Zerak, the original Commander
Zerak, the blue robot, was originally the “commander” of the three robots.
The Zeroids were a line of toy robots from the Planet Zero, introduced by the Ideal Toy Company in 1967. The original three robots were Zerak, Zintar and Zobor.
The ads boasted, “Moving across the landscape, overrunning all obstacles as inexorably as the Future itself, these amazing, efficient and powerful automatons have but one purpose – to serve their masters at work and play!”
Major Matt Mason was an action figure created by Mattel, an astronaut who lived and worked on the moon. When introduced in 1966, the figures were initially based on design information found in Life Magazine, Air Force Magazine, Jane’s, and other aviation- and space-interest periodicals. Later, the line would attempt to transition into the realm of science fiction.
Front cover of a 1973 Blue Chip Stamps catalog.
There was a catalog lying on coffee tables throughout America back in the 1970s. Children around the country would pick up the catalog and browse through the toy section. Imaginations ran wild with thoughts of, “If I had a million dollars…” “For Christmas…” “I’m getting this for my birthday…” “I want…” and “Can I have…” The Blue Chip Stamp catalog was used to redeem the popular trading stamps for TOYS (if you were a kid) and lots of other stuff if you were an adult.
Released in 1975, the rugged Steve Austin Six Million Dollar Man Action Figure
stands a tall 13”. Recommended for ages 5 and up, this boss, Fully Articulated action figure comes dressed in a red NASA-style jumpsuit and red sneakers. Make his powerful Bionic arm lift the huge engine block (included with the figure). Look through the back of his head – you’ll see the wide angle lens in his powerful Bionic left Eye. Exchange Bionic Arm Modules – Roll back the skin to reveal the modules that can be removed for Bionic surgery.
by Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein, Borden, Frito-Lay
Click HERE to watch Jack Gilford in a classic TV ad.
Cracker Jack Prize, front view.
In 1964, Borden purchased The Cracker Jack Company from Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein. At that time, Frito-Lay lost the bidding war to Borden.However, Borden finally sold the Cracker Jack brand to Frito-Lay in 1997. Since 1912 when it was still owned by Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein, The Cracker Jack Company put prizes into every box of Cracker Jack. The prizes were low quality, garnering a much-deserved status as cheap. References to the value of the prizes, “…it came in a Cracker Jack box,”
is a long-standing testament to their quality.
One of the coolest sets of action figures to hit toy stores in the 1960s was Colorform’s Outer Space Men. This badass set of extraterrestrial beings was designed by toy inventor Mel Birnkrant and produced in 1968. Interestingly, these figures were also known as the Colorform Aliens, a label not afforded them by Mr. Birnkrant. The name “Aliens” developed because not many people had seen them in their “Outer Space Men” packaging.
Click image to play video.
From American Character, these action figures are based on Bonanza, an American western television series that aired on NBC from September 12, 1959 to January 16, 1973. The show ran for 14 seasons and 431 episodes. Bonanza is second only to Gunsmoke, as the longest running western television series. Still in syndication, it stars Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon and David Canary.
Mattel released these action figures in 1988 and 1989. They subsequently experienced an unfortunate drawn-out life lasting into the early ’90s. I know a couple of kids who actually liked these strange, hollow-rubber monstrosities. One of them went on vacation and never returned from a Princess Cruise. The other guy still plays with Food Fighters in his mom’s basement while listening non-stop to Pablo Cruise.