Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Found on eBay!

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Today's post starts out with this interesting mix of Bendys, Jigglers... and hey, isn't that a Mattel Battlstar Galactica alien there, too?

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I had one of these Mattel Strange Change toys myself when I was a kid. You'd get these plastic pieces, about the size of a Starburst Fruit Chew, and when you put them in the Strange Changer, it would heat up and the cube would unfold and expand into a little plastic toy! When you were done playing, put it back in, warm it up, and then put it in the compressor to return it to the original cube shape!

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Mattel's Thingmaker was even cooler than the Strange Change toy... I'm sure you're aware of what it is, but just in case: You made your own toys with it. You'd get the Thingmaker itself, and put one of the molds (shown above) into it, add the goop in the colors you wanted where you wanted it, and basically bake the goop until it's a hard plastic.

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OK, going way off in a different direction... here's the Ben Cooper Mighty Mouse costume! And isn't it really, really wrong on so many levels? I mean, okay, it has a picture of MM on the chest, but that's pretty standard for Ben Cooper costumes... but what's with that polka-dotted thing near the collar? Is that supposed to suggest the cape?

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Mighty Mouse licensing seems to be pretty lame, so far as I can tell... does this book even look like it should be a Mighty Mouse story, or was it a rewrite of some other book with a generic lead?

OK, let's go from MM to MMM - i.e., Major Matt Mason!

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Yes, Mattel had some of the coolest toys of the 1960s and 1970s (well, aside from Hasbro's GI Joe, Ideal's Motorific, Zeroids and Captain Action, and Kenner's Give-A-Show Projector and related toys, anyway). I've written before how fond I am of Major Matt Mason, and the Astrotrac shown above is one of the several vehicles available for him. It's very cool, eh?

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If you've only seen loose MMM figures at toy shows and the like, here's a rare treat: Major Matt Mason on the card! Honestly, I'd completely forgotten he came with that space scooter thing.

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The Command Console (see above and below, opened) is probably one of the rarest of MMM items... while I collected pix of this toy line, I think this was one of two that I saw offered during the entire time!

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It's a very cool toy... a combination carrying/storage case and playset in one! Plus, you see that ring? That's the talking part... pull the string to hear the phrases.

Kind of makes you wonder what kind of figures and accessories there could've been if Mattel had the Star Trek license in the 1960s for an action figure line, hmmm?

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Mattel should be commended for including Major Matt Mason's friend, Jeff Long, in this toy line... had Hasbro done an African-American GI Joe by this point? I'm not sure.

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I had no idea that there were any MMM items outside of the action figure line... this mask seems to indicate there was a MMM costume offered!

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Major Matt Mason was even offered in variations... compare this pic to the first one in this post, and see if you can spot the differences! But even if it hadn't been different, I would've grabbed this pic to show what the back of the card looked like!

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Here's a nice assortment of MMM stuff... well, not all of it is MMM stuff (those space shuttles are a giveaway)...

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I think it's very cool that the Major Matt Mason press-out book used a photo of the toys for the cover, don't you?

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Here's a Major Matt Mason puzzle, too! And that'll wrap up this installment... more Major Matt Mason stuff next time!

Jon

3 comments:

  1. Major Matt Mason is one of my favorite topics, and you've got some great photos I've never seen before. Looking forward to the next installment too!

    Hasbro did a brown-skinned G.I. Joe in 1965, three or four years before Mattel released Jeff Long. This was just a regular Caucasian G.I. Joe painted a darker shade, and I think the box actually said "Negro Soldier" which meant it wasn't distributed in the South. By contrast Jeff Long's race was never mentioned in the packaging -- he was simply another of the Major's "space buddies" -- which was a real step forward to my way of thinking.

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  2. Glad you're enjoying the pictures, RAB... and I agree with you 100% about Jeff's ethnicity not being mentioned on the package!

    Jon

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  3. My recollection from being a kid in south Alabama at the time is that the black GI Joe was carried in department stores in our oh-very-racist area. Though it's possible I saw it in the Sears Wishbook and that's distorting my memories. But I'm relatively sure I saw it in stores.

    The head was indeed just a recolored version of the original head. But by the 70s Adventure Team line, they'd done a new mold for the African American version. And while (and I love the Adventure Team) the "Life-like hair" made all his white teammates look like a bunch of hillbillies, it gave the black guy a stylin' Afro that still looks cool today.

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