Bad things on the horizon-Best of the West series, 1974

Things began to change for the worse in 1974, the same year we started shoveling sidewalks around town (for a quarter each!) to be able to afford more Johnny Wests. They came out with what was called the Best of the West series, where "Best of the West" was actually written on the box. They changed the look of the box so that they were mostly the same, all pretty bad pictures of the dolls (in my not-so-humble opinion). They took away the variety, who knows why? Johnny's great "Cactus box," which had lasted only two years, disappeared, along with Jane's and Sheriff Garrett's, also Cactus boxes. Sam Cobra, the Renegade Badman's cool red and white box was gone, and the really neat Fort Apache Fighters series also bit the dust, all replaced by these horribly ugly brown and yellow boxes with crappy pictures of the individual dolls on front. But that wasn't the worst of it. Worse than that was the changes in accessories, at least for Sheriff Garrett and Johnny West, who shared the same accessory molds in different colors. The accessories came in hard plastic and soft vinyl. The hard-dark brown, in Johnny and Jane's case-survived. It was the soft accessories, particularly those of Johnny and of Sheriff Garrett, which paid. They became really thick, the hats horribly ugly, and the holsters so thick the pistols never would seat fully into them again. (But not even close to as bad as the later Mexican productions of the dolls!) The springs inside the shoulders also became very thick, and the dolls consequently were hard to "operate on" when you wanted to trade heads. The only good change was the bandanna, or "scarf," as we called it, which began to be made in a really cool red.