Friday, September 11, 2015

Breakaway Day 2015: The Space:1999 Flying Eagle (Vertibird)

The year 1976 brought a number of great toys related to the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson outer space series, Space: 1999 (1975 - 1977).  One of the rarest and most valuable of such toys is the Space:1999 Flying Eagle or "VertiBird."'

Like many VertiBird toys (and there were also editions for Battlestar Galactica [1978], and -- apparently -- Megaforce [1982]), the Flying Eagle toy consists of a central column and a small control panel that controls speed and altitude.  Hanging from the top of the central column is a long arm which holds up a craft, in this case an Eagle (with a propeller on the dorsal spine).  By adjusting the controls, you could fly your Eagle Transporter in a circle, take-off, and land.

On the box, the legend reads: "Space Age flying fun indoors and out."  And the advertisements promised a "compact operational version of TV's Space:1999 vehicle...You pilot tight maneuvers, sky-lift a moon buggy," etc.

The Space:1999 Flying Eagle came with a light mast, capsule, moon buggy, plus labels.  I had the toy and I can also attest that it came with a Kaldorian space ship from the episode "Earthbound" (guest-starring Christopher Lee).  The Light mast is a show-accurate representation of a lighting tower seen inside Moonbase Alpha's Eagle hanger.  You can see the photos of my Flying Eagle accouterments below.

Alas, these are that I still have left of the toy.  

The central column and Eagle itself are long gone.  As a child of about ten, I think, I attempted to do surgery on the Eagle Transporter by removing it from the arm, and breaking off the propeller.  I wanted it to look more accurate, I guess, as a spaceship.  As you might guess, the operation was not a success.  Today, the Flying Eagle buggy and Kaldorian ship dock at my Cardboard Amsco Moonbase Alpha Play Set.

Similarly, I also distinctly remember getting for one Christmas a Star Trek-styled VertiBird knock-off.  In this case, it was called "CSF" or Controlled Space Flight (from Remco).  There, you could control the flight of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and the unsightly propeller was lodged in the underside of the saucer section.

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