The decals were designed by California-born Harry Bradley, who created 11 of the 16 molds for the first line of Hot Wheels.
File under: best place ever to keep your dice bag and minis.
Documenting the 8-bit era and the origins of geek
The original model (seen below) was released by Aurora in 1968 and has a long history that you can read here. The Invaders is an influential sci-fi TV show about an alien invasion and one man’s attempt to stop it (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Fugitive).
Look at that model kit: it’s a Volkswagen Vanagon! I went all the way to Yosemite in one of those bastards with nothing but Mattel’s Baseball and a few comic books to keep me company.
The ad is from Toy & Hobby World magazine, August, 1982. The text on the lower right of the kit says “Insta-Win Video Game Inside”.
Joseph Dickerson has good taste. Everyone knows by now how much I love the Micronauts line (Ken Kelly box art on the Hornetroid), and that’s The Hulk Rage Cage (Fun Stuff, 1978) in the background of the first shot.
Starcruiser was a series proposed in the late 1970s by Gerry Anderson about “an ultra-modern house where a mother, father, and two kids lived. At the touch of a button the house would literally fold into a spaceship. The family would travel around the universe from planet to planet… ” (See here for source and more background.) The series never made it to the air, obviously, but a comic strip of the same name appeared in UK’s Look-In magazine from 1977 to 1979. The writer and author of the strip was David Jefferis, who was working on Usborne’s World of the Unknown and World of the Future series at the same time. (My interview with Mr. Jefferis will run next month.) Airfix’s gorgeous model (1979) was based on the strip.
Sounds of Outer Space is a cardboard record that came with a rocket model resembling the image on the record. I’d love to find out more about the model, but no luck yet. The recording is very weird, with a narrator speaking poetry over futuristic sound effects. I do love the line, “To be afraid and not care that you are afraid is the courage of which astronauts are made.”
The little information I have came from Nightcoaster and The Internet Museum of Flexi/Cardboard/Oddity Records. The video is via homersoddishe/YouTube.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Gordon Peterson, who identified the spaceship model as AMT’s Leif Ericson Galactic Cruiser.
The photo is from Frank Henriquez, who provides a complete history of the model and record on his website. The ship was designed by Matt Jefferies, who designed the original Enterprise for Star Trek. It went through several versions and releases, including a U.F.O. Mystery Ship that glowed in the dark. As for Sounds of Outer Space,
David Penn and Scott Snell did an amazing job of identifying both the source of the music and the spoken words in the record. The lyrics are from a 1967 psychedelic rock record called “Cosmic Sounds” by The Zodiac. The music was originally used in “The Twilight Zone” and was released in “The Twilight Zone: 40th Anniversary Collection” set.
I’m listening to Cosmic Sounds right now. Like, it’s out there, man.
I’m excessively fond of The Black Hole (1979). No, it wasn’t Star Wars, but it was a clever riff on Verne’s classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and the story literally revolves around the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe. The sets and the visuals are amazing, the good guys and robots likable (if corny), and the bad robot awesomely sinister. The merchandise campaign was massive, and I’ll catalog as much of it as I can in multiple posts.
The action figures were well done, but, because this was a Disney movie, guns were included only with the Robot Sentry and S.T.A.R. figures. How did they expect the good guys to win in a firefight?
There were also these creepy 12″ dolls, which I never quite understood.
The models, still much sought after, will cost you more than anything else in the line. What to do if I had to choose between the Cygnus and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea‘s Seaview?
There was also a Fisher-Price Movie Viewer (see it via Toys You Had) and a slew of unreleased toys that you can check out at bugeyedmonster. And let’s not forget the commercials, courtesy of Megomuseum’s brilliant YouTube Channel.