||A Story about Major Matt Mason
by Alan Dismukes
Here is my MMM story:
About 2 years ago I was poking
around in an antique mall in Birmingham, Alabama, and found an unopened MMM
Flight Set for $50. As I looked it over a flood of memories came back to me
about what had to have been my favorite toy. I didn't have $50 on me, and
I knew my wife would think I was crazy if I bought it, so I left. But the
psychological damage was done. A week or two later I returned intending to
buy it, but... "You snooze, you lose!" Needless to say someone had already
snatched this gem up. About 6 months later I got a computer, and since it
was December I started feeling nostalgic for childhood Christmases and naturally
memories of MMM came to mind. I did a search for Major Matt Mason and found
those wonderful MMM websites (Thanks, guys!).
My first encounter with the
good Major was Christmas 1967. We were at my grandmother's for Christmas and
Santa brought me the Flight Set and a Space Crawler. I can still remember
exploring the lunar surface (Gran's living room carpet) with the Major. Over
the next few years my collection grew with the addition of the AstroTrac,
Sgt. Storm Flight Set, Space Station, Reconojet, Moonsuit, Satellite Locker,
Space Shelter Pak, Big Little Book, Space Exploration Game, Callisto, UniTred
& Space Bubble, Gama Ray Gard, Power Suit, Doug Davis, Jeff Long, Glider,
Scorpio, and Star Seeker. I loved the TV commercials which were written like
they were a newscast of actual exploration of the moon! I can still remember
the commercial which introduced the mysterious Callisto!
My buddy and I would spend
the night at each other's house and bring over ALL our MMM stuff. We would
set everything up, turn out the lights, activate the Station beacon, and provide
supplemental lighting with flashlights filtered with blue cellophane. The
blue glow on bedsheets spread on the floor made a great moonscape. A flashlight
shining through the back of the Space Shelter Pak also made a great effect.
I remember one adventure
when Callisto infiltrated the Space Station, and through some fiendish alien
techology swapped heads with Matt and the guys! During the day we would go
on long exploratory expeditions in the backyard with the UniTred and Space
Bubble. They had to be long expeditions; since the UniTred couldn't steer
you had to circumnavigate the globe to get back home! I remember underwater
exploration on the fishpond planet which was inhabited by giant goldfish!
I remember the Christmas
I got the UniTred and Space Bubble. I had been throwing up all night long
Christmas Eve but still summoned the energy to drag myself to the Christmas
Tree to play with my new MMM vehicles.
Sears was the MMM Mecca. To
this day I can't hear Three Dog Night sing "Mama Told Me Not To Come" without
being transported back to the back of my mom's '67 Buick LeSabre en route
to Sears to buy another MMM accessory (the song was playing on the radio as
we pulled into the parking lot.). We went inside, and I had to choose what
to get. Would it be the Power Limbs, or the Power Suit? It was the Power Suit!
It was back to Gran's for another Christmas when I got the Glider. It had
the disturbing tendency to activate the ejection seat upon impact with the
My last MMM toy was the Star
Seeker. That toy was pretty lame with its cardboard cutout solar system. Without
a doubt, the Space Station was the best toy (excluding the figures, of course)
ever made. Can you imagine if it were produced today with 1990s technology:
displays lit by fiber optics, computer chips, etc.?
After Mattel introduced Doug
Davis and Jeff Long to the MMM product line, some time passed and I thought
it was time for them to bring out a new astronaut. So I took pencil and paper
in hand and wrote what must have been my first ever correspondence. I wrote
to Mattel suggesting that they bring out a new astronaut buddy for Major Matt.
I suggested a name (which I have long ago forgotten) and recommended that
his spacesuit color be GREEN. I eventually received a reply from Mattel thanking
me for my input, but informing me that they had no plans to introduce another
astronaut at that time. They indicated that they had received several letters
like mine with similar suggestions. I saved that letter from Mattel for several
years, but it is now long gone. IF ONLY THEY HAD LISTENED TO US KIDS, the
MMM product line would rule today, instead of Barbie!
Out of all that stuff, the
only thing to survive the toy purge of teenager-dom was a Matt figure. He
was filthy, his head had been chewed by the cat, his suit had turned a greenish
brown, and his helmet was gone. But he has cleaned up pretty nicely, and I
got him a repro helmet (But the visor has fogged over pretty bad; anybody
else have this problem with repro visors?)
Thanks to Mark Stuart, I
now have a mint Major Matt figure in my so-called collection. Due to a tight
budget, I am more of a fan and enthusiast than a collector, but I do hope
to add a few items a piece at a time!
Well, I hope you have enjoyed
reading my ramblings as much as I have enjoyed remembering and writing them!
GOD, I WISH I HADN'T PASSED
UP THAT $50 FLIGHT SET!!!!!!!!!!!
|Alan is a member of the Major Matt Mason e-mail group and regularly contributes to discussions about toys. He may be e-mailed here.
Find out about joining either of the Major Matt Mason e-mail groups here.
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