Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Collectible of the week: Major Matt Mason Satellite Locker (Mattel; 1968)

Of all the great “space” toy lines out there, the one I wish I owned more collectibles from is Major Matt Mason, Mattel’s “Man in Space.” 

I have a real obsession with mid-to-late 1960s futurism (or what I now call 1960s “retro-futurism”).  This was the age of the Apollo missions and everyone just knew that we were going to have bases on the moon, Mars, and so forth, in the near future.  We had not yet experienced our revolution in miniaturization, so all the tech of this age was bulky, over-sized stuff: wall-sized computers with reel-to-reel tapes, and so on. 

And even today, I love that look.  This is one reason I enjoy returning to the black-and-white first year of Lost in Space (1965) from time-to-time.  I love the look of the Chariot, the computers, and the Jupiter 2.

Anyway, I missed the Matt Mason toy craze by a few years, but came across it -- unknowingly at the time -- in kindergarten in 1975.  

That was also the year Space: 1999 first aired, and I was thrilled to discover several Matt Mason toys (including a moon sled and astronaut) in a toy bin in my classroom.  They certainly looked like toys from Space: 1999, but were actually from Matt Mason’s toy line.

A vast and incredibly impressive and diverse line of Matt Mason toys were released in the late sixties, including a multi-level space station, rocket packs, and much more.  The only toy I still have in my collection at this juncture is the Major Matt Mason “Satellite Locker,” a kind of glorified accessory case. 

It’s a cool if utilitarian toy, with a flip-open top, and a clear vinyl window so you can see what you’re storing in one compartment.  You may notice in my photographs that I have my Matt Mason (complete with space helmet) stored behind the vinyl.

Now, if I only had a few hundred dollars to spend beefing up my Matt Mason collection.  I read the other day that Tom Hanks has been planning a Major Matt Mason movie for some time, and this indeed gives me hope that a new line of “retro” toys might come out at affordable prices.  We’ll see...


  1. I loved Major Matt Mason as a kid! Unfortunately, I was very careless with my toys back then. I think I had four MMM figures and lost them all. I distinctly remember holding one while sitting in a shopping cart and dropping it. For some reason, I didn't cry out for my mom to pick it up. I just watched it disappear in the distance as my mom pushed the cart down the aisle.

    1. Hi Neal,

      Matt Mason is an incredible toy line, and I gaze longingly at it on E-Bay. I'd love to get my hands on that space station and a few other treats. Your memory sounds more like a Halloween nightmare: losing a favorite toy. I wonder if some lucky kid came along after you and picked up that action figure...


  2. When I was a kid I remember visiting a cousin in Oklahoma who had Matt Mason toys all over his room. I was so jealous! It was the coolest set of toys I had ever seen, but I never saw them again until the Internet came along.