In celebration of the upcoming holiday and the release of Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster that has waited twenty long years to see the light of day, this edition of “The Toy Chest” presents one of my favorite pieces of my toy collection – President Thomas J. Whitmore from the Trendmasters line made for the original film.
Gifted to me for Christmas a few years back by my good friend, fellow movie nerd/toy collector, and cohort from The Only Podcast That Matters, Jack, this figure is modeled after my favorite character from the original Independence Day. Played to steely-jawed perfection by Bill Pullman, President Thomas J. Whitmore, led the nation through the terror of a hostile alien invasion.
Since I received this particular action figure, I’ve racked my brains, but can only come up with a vague awareness of this toy line when it was released. I certainly never had any of them, which also included several of the aliens, tech genius David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), combat pilot Steven Hiller (Will Smith), a fighter jet, an alien attack ship, and more. In that amazing original film, it is revealed that President Whitmore was once a fighter pilot himself, and desperate measures send him willingly back into the air to kick some alien ass.
To keep in line with the character’s former combat piloting glory, the figure depicts President Whitmore in that light, complete with a backpack missile launcher and two missiles, a machine gun and pistol, a kevlar vest and a fighter helmet. As far as the look is concerned , the Trendmasters line was one that got away with creating figures that did not actually look like the characters from the source material. Facially, no real attempt was ventured to make the figures bear the resemblance of Pullman, Smith or Goldblum. The aliens figures, however, appear to be fairly faithful in their representation of the invaders from the film. Being that Independence Day and the accompanying toy line were released in 1996, floppy computer disks were still a thing. The Independence Day figures from this line came with floppy disks that contained PC computer games.
A bit of searching yielded a fair amount of availability from sellers on eBay and elsewhere, with many of the main figures from the line, still boxed, falling in the $15-20 range. I plan on acquiring as many as possible, considering their fair price point and their availability two decades later. Have any of my fellow toy collectors gotten their hands on any of these? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them! Until next time at The Toy Chest here at The No Seatbelt Blog, keep calm and collect on!