Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Black Hole “Assortment of Fun” (Western Publishing Company, Inc; 1979)

The year 1979 was one of my favorites in childhood, no doubt because it saw the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Alien, Moonraker, and last but not least, Disney’s The Black Hole.  I collected toys, magazines, model-kits, comic-books, novelizations and more from each of those productions.

But as a fourth grader, I really, really loved The Black Hole.  

This boxed set from Western Publishing Company, Inc., includes many activity books and paper toys based on the film including a “Little Golden Book,” “A Golden Poster Storybook,” A Golden Book of Things to Do,” “A Press-Out Book,” “A Coloring  Book,” “Crayons” and “2 Robot Puppets.” 

The two robot puppets, as you might surmise, are V.I.N.Cent and Maximillian  And the press-out book allows the intrepid kid to build paper versions of the Cygnus and the Palomino.

The back of the box describes the set as “an astronomical assortment of fun that’s out of this world,” and to a ten-year old kid, that’s precisely what it was.  

I remember that my (now-deceased) grandfather bought me this box set at a five-and-dime at the Jersey shore in the summer of 1980, and that during the whole week at the beach, I wanted to stay inside the rental and play with the Black Hole ships and robots.  My parents had to force me to actually go to the ocean.

I know…I’m a geek.  But one of my favorite parts of this toy is a paper backdrop of the Cygnus bridge, and small cut-outs of all the major characters, from Captain Holland and to Commander Reinhardt.

To this day, I remember that beach trip because of this very toy set, my grandfather's gift, and the time I spent imagining further adventures and sequels to The Black Hole.


  1. Anonymous9:54 AM

    When I was in elementary school, our library had a book of _The Black Hole_. I guess it was a novelization (as it was a fairly long version of the story), but it was in a large hardcover with many illustrations. I mainly remember that I was not allowed to check it out in first grade (I guess they thought it too long for me to finish in the week they would give us to complete a book), so I checked it out for my book report the next year in second grade. I honestly did not get to see the film for several years, but that reading more than satisfied my curiosity, including making me quite a fan of the film even without watching it. I did watch it a few years ago, and I liked it, particularly as a sort of companion to _Forbidden Planet_ as depictions of a genius descending into madness/his own mind, and I was impressed how much my memory of the book did match the film (though I might remember the book more fondly than the viewing itself quite panned out).

  2. James McLean11:57 AM

    Did you ever see the short lived comic John, with the Beyond the Black Hole continuation? Would love to see that and the comic adaptation released (if it hasn't been already, which I'm sure it hasn't).