|Billed as Major Matt Mason's friend from Jupiter, Callisto represents the toy line's first departure from science-based conjecture, to science fiction-based whimsey. Callisto has a translucent/transparent green head with distinct white veining and heavily painted eyes. His body has a traditional humanoid shape, but the arms and legs are very thin and flexible, without the traditional elbow joint. For some reason, he does not need a helmet to survive the cold and lack of atmosphere in space. Callisto was packaged with a "Space Sensor" which attached to a "Power Pak" that slipped over the collar. More information about Callisto may be found in the Astronauts and Aliens portion of the website.
Originally found on this teal-background (or "green" as it is commonly referred) card, Callisto's packaging changed to an Orange-background card at some point, perhaps to provide more contrast to his green skin and make him more noticeable on the toy peg. There is also a white-carded variation listed below. Both teal and orange cards feature photos of an original Callisto prototype (see Card Detail 1 and 2 below).
The Card is full-color, process-printed and is 8 5/16" x 8 5/16" Copyright is 1968. The card reads: "Major Matt Mason's friend from Jupiter...The mysterious alien with advanced mental powers!"
Mattel #6331-0920 Callisto (found in playsets)
Mattel Catalog Specifications:
(First appearance: Mattel Toys Fall 1969 Spring Catalog Page 52)
Mysterious astronaut from Jupiter! Amazing alien joins Major MATT MASON's adventure-seeking space explorers. Transparent skull reveals highly-developed humanoid brain endowed with superior mental powers. Removable shoulder-mounted Space Sensor releases retractable Sensor Line for sampling unknown space matter. Flexible 6" figure. Hole-punch blister card: 8 5/16" x 8 5/16"
Std. Pack: 1 Doz.
Wt: 4 ½ Lbs.
Callisto's may be found in multiple variations, within several card variations and boxed playsets. I've listed most of the card variations above. He may also be found in:
Teal Card vs Orange Card - Which was first?
There has been a lot of discussion as to which Card Background and Boot combination came out first. The concensus is that the Tall boot, Teal card was the original. This is supported by the small sticker that is applied to the backs of Orange cards, giving patent and copyright information. However, I have in my possession a Teal card with a Short booted figure. I personally think that the Short Booted figure was created shortly after the Tall booted one, and that they shared the toy shelves together, much like the Small head/Large head Major Matt Masons that were out together. I think that the molds reflect a change in product, but that the original Tall Booted figure mold was never decommissioned.
I fondly remember the first Callisto I saw as a child. I had two brothers as friends that lived at the corner house of our Neighborhood. One brother was a year older than me, while the other was a year younger. Because they were so similiar in age, they would both frequently receive the same presents for Christmas, to prevent jealousy I guess. Right around 1970 I went to their house right after Christmas to see what toys they received (their parents had a little more money than my own, so they always got cool toys that we couldn't afford).
That Christmas they both had a Callisto... boy was I impressed! I loved the line-spitting sensor and simply loved the figure. I begged my parents to take me to the same on base store that had them in stock. Of course they were all sold out, so I never got one. I don't remember them lasting too long in the possession of my friends, either. They were even rougher on toys than I was.
The best Callisto story I've ever heard was related by Mike Ferguson, who also sent me a tape from a radio talk show about the event. It seems the loss of his Callisto was pretty shattering... luckily he finally got his back!
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