Mel Birnkrant's
         Imagine our World in the not so distant future; its resources depleted, its atmosphere polluted. Earth has become a place where animals live in mortal Danger.  Many species face Extinction, not only here on Planet Earth, but, throughout the Universe.

Against this background of desperation, hope lives on, as Captain Noah Darwin, commander of the STARSHIP A.R.C. (Animal Rescue Command) sets forth upon an Epic Voyage that takes him from the ends of the Earth to the farthest reaches of our Galaxy.  His mission is to visit this and other planets to rescue two of each endangered species, and transport them to the safely of NEW EDEN, a virgin planet much like Earth millions of years ago, where life may yet be born anew, and each endangered species can multiply and prosper.
          STARSHIP A.R.C. is equipped with cutting edge technology and out of this world devices that endow Captain Noah with Animal Powers.  They enable him to swim like a fish for hours underwater, soar like an eagle on titanium wings light as a feather, and leap like a tiger on mighty Power Paws.  Foremost among his amazing equipment is the Universal Translator, a miraculous breakthrough that enables Captain Noah to communicate with every animal in the Universe and visa versa
         The Crew of STARSHIP A.R.C. is primarily made up of the strongest and most intelligent of Earth's endangered Species.  Thanks to the Universal Translator, Noah has discovered that animals are as intelligent as Humans.  Now given the gift of language, the animals too have learned of the damage that Man has wrought on their poor planet.  And they are really angry!  Thus, the bravest among them have joined the Crew of STARSHIP A.R.C., determined to fight for their Survival.
                All Crew members of STARSHIP A.R.C. are equipped with the Universal Translator, enabling them to speak to Noah and each other.  They also proudly wear the emblem of NEW EDEN, a sea-blue orb, flanked by two suns, one fiery red, and the other golden yellow.  It represents their hopes and dreams of Safe Haven and Life Eternal.
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of STARSHIP A.R.C. and other
Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright

Return to
             Being an Action Figure concept, there had to be vehicles and accessories.  So, here they are.  They too embody Animal Powers.  Not every Creature that STARSHIP A.R.C. encounters is friendly.  Some have to be captured and fitted with the “Universal Translator” before they understand that A.R.C. stands for Salvation. 
         The various vehicles all clip together to form what in the Golden Age of Action Figures was called a Play-set.  But why did A.R.C. need Weaponry? 

  My God!  I loved this concept!  What an opportunity for Adventure, as Noah and his crew encounter one Fabulous Endangered Creature after another, and battle Awesome Adversaries, who threaten their Extinction.  Why couldn't we sell this concept in 1989?  Read on and you will learn the answer, and also meet "the BAD GUYS!"
          Meanwhile, there is a threat to Animal Survival far more Insidious than the ravages of progress and pollution, The INTERGALACTIC DOOM HUNTERS, led by the Diabolical Huntsman, X-Tinctor.  This sinister band of Big Game Hunters travels the Universe in their monstrous Starship, THE LODGE, seeking the Ultimate Game.  For these blood thirsty killers the Supreme Thrill consists of pulling the trigger on the Last Surviving Animal of an endangered species, plunging that species into Extinction.

