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 To the Major Matt Mason Page A Story about Major Matt Mason
by Paul Vreede
Paul's MMM experience.

My younger brother 'Pip' and myself received MMM and Sergeant Storm respectively, and we' re pretty sure our Dad (the best father in the world!) brought them back from a business trip to the States. There definitely weren't any 'dolls for boys' available in Holland at the time, so these were quite a novelty to behold. Also, we'd seen the Apollo flights on TV and look: these were *space* toys! And real astronauts too, not some tin & plastic japanese contraption that could only bump into the furniture.

I can remember being pretty impressed by them: the attractive way they were packaged, all neatly laid out on that card, which had a slick, modern look and really exciting photographs. And then there was the ingenuity of the jetpack, which made our new heroes whizz up a lampstand or across the floor on the sleds that came with them. Ingenious and impressive, that was Mattel in those days.

We'd already been thoroughly intrigued by the two Hot Wheels Camaros we'd received after another of Dad's trips a while earlier. We had quite a few Matchbox and Husky cars (the latter of which were Corgi Toys' answer to Matchbox, I believe), but nice as they were, these were instantly outclassed by the shiny, weighty and *very* smooth-looking, smooth-running cars in the flaming packaging. (Soon afterwards, two of our cousins brought theirs back from living in New Jersey, and we got a lot more of them too, once they became available in Holland.) So, as far as we were concerned, Mattel was indeed swell.

Shortly thereafter, MMM must have arrived on the Dutch market, because I remember the strategically placed cardboard tray full of blister cards in front of the cash register at the local toyshop, from which the occasional purchase was made from our pocket money.

Our mutual collection grew bit by bit, until we finally had all the early accessories sold on card, as well as a Callisto and a Firebolt Cannon. We didn't have a Space Station, nor a Crawler, and I don't recall ever seeing things like UniTreds, Bubbles or any of the stuff that was introduced later, with the exception of Doug and Jeff. Maybe MMM failed in Holland, maybe the two local toy stores decided to stop stocking it, I really don't know. Then again, we did have both the Power Limbs and the Power Suit, but maybe Dad got us those on a later trip.

For a long time, MMM & friends were top of the bill. The photographs, taken around 1970, show Pip (at left) and myself playing with them in some sand dunes while on holiday at one of the islands in the north of the Netherlands.
We were inseparable and we had fun. But alas: the wires broke, one by one. The broken ends helped to sever the rubber bellows of the figures, and after a while, our astronauts were crippled beyond repair.

The equipment survived a while longer, eventually being handed down to Action Man (The British GI Joe made under license by Palitoy). But bit by bit, things got broken or disappeared, and finally, even MMM and friends were forgotten as new toys were discovered...

Until one day, a couple of years ago. I was going round the monthly swap meet held in Brussels, Belgium (we moved here in '75). On one of the tables, amongst a pile of odds and sods and Action Man bits, right there... There was Sergeant Storm! 'My' Sergeant Storm, looking cheerfully through his yellow visor... I couldn't believe my eyes - I'd been going round toy shows for at least ten years now, and he was the first I'd ever seen there.

Needless to say, he went home with me. But not before showing him to every action figure dealer I could find. And one guy said 'maybe' and would I be there next month? You bet! Well, the next month, I found that dimly remembered packaging again, looking surprisingly good for a thirty-year old design.

A Space Station, a carded Moonsuit, Power Limbs and two launchers, some bits & pieces and two of the grimiest looking astronauts you'll ever see. Every piece I saw unlocked a memory. I was rediscovering MMM right there on the spot. My brother was also pretty intrigued to see it all. After my collection grew, I gave him a Matt and Power Limbs, so he would have one of his toys again too. Then, everybody at the design agency got access to the internet. No prizes for guessing the first words that got fed into Yahoo.

I found John's site, this site right here. Need I say more? --

Paul Vreede, Brussels, January '98

Paul is one of the charter members of the MMM e-mail list and a huge contributer to this site (check out the Prototypes and Foreign sections if you don't believe me!). He may be e-mailed here.

Find out about joining either of the Major Matt Mason e-mail groups here.

All images, captions and content are Copyright © 1997-2018 John Eaton unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton, by clicking here.

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