The History of Dangerous Dan

Thanks to Clayton Brown from the grand country of Canada, this site now has a very good chronology of the Canadian bad man - "Dangerous Dan". Here is his account with a little editing on my part, [my words inside brackets].

I'm a big fan of your web-site, especially the Best of the West stuff! [Had to leave that in!] I do have one slight problem though.Your Canadian figures section is off on a few details.The one most glaring is your Dangerous Dan coverage!

Contrary to what you have listed [I've fixed it now], the original Dans came with a Sir Stuart head, and a caramel colored body, with black soft accessories/ silver hard accessories-although I have recently found out about(at least) one with olive green accessories! [I'd love to find a set of these] These first run Dans also came in a plain brown cardboard box, with a Marx brand on the face, and the characters name written on the bottom and top. I havent found any evidence yet, but I believe these early Dans were sold -at first anyway- as store exclusives through the Woolco Dept. store chain.(Taken over in the ninties by WalMart!) By the early seventies, Sears Canada also had Dan in their catalogs.

In 1971 and 72 Dan switched to a blue body and due to the US line developing the Sam Cobra character, was forced to switch heads! First off the line was the flocked Maddox head,but again the US re-released Maddox, and the head went south!The Sir Gordon head was used on the last few figures made, approx 1973.

I should also note that some of the plain brown boxes from Sears listed the character as Sinister(not renegade?)Sam Cobra, but it was still the Dangerous Dan figure!

Starting in 74, Dan was gone,and Sam Cobra (US version) moved in to take over as the resident bad guy!

Canada's Marx product history is full of unusual practises. An old Marx Canada employee once told me that a lot of the molds used up here were borrowed from the US, with only Johnny and Geronimo getting their own molds.(Explains why there are so many of these figures available in Canada!) Also, Marx Canada was "forced" to use up excess production stock. For example several first issue Canadian Johnnys were Stony Smith green, with olive green accessories. Not to be confused with the Mod green Johnnys of the early seventies. (I have a feeling the whole mod color program may just have been an excuse to get rid of more overstocked dye pellets!?) [I've often wondered why the Mod Color versions. My personal opinion is a last ditch effort to capture the 'younger' market - Any Marx employees want to weigh in on this???]

Just thought I would fill you in on the Dangerous Dan story, as he was one of Canadas first new Johnny characters after Johnny and the Chief!

Thanks Clayton Brown"

Following this great email, I asked Clayton a few penetrating, reporter like questions... such as "How do you know?". To which he very politely responded....

"...I am also fortunate to have grown up in Western Canada, Cowboy country! EVERYONE had BOTW stuff, and I came from a large family with lots of cousins. if I didnt have it they did.I always was a bit of a toy nut, and sometimes paid more attention to packaging and marketing, than to the toy! In regards to Dangerous Dan, well he was my favourite character next to Johnny of course. I recieved my first Dan in 1970. He is the caramel bodied one I mentioned. My cousin, [Name deleted], also had a caramel bodied Dan. I remember the "plain brown box" packaging, because I had my Mother search through all the other plain brown boxed characters to find him. [Aren't Mom's Great!] I assume they came in plain brown boxes because in those days Sears Canada(then Simpsons Sears), and Woolco, did a large mail order business. Even today Sears Canada sells toys in plain boxes!

In 1972, I saw an ad for Sam Cobra and immediately wanted him! Being that he had the same head as Dan, I just naturally assumed he was Dans twin brother. By the way he dressed he must have been the brains in the outfit, so I had to have him!

My Mother and I would search through the toy section for months, until my Mom found a box marked "Sinister Sam Cobra" (again one of the plain boxes!). When we got home,I carefully opened the box, and was rather dismayed to find, not Sam, but a blue bodied Dan. My parents wanted to take him back to the store, but I wouldnt let them...he's blue, that was different enough for me! An attempt was made to order Sam through the Sears Catalog, using the part number on the box. The figure that arrived was another Dan (dont recall what the box called him..I didnt get to keep this one!). I never did see a Sam Cobra figure in our stores until much later, during his "Quick Draw" days. By then plastic prices had soared and my parents wouldnt buy him!

Anyway, to answer your questions, Dan only came in two boxes.The plain one, and the "campfire" box with the doctored Johnny photo! The campfire box appeared when other retailers started carrying Dan. "

I can't tell you how much I appreciate Clayton's information. This hobby and the way Marx, in all countries, did things, really confuses the 12 inch timeline. Belly-up to the bar Clayton - The next round is on me!