Jonathan began collecting Rescue Heroes in 1998, and he continues to keep abreast of all things related to the franchise.
UK exclusive Ivor Clue
The Rescue Heroes team features members to represent many nationalities, such as Cliff Hanger, Seymore Wilde and Sandy Beach from Australia, Willy Stop and Sergeant Siren from Britain, Billy Blazes and Captain Clydes from Canada, and more. But there were some action figures that were only released in countries other than the USA, such as police constable Ivor Clue, German cop Willi Wachtmeister, and French firefighter Louis Pinpon.
Composer Georgio Vanni
The Alternate Theme Song
While the pilot episode, season one, and seasons two and three each had their own theme song, they were all similar in that they largely consisted of electronic music with the words "Rescue Heroes" sung periodically. However, the Italian version of the first season had more of an actual song with lyrics (the English translation can be found online). Called Rescue Heroes Squadra Soccorso, it was written and performed by Giorgio Vanni, a musician who has made a career out of writing new theme songs for international cartoons specifically for Italian audiences. It can still be purchased on Google Play and other services that sell music.
The Banned Episode
One episode from season two of the animated series that aired in the summer of 2001 was called Terror in the Tower and focused on a pair of twin skyscrapers that were on fire. Naturally this was too close for comfort to what happened in real life only a couple of months later on September 11th, so the episode was pulled from airing in reruns and was also excluded, along with its sister episode that aired in the same block, from volumes 3 and 4 of the Adventure Collection DVD series that comprised the rest of the second season. After sufficient time had passed, the episode was reintroduced into syndication on Cartoon Network under the new title, "High Anxiety," and it was also included in a series of ten promotional DVDs in 2010 that included all episodes except for two from the third season. More recently, the complete original series can be purchased on iTunes or streamed on Tubi TV.
The Shelved Movie
Rescue Heroes: The Movie was released for one week only at some Lowe's theaters and released direct to VHS and DVD on Tuesday, November 18th, 2003. The top of the package bore the tantalizing slogan, "Starring in their FIRST full-length feature!" —but any second feature was not to be. Although a movie was planned for the following year, 2004, to be based on the Robotz toy line, it was canceled. The storyline still survives in a comic book entitled, "Rescue Heroes Robotz to the Rescue."
Team leader Billy Blazes has a firefighting brother named Bobby, as introduced in the season one episode, "The Fire of Field 13." Jack Hammer has a sister named Jill, seen in two episodes of seasons two and three, who tried out to be a Rescue Hero but decided to quit during her probationary stage. However, the only two active team members who are close relatives are Wendy Waters and her father, Warren Waters. Warren was introduced in the first season of the television series which aired in 1999, but he wasn't available to purchase as a toy until he was part of the Video Mission Voice Tech series three years later in 2002.
There are over 100 individual team members. Out of them the vast majority are men, followed by dozens of animals and robots, but during the franchise's original run there were only three women: Wendy Waters, Ariel Flyer, and Maureen Biologist. It might be argued that there was a fourth female, Mako the shark, as initial packaging refers to her as Maureen's "great white girlfriend," while later versions refer to Mako as a "he." It is also unknown whether or not Ariel's robot E-Ject has feminine programming. When Rescue Heroes returned in 2019, two more women were added, Sandy O'Shin and Sky Justice, and two more for the following year's lineup.
Micro Adventures Aaron Sky
While the standard height of Rescue Heroes figures has been about 6 inches, there have been other sizes. In 2005, the Micro Adventures line was introduced, which contained a number of figures, vehicles, and playsets. Among them was the new character Aaron Sky, the only team member to only be produced at this scale, about 2 inches tall.
Also, around that time period, slightly smaller figures were made as pieces in a board game, and slightly larger figures were made as party favors and decorative figurines. Three double-sized 12 inches "Special Edition" figures were also made of Billy Blazes, Jake Justice, and Matt Medic, and they came with removable clothing and accessories as well as more poseability. A fourth, Roger Houston, was also planned, even prototyped and advertised, but ultimately canceled. When Rescue Heroes became part of the Hero World toy line, their size was slightly reduced to 5 inches. Afterwards when being integrated into Imaginext, it was again reduced to 3 inches. When Rescue Heroes returned in 2019, the figures retained some of the shape and scale of the Imaginext series, while returning to their traditional size, 6 inches.
© 2018 Jonathan Sabin