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The Quest For Voice
or Enabling Your Talking Console To Command

Major Matt fan Dan Nicewander gives us his take on repairing the Console - you the Man, Dan!

You're walking through the used toyshop when you spot it. From a distance you're not 100 percent sure, but if your guess is correct, it's a mint condition, fully functional, Major Matt Mason Talking Command Console! You quickly look around to ensure no one sees the sweat building up on your forehead, giving away your excitement and limiting your bargaining power.

Picking up the rectangular blue box you quickly scan the exterior noting that it appears to actually be in pretty nice shape. No broken corners. No major scratches. Handle and latch are in good shape. The window is clear. You note the price; it's ridiculously low for a sample this well preserved - clearly the person doesn't know what they have.

You open it up to examine the interior. No melt marks. Both chairs are intact. Pull ring is attached. Stickers are all there except one. Replacement stickers can be found, not too bad if that's all it needs.

You unlatch the forward console and look inside. Great! The missing sticker has simply come off and someone put it inside so it wouldn't get lost. No light bulbs, but there's no corrosion and the switch and wiring look good. It should be a simple effort to replace the bulbs.

You hold your breath, look around to make sure no one will hear, and pull the string back waiting a moment to think back on the day - have you been a good boy? Will Matt bark out the commands? Your mind races wild. Will it be a command you hear quite frequently or maybe one that you haven't heard before? Your palms are sweaty. It has to work. It just HAS to work!

You let go of the string, hoping it's as you've imagined. It has to be right? To your absolute dismay, the string snaps back into its resting place without making any sound what so ever. This can't be. It's too nice to not work! You pull it again, guessing it's just a quirk. Again, no sound at all! The Talking Command Console is MUTE!

Oh well, it's not a bad display item and someday you'll figure out how to repair it. You dicker the clerk down a few percent and walk away happy, but not elated like you were hoping. You get home, put the box on the shelf where Major Matt and Sergeant Storm sit patiently waiting for the incoming commands, but they never come. It's like a ghost ship.

The above story is true. My daughters Amy and Holly and I were on a trip to California this spring and found a really nice TCC at an antique toyshop one day. I bought it, justifying the purchase because 1) I didn't have one 2) I knew I could find out how to repair it and 3) It was just too good of deal to pass up.

How many of us have bought that "mute" Major Matt toy with the hope of someday being able to free the voices of old so that they once again would bark out the commands from our youth? How many simply pass on them, knowing you'll never have the time or ability to make them function?

In searching for background information on repairing the TCC I found that there was a lot of advice and hints (thanks goes to John Eaton, Joe "the moon suit arm guy", Dan McGinnis, and Bill Ystrom), but no published step-by-step instructions with pictures on how to go about the job. To me this would have been a great help.

As the 4th of July holiday came around this summer, I knew that I could spend no better time celebrating our Nation's freedom than by helping our best astronauts get the commands they need to fulfill their mission. Along the way I figured I'd take notes and pictures to help others who were thinking of taking this bold step as well. I'm sure that there are more correct terms to use for some of the parts, but I wanted the average person to understand what I was talking about. I hope they help!

All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 1997-2018 John Eaton, Dan Nicewander and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton, by clicking here or Dan Nicewander by clicking here.

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