boxes through the remainder of the Slick & Spin series. They also continued to be shown in the box-art for all of the vehicles and continued to be demonstrated in the line's television advertisements until the Pro-Tek 1 series.
In an attempt to make the series less gender-exclusive, a female dummy called "Darlene" in a light pink uniform was to have been introduced in the Vince & Larry series. A prototype was built, but it failed the preliminary play-test, as it did not appeal to boys. Rather than scrap the dummy altogether, its uniform colour was changed to red and it was renamed "Daryl".
An attempt was made to release "Darlene" in either of the Pro-Tek series, but the same problem arose when it once again failed to appeal to the mostly male user-base. Apocryphally, the main reason for the "Darlene" character's consistent failure was that the boys involved in the testing did not want to "beat up a girl". The "Darlene" prototypes were sold to former Tyco employees in 2002.
During the Vince & Larry series, the line was known as "Crash Robots" in Europe.
Most of the figures and vehicles in the line were made using identical moulds, with different colours of plastic to tell the toys apart (Slick from Spin or the Crash Cycle from the Crash Chopper, for instance), a common practise by toymakers in the 1980s. This meant that there was a great deal of functional overlap between toys. By the time the series was discontinued in 2001, there were five motorcycles, five cars, and fifteen crash dummies which all performed the same functions.
Spare Tire is the only long-running dummy introduced in the Vince & Larry series not to have an identical counterpart with a different name and colour. The line consisted mostly of Vince and Larry-type exploding dummies, Daryl and Pitstop were identical (Darlene would have been identical to Daryl also).
Whilst the front of Pitstop's blistercard features a blue recolour of Daryl (accurate, given the figure's construction), his biography on the back of the card features a picture of Larry (evident by the fact that this dummy's head appears to be separating from the torso, as Larry's did). His biography is also a paraphrasing of Larry's.
Amongst the miscellaneous licensed toys was a series of pull-back Crash Cars and Student Drivers (approximately just under half the size of their main series counterparts) that featured a button on the front fender of the toy which would play a crashing sound when pressed (theoretically, the button would be pressed when it collided with a solid object). These were the most controversial in the licensed Crash Dummies line for two reasons.
First, the sound button was exposed on the blistercard, allowing the potential buyer to try out the toy's functionality. More often than not, excessive usage of the "Try Me" button led to the chip's battery going dead whilst the toy was still on the shelf. It was thus considered uneconomical, as the battery would quickly go dead anyway and, although the car could be disassembled with a screwdriver, allowing for battery replacement, new batteries often proved more expensive than the initial cost of the toy.
Second, some department stores refused to stock these toys. In one (albeit, apocryphal) case, the manager of a Richman Gordman store received so many complaints from his employees about the toy's incessant crashing sound, he spread the word to his counterparts at competing outlets, warning them against keeping them in stock. In another similar case, similarly to most items with integrated batteries manufactured in the '80s and '90s, the toys had a tendency to play the crashing sound on their own when their batteries began to run down. As the power dwindled, the sound would become increasingly lower in pitch and drawn out -- a toy whose battery was nearly spent may extend the sound out to as long as fifteen seconds. In some cases, employees would claim the toys to be "haunted", as they would occasionally activate when there were no customers present. With no way to manually turn the sound off, they were frequently either thrown out or returned to the manufacturer.
The Incredible Crash Dummies on Wikipedia
The Incredible Crash Dummies pilot episode on YouTube
The Incredible Crash Dummies pilot episode on IMDb
Page coding and layout, all text, and CG characters by J Sebastian Perry (a.k.a. Spiny McSpleen), 2011 SebasTECH