Blast Off With These 13 Majorly Cool MAJOR MATT MASON Items

It’s TOYHEM! 4… 3… 2… 1…

Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fifth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan


Major Matt Mason existed at such a fascinating time in history, the lead-up to “moon mania,” and because of that it’s been one of my most favorite toy lines. It landed in 1966, just a year after I was born, but by the end of the decade and looking straight into the ’70s, I was already a fan.

Stargazing back at the full list of figures, accessories, vehicles, and ephemera, it surprises me how much my older brother and I had then. It didn’t last long, but Major Matt Mason was also one of only two toys my brother and I shared, Hot Wheels being the other. He moved on from kid stuff, leaving it all to me and my utter fascination with all things space, the moon missions, and NASA in general. That said, and despite much of the MMM items being based on prototypical astronaut gear, I’ve always considered Matt and his crew as squarely science fiction—and probably the first real SF toys I ever had.

I had a total blast digging through Major Matt Mason archives to come up with the following list of my 13 favorites. Hope you dig it! The future is NOW!

Space Mission Team. Let’s start here, a really cool boxed assortment of the MMM figures. My brother and I got ours packaged separately; he had Matt and I had Doug Davis, the guy in the mustard-colored suit. I also had Callisto, the green alien, but funny story, I didn’t know back then he was an ally. He looked evil to me (still does), and so he was The Enemy.

Moon Suit Pak. This was one of the MMM accessories that was based on actual proposed astronaut equipment. I remember that the rubber limbs didn’t last long under rigorous play, but I still loved this set.

Space Crawler. This baby took those huge old batteries and really worked. It crawled over most anything—believe me, I tried many different obstacles for it back then. It was the only large-size MMM vehicle I had, if you don’t count the next item on the list…

Space Bubble. Weird, yeah, but so cool. I guess it could be hooked and hauled by some of the other large vehicles, but I made good use of it with my Space Crawler. I remember how heavy it was, due to the weight in the “chair” that always kept it level no matter what.

Space Station. Never had it, but oh, how much I wanted it—just like the G.I Joe Adventure Team Headquarters I never got. This was the pinnacle of all MMM items, the one every kid desired. Look for its cameo in David Collins’ room on Dark Shadows.

Gamma Ray-Gard Pak. Another true story; I got mine at a Christmas gathering at a relative’s house and I shot it exactly once. The moment I did, my dad took the silver “bullets” (really just a strip of coiled paper) away and I never saw them again. From then on, I just pretended it was firing laser beams.

Capt. Lazer. Listen, I don’t care what anyone says about how ill-fitting and goofy this guy was for the MMM line (he was a giant compared to the others), he was A-OK with me. He had light-up eyes, chest emblem, and ray gun, and he was boss. So there.

Firebolt Space Cannon. I can’t tell you what exactly this did because I didn’t have one, but it looked cool, and it was in the illustration for my MMM jigsaw puzzle. Pretty sure it was in the coloring book, too.

Star Seeker Walk in Space Set. I honestly didn’t know the Star Seeker existed until I was an adult. Probably a good thing, too, because I would’ve begged my parents for it.

XRG-1 Reentry Glider. Another big item I didn’t know about back when I was a kid. From what I understand, it was really supposed to fly. I love how it warns the consumer that it WILL NOT FLY WITH AN EMPTY COCKPIT… so better buy another MMM figure, Mom and Dad!

Major Matt Mason Coloring Book. This was one of my most favorite coloring books as a kid. I remember being very careful and choosy when I colored in mine, figuring once it was done, it was done forever.

Major Matt Mason Press-Out Book. For those not in the know, this was an actual thing when I was a kid—paper crafts. You punched images out of the book and set them up and kind of played with them. Why would we do this when we had the actual toys to play with? Hey, you had to be there.

Major Matt Mason Big Little Book “Moon Mission.” I have to end this list with this little book, because there’s nothing else after it in my opinion. This is the best, the heights, the neatest MMM item of all. This is in the Top Five of my favorite books from childhood, and one of my favorite books of all time. Try to find a copy if you’ve never read it. It’s lovely.


— The Complete TOYHEM INDEX of Stories and Features. Click here.

— TOYHEM! Memories: MAJOR MATT MASON, by MARK WAID. Click here.

When JIM BEARD’s not editing and publishing through his two houses, Flinch Books and Becky Books, he’s pounding out adventure fiction with both original and licensed characters. In fact, he’s put words in the mouths of Luke Skywalker, Superman, Fox Mulder, Carl Kolchak, Peter Venkman and the Green Hornet… and lived to tell about it. Check out one of his latest pop culture non-fiction books, Galloping Around the Cosmos: Memories of TV’s Wagon Train to the Stars From Today’s Grown-Up Kids. It’s available here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I have the Major Matt Mason fan club kit toy stores gave away…it has a pin, club card, pic & the coolest catalog with color pics…I have Matt in my toy case with his helment, pin & card…very cool Jay Anz

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  2. I didn’t see the jet-pack! You HAVE to include the jet-pack! It was the best item in the entire MMM line!

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  3. I’m still an ardent fan of Major Matt Mason. It was DEFINITELY the coolest toy series when I was growing up in the 1960s – a true ‘child of Apollo’. I have always wished that Mattel would re-issue this line, but with new tech. If I was better at 3D computer modelling (and 3D printing) I’d make the gadgets myself!

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