Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday Retro-Toy Flashback # 2: The Lunch Box!

Well, it’s time to highlight my retro-toy of the week. This time out, my focus is...the TV/movie tie-in lunch box. Pictured left is the lunch box from the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson TV classic series, UFO, which starred Ed Bishop, Michael Billington and Wanda Ventham. The box illustration depicts S.H.A.D.O.’s Sky One flying over the moon’s craggy surface, a UFO whizzing by on the left; and Moonbase down on the lunar plain.

Once upon a time - back in the 1970s and early 1980s - every primary school kid carried metal lunch boxes, and it was a sign of utter coolness if you had a really neat one. A lot of my friends had the Star Wars lunch box (which displayed a dogfight between an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter on one side), but - ever the contrarian - I owned a Battlestar Galactica lunch box, which featured Boxey and his daggit (Muffey) fleeing from the Cylons on one side; the rag-tag fleet on the other. Another popular one of the day was the Superman: The Movie (1978) lunch box, a red box dramatizing scenes from the Christopher Reeve movie, including baby Kal-El's arrival on Earth and lifting of a 1930s-style truck to save Pa Kent.

Today, I display several movie-TV tie-in lunch boxes in my office collection, including: Planet of the Apes (TV series; 1974), Space:1999 (1975), the UFO one you see here (1973), The Last Starfighter (1983) and even one from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). I make a point to collect ‘em whenever I can - and flea markets are often ideal - but I wonder why TV-and-movie lunch boxes don’t have the aura of popularity they did when I was a kid.

Which ones did you have? And do you still have 'em?


  1. I'm a Transformers fan, so I have several Transformers lunchboxes in my collection, usually featuring box art from the different toy waves, and one from the movie. I also have a Gobots lunchbox, that the TF lunchboxes make fun of...

  2. I remember Transformers and Gobots well. In fact, somewhere around here I have a Transformers board game from the 1980s...The lunch box I'd REALLY like to get my hands on is the Star Trek one from the 1960s, with the dome-top and Kirk carrying a phaser rifle.