#1880: Cliff Clavin

CLIFF CLAVIN

CHEERS (MEGO)

“It’s a little-known fact that the tan became popular in what is known as the Bronze Age.”

Cheers’ know-it-all barfly Cliff Clavin was not originally meant to be in the show.  His actor, John Ratzenberger, originally auditioned for the part that would eventually become Norm Peterson.  When that part went to George Wendt, Ratzenberger suggested to the show’s producers the addition of a know-it-all character, and thus, Cliff Clavin was born, becoming one of the show’s most distinctive characters.  Now, he’s even got an action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cliff is the sophomore offering in the Cheers sub-set of Mego’s TV Classics line-up.  He’s part of the line’s second wave of figures, which started trickling out to Targets in November.  Cliff is built on the re-engineered Type 2 Mego body, so he stands about 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Cliff is sporting a brand-new head sculpt, which is another really long likeness for the Cheers line.  I don’t know if it’s quite topped Norm, but it’s certainly a very close second.  There’s a surprising level of detail there.  The accompanying paint is likewise very strong, with clean, sharp application, and some top-notch accent work.  The slight bit of grey at his temples, as well as the very faintly different coloring to the lips certainly ad a lot of life to the sculpt.  Cliff is seen here in his Postman’s uniform, which is made up of a jacket, slacks, shirt, and shoes.  The shirt is once again a full shirt, deviating from the original Mego style, though the overall tailoring of the uniform is very much the same.  There are some silk-screened elements as well, which detail all of the uniforms most important details. Most impressive for me was the patch on his left arm; that’s a very nice attention to detail.  Cliff is packed with a mug of beer.  It’s the same one included with Norm, and I like it just as much here as I did there.  I imagine we’ll have quite a few of these by the time Mego’s done.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I picked up Norm, I couldn’t very well pass up his drinking buddy Cliff, now could I?  Of course, the spottier showing of Wave 2 of the line meant that I didn’t have quite as much luck finding Cliff as I did the Wave 1 figures.  Fortunately, I was able to draft the help of the biggest Mego fan I know, my dad, who helped me  track this guy down.  I was very impressed by the Norm figure, and Cliff continues the trend that he started.  I really hope that Mego is finding their audience with these figures, because there’s no denying that they’re putting in the effort to make them as solid as possible.

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#1791: Norm Peterson

NORM PETERSON

CHEERS (MEGO)

NOOOOOOOOORM!!!”

—Everyone but Norm

And now it’s time for another sort of oddball appearance for this site: Cheers.  A show about a bunch of Boston-natives hanging out in a bar may not seem like the most natural fit for an action figure line, but “doesn’t seem like a natural fit for an action figure line” made up most of Mego’s business back in the day, and their relaunched selves seem to be dialing into a lot of those same philosophies.  In that respect, Cheers feels pretty well at home with Mego’s modern offerings.  They’ve decided to launch their little Cheers line not with Sam or Diane, but instead with the bar’s most frequent patron, announced by name every time he enters, Hillary Norman Peterson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Norm is one of the 11 single-packed figures in the first wave of Mego’s TV Classics line-up.  He’s going to be followed by Cliff and Woody in subsequent waves.  As of right now, all of the new Mego offerings are available exclusively through Target.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s built on a slightly different body than the previously reviewed Fonzie.  This body features a different, more rounded piece for the torso, befitting Norm’s paunchier physique.  In vintage times, this body was used for the likes of Boss Hogg and the Penguin, and it’s a pretty decent fit for Norm.  While Fonzie was built on a tweaked body with a slightly studier built to it, Norm’s body seems to be closer to its vintage counterpart, meaning he’s a little looser on some of those joints.  I’m not 100% sure if he’s still using the band construction, but if he is, I’ll be curious to see how well he holds up over time.  Norm has a brand new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty spot-on likeness of George Wendt.  I think this is one of the best likenesses in the first assortment, and it’s definitely a step-up from the classic figures.  The detail work, especially on the hair, is quite sharp, which is impressive on a rotocast item.  Additionally, the paint is quite cleanly applied and gives him quite a lifelike quality.  Norm is seen here in his standard post-work attire of a suit and tie.  It’s decently tailored for the style, and like Fonzie, he uses velcro in place of snaps, so they should hold up a bit better.  Under the jacket is a fully sleeved shirt, which is a nice change from the vintage Mego style.  The tie, rather than being a fully separate piece, like we saw on the DST Captain America and Daredevil, is actually affixed at the front of the shirt, and the band is just a part of the shirt, so it separates at the velcro just the same.  This is definitely a far better way of handling such a design.  Norm is packed with what is hands down the best possible accessory for the character, a mug of beer.  It’s actually quite a nicely handled piece, and the mug even has the Cheers logo engraved on one side, which is certainly a nifty touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting the review sample Fonzie from Mego, I was definitely been interested in looking at a few more of these figures.  I’ve just recently been on a binge watch of Cheers, so Norm was at the top of my want list from the first set.  I’m the slightest bit let down that his body doesn’t have the same level of improvements as the standard body, but apart from that, I really like this figure.  The likeness is awesome, and the beer is a really nice touch.  I very much look forward to the rest of the Cheers offerings from this line, and I’m hopeful we might even get to see Frasier or Wings figures as well down the line.