A look at those classic Space: 1999 toys that were not necessarily relative to the show, but that didn’t matter to the toy companies. You still love them, right? You collectors? You know who you are.
Long ago (I know, right?) in the 60’s and 70’s there were marketing practices that aren’t exactly followed the same way today. Certain companies were in the business to produce specific products and what they came up with, they tried to use them across various licenses to make them as relevant as possible. And I’m not even talking about cannon or accurate products, either. That’s a story all in itself.
Repurposing a created product was a great way to maximize the tooling to make the most money possible. