Wednesday, 26 July 2017

THE COUNT OF MONTE CALLISTO...



I think I got my first CALLISTO for Christmas '68 or '69.
Can't quite recall whether I got him before Sgt. STORM, who,
along with DOUG DAVIS, JEFF JONES, and the over-sized
Captain LAZER, were all part of Major MATT MASON's
band of astronaut buddies.  And for a while in my childhood,
some of them were my buddies as well.  Any memories of
any of these toys, Criv-ites?  Let's hear from you.

(No, I haven't forgotten SCORPIO, but I'm not sure
whether he was friend or foe.  Too lazy to  look it up.)

12 comments:

TC said...

Collectors are probably paying and arm and a leg for them, if they can find them in good condition. But that is easier said than done. The wire armature broke easily, and the paint wore off easily.

The original comcept, IIRC, was fairly realistic, with the equipment based on actual designs being used (or tested) by NASA and the Air Force. Later, Mattel jazzed it up with the aliens.

AFAIR, Sgt. Storm was the first figure to be added after Mason. I don't recall in what order the rest of them came, although I am pretty sure that Scorpio was the last. I believe Doug Davis and Lt. Jeff Long were brought out at the same time as each other.

Scorpio was a good guy and an ally. There was a brief origin story on the back of his package about how he followed a radio signal to Earth' s moon and met Major Mason.

I don't remember if the Matt Mason line included any villain action figures. But, looking at toy collectors' web sites now, it appears that there were a lot of accessories that I did not know about at the time.

The Captain Lazer figure was about a foot tall and jointed plastic, like GI Joe, Johnny West, or Captain Action), instead of a 6" rubber figure with a wire skeleton like the astronauts and the other aliens. I have heard that Lazer was originally created by a Japanese company and was unrelated to the Major Matt Mason line, and then Mattel bought the rights and added it to the MMM set. I'm not certain, though.

Kid said...

I think that Captain Lazer was originally meant to be a baddie (or at least ambiguous in his intent), TC, but was soon changed to be an ally. I had Sgt. Storm and Callisto (bought at different times), and I think I had Doug Davis as well. I later got a 2nd-hand Mayor Matt Mason from a pal, but I think I had to swap a Corgi yellow submarine, as well as my Callisto figure, to persuade him. How fickle we are as kids when it comes to our toys, eh?

Phil S said...

The colorforms aliens were never stated to be good guys or bad guys. They were just aliens. So you could decide for yourself. I definitely had Matt Mason. I recall having one if the aliens but don't remember which one. Since they broke so easily it didn't stay around long.

Kid said...

Yeah, it wasn't long before Matt and his pals were just rubbery figures, with bare patches on the paint. I wonder if they'd be able to get around the paint and wire problems today, PS.

Dougie said...

I had a Matt Mason in his shell-like space suit and a Callisto. I think they were Xmas presents in 1968 and 1969. Their rubber arms broke or perished fairly quite quickly. I also had a Captain Lazer; he survived into the mid-70s (although leaking batteries reduced his sound effects to a faint judder.)


You'll know of course about the DC Matt Mason comic by Denny O'Neil and Murphy Anderson? It appears in altered form in From Beyond the Unknown #7. Captain Lazer is redesigned radically as Captain Quasar.

Kid said...

I've now got 3 Mat Masons (2 different head sizes), 3 Callistos, and one each of Storm and Davis (plus various bits of equipment) - more than I had as a kid. Nice little toys - if you don't play with them.

If I ever knew about the DC comic, Dougie, I'd forgotten. It sounds vaguely familiar now that you've mentioned it though.

TC said...

I didn't know about the DC comic. There was also a Big Little Book published by Whitman in the late 1960's.

Kid said...

(Oops, that should be double 't' in Matt in my previous response - typing without my glasses on again.) I wonder if that could be the one that sounds vaguely familiar to me, TC? I'll have to see if I can find them on the Internet.

Phil S said...

They made some new color forms using regular action figure plastic arms and legs, I have a few and they are gorgeous to just look at. http://outerspacemennews.blogspot.com

Kid said...

Yeah, they look good, PS.

Kenn said...

My brother and I had them! The Space Sleds I recall were pretty cool. Could use them now in RL! But, yeah, they were not sturdy enough. A lot of limp arms and legs after the wiring went. I think we decided to blame the lost mobility on a space disease ala Andromeda Strain, which our parents took us to see. The aliens were a great line to mix in with the Earthers. We had quite a few after awhile.

Kid said...

I always felt that the Matt Mason toys held out the promise of endless hours of playtime possibilities, K - then failed to deliver past a few hours or days after purchase. The paint rubbed off in hours, the wire broke within days, but looking back, they're still fondly remembered. I'm sure technology would be able to bypass those design shortcomings today, so it would be great to see them reissued in a superior, non-wear, non-breakable form today. Or is it just me that thinks that way?

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