          Captain Noah and his valiant Crew are locked in Mortal Combat with the DOOM HUNTERS, as they race towards each endangered species.  Thus, the Animal Rescue Command has become the Animal Rescue COMMANDOS, as they fight for the Survival of Animals Everywhere!
          Yes, this is the same X-Tinctor I used in "ANIMAX" years before, his wings exchanged for hunting gear, and horns replaced by antlers.  You just can't put a good bad-man down.  Chop-Top’s head was chomped off years ago.  Now, he travels the Universe, hunting for a replacement.  His motto is: If the head fits, wear it!
           More grizzly still, is Trap-Jaw.  Mauled by a Grizzly Bear, he’s out to wreak Revenge on Animals everywhere.  And Gutter-Snipe is a One-monster Killing Machine, with an itchy trigger tentacle.
            Although the DOOM HUNTERS are pure cold blooded Evil, they regard themselves as Sportsmen, and have adopted certain Rules and Regulations for playing and hunting the Most Dangerous Game.  Thus, they affect the Look and Style of African Big Game Hunters from Planet Earth at the beginning of the 20th Century.  And, even though, they have advanced technology at their disposal, they feel that it is more Sportsmanlike to hunt using primitive traditional weapons, like rifle, knife, and crossbow.
               So, how do you like the story so far?  Alas, that’s all there is!  It was never finished.  My partners felt there was enough there already to show it to Mattel.  They did, and Mattel loved it, especially the part about  pissed off animals.  They held it for a month and tested it.  End of story!  It turned out that hunting helpless animals amounts to touching the third rail of the Toy Town trolley!  Furthermore, the Hunters, themselves, were just "TOO SCARY," at least for 20 years ago.  We showed it to several other companies, and they all liked the drawings, so did I, for that matter, but they soon came to the same conclusion as Mattel. 

                Had there been any point in continuing, there would have been two additional drawings, so ambitious, they would have taken months to do.  I have often pictured them in my imagination.  I’ll try to paint them in words for you.

               The first, depicts the majestic control room or the STARSHIP A.R.C.  The layout is symmetrical; a gigantic panoramic window dominates the scene.  On a raised platform in the middle stands Captain Noah; his back is turned towards us, as he steers the huge ship forward.  He is surrounded by his crew.  We recognize their outlines silhouetted against the celestial light, pouring through the massive window.  All around us, hundreds of strange exotic friendly creatures fill the darkened chamber, standing together, two by two.  These are the Endangered Species, rescued from extinction from all corners of the Cosmos.  Like emigrants to Ellis Island, all eyes stare in awe and admiration, and tears of joy flow freely, as in the wide window before them, the sea-blue orb of NEW EDEN looms up in all its glory, flanked on either side by its two suns, one fiery red, and the other golden yellow.  Their multicolored light reveals the phantasmagorical contours of the grateful animals that crowd the room.  STARSHIP A.R.C. has come Home.

         The second illustration portrays the terrible Trophy Room of THE LODGE.   We view the scene from half way up, as though we are a trophy on the wall.  Below us the DOOM HUNTERS are relaxing in huge tufted leather chairs, conversing with each other and savoring cigars.  They sit before a monstrous fireplace fashioned from the gaping maw of some colossal beast.  A pack of horrible Hounds basks in the firelight, gnawing on bizarre bones of origin unknown.  Apart from the twinkling of distant stars that float in silence past the towering windows, the roaring fire provides the only source of illumination in the room.  It casts a warm and friendly glow, as if in mocking contrast to the unspeakable atrocities its cheerful light reveals

  As the HUNTERS weave their boastful tales of conquests past and present, tendrils of smoke swirl slowly and voluptuously in the air, forming strange grotesque shapes, suggestive of animals unknown.  A sudden smoke ring, launched from below, chases and nearly captures one of these elusive beasts.  But it escapes into the vaulted rafters high above, and dissolves into a puff of smoke. 

As our eyes adjust to the darkness, we look around the lofty chamber and discover that it is vast, and rustic in décor, like a hunting lodge in days of yore.  It would, in fact, seem quite inviting, if not for the hideous Trophy Heads that cover every square inch of the walls from floor to ceiling.  They represent the last of countless Extinct Species, and range in size, from Humongous to very small.  Some are Beautiful, beyond our wildest dreams; while others are Hideous, beyond our wildest Nightmares.  Most are so alien in appearance that they defy description.  A few are hauntingly familiar.  All bear a look of either Rage or Sadness.  In the flickering firelight, they seem to move, as if alive.

  Among this museum of Monstrosities, one area of wall space remains conspicuously empty.   A plaque hangs there with no head on it.    This is the place reserved for Man!