If your were a child in the late 1960s during the great heyday of the Space Race, chances are you spent most of your time playing with Space toys. Lots of space related toys started popping up all over the place in the late 60s. And, leading the pack and my all time favourite was Major Matt Mason an action figure created by Mattel. He was the quintessential hero of the space age, an astronaut who lived and worked on the moon.
I have been a fan of both the Major Matt Mason toy line and of the space program for the past forty odd years. It was a major surprise to find so many web sites and discussion groups devoted to Major Matt Mason when I performed my initial searches on Yahoo and Google.
The Major has reportedly accompanied several US Space Shuttle flights as an "unofficial crewman", and it has been confirmed that the figure did fly on John Glenn's Shuttle flight in 1998.
"Major Matt Mason. He was a great astronaut: a full-on, lifelike astronaut, made with rubber and wire, kind of like Gumby. He was bendable and poseable, and I went through a few of them because after a while the wires get all twisted."
-Tom Hanks, when asked "What was your favorite toy as a kid?" by Disney Adventures magazine
Tom Hanks is currently working on to bring the good major to a 3 D silver screen near you.
"The film is based on the script co-written by Tom Hanks and Graham Yost, and the story revolves around Major Matt Mason, an astronaut who lives and works on the Moon. The producers are now trying to clinch a deal with Robert Zemeckis for him to direct the film."
It is a great trill to find so many people who are such devoted fans of this action figure. Major Matt Mason is a symbol of those wonderful memories of the golden years of my childhood and the heroic period of Space Exploration known as the Apollo Era.
A world in crisis calls out for a great hero. A man of Science and Adventure ready to take himself and his team in harms way. Where have you gone Major Matt Mason? The world cries out to you.
With all this talk about returning to the Moon, establishing a Lunar Base, Asteroid Missions, and pressing on to Mars, isn't it about time the good Major stage a comeback?
Major Matt Mason commercial ( Mattel 1968 )
Flashback Friday: 1967 Mattel Major Matt Mason Toy Line Review