But it got worse. The following year they changed again, trying desperately with vivid color to keep this toy alive. They brought out the Johnny West Action series. These, to the eyes of a purist like me, were almost a sin. Johnny shed his brown clothes and put on light blue, along with accessories of cream to go along with the brown. They still wore the red scarf, which of course was still cool. The bad part was Johnny now came in what was called a "Quickdraw" version. He had a white lever in his back and a little hole in the palm of his right hand, into which fit a peg sticking out the right side of his Colt pistol grip. His holster was ridiculously long, hanging down to his knee, and open in the front. You would put the gun in his hand and depress the white lever, which made his arm shoot up and made this little clicking sound that was supposed to simulate the sound of a gun, although it never did sound anything like one. To accommodate all these changes, Johnny West was shamed into becoming this big, barrel-chested looking fat boy. He was also doomed, as it turned out.
Jane became coral colored with white and blue and silver accessories, Josie green, Janice red with white and yellow; Jay chocolate brown with yellow; Jamie blue like his dad, with brown clothes; Garrett went back to the royal blue he had been in his original production but adopted all white soft vinyl accessories and all dark blue hard ones. Custer for some reason stayed royal blue, and Maddox became royal blue, but both got navy blue vinyl accessories and hard silver accessories. Geronimo, if you want to get a good laugh, got orange clothing with yellow and brown accessories. The Chief got a cream-colored body, which was okay, and cool red and brown accessories. Fighting Eagle, whom we never laid eyes on in real life, got bright green vinyl stuff. The horses all got different colored saddle blankets, but otherwise mostly survived all of the embarrassing changes. Sam Cobra, oddly enough, was the only one who survived all of the changes, staying the same old black plastic with all black plastic accessories. That was one stereotype even Marx could not do away with. But no one survived the pathetic pictures they put on the box covers, painted by some "modernist" who did not care one whit about the Johnny West legacy.
Like I said, Johnny West was doomed. And that year he died.