You might be wondering why I'm choosing classic toys from the 1960's as some of my "coolest toys ever" picks, especially since I wasn't even born until 1978. I've always had a fascination with toys because I grew up around them. I know more than I should, but some of these toys from the 60's are just too awesome not to mention! I talked about the orignal 1964 G.I. Joes earlier this week, and I thought I would follow that up with another great Toy line that's extremely awesome. The 1966 sci-fi line of Major Matt Mason toys.
Major Matt Mason was an astronaut who lived and worked on the moon. When introduced, the figures were initially based on design information found in magazines such as Life, Air Force, Jane's, and other aviation- and space-interest periodicals. Later, the line would attempt to transition into the realm of science fiction.
I love the retro designs of these toys and there were some pretty incredible elaborate play sets like a full on moon base, and vehicles. The toy system included four astronaut action figures. Mason had a dark brown crew cut and a white suit; Sgt. Storm had blond hair and a red suit; civilian astronaut Doug Davis had a yellow suit and brown hair; Lt. Jeff Long was African-American, with a blue suit (a decade before Guion Bluford became the first American black man to orbit the Earth). The primary alien of the sci-fi period, Captain Lazer, was a giant who towered over the astronauts. The character was originally depicted as a mysterious and possibly hostile entity, but later appeared to be the astronauts' ally against other, more hostile extraterrestrials. The figure had glowing red eyes, a glowing breastplate, and a permanently attached laser pistol in his hand.
Also in the toy-line were a three-story "space station" (actually a moon base), various lunar surface and flying vehicles, mostly battery powered; and various accessories, variously powered by springs, pneumatics, strings, or batteries. What made the early run of the accessories appealing was that the designs were based directly on concepts promoted and demonstrated by NASA and the various contractors involved in America's "Race to the Moon" in the 1960s. The "Moon Suit" and the "Space Station", as well as the "Jet Pack" were actually seen as concept drawings from the magazines mentioned above. The laser weapons were copied from designs of science fiction shows of the time.
I think it would have been great to grow up playing with these kinds of toys. Like the G.I. Joe action figures, Matt Mason is full of awesome designs and great little details.
Tom Hanks is involved with the development of a Major Matt Mason film project that I would love to see happen.
We have a retro commercial and a few images from for Major Matt Mason below.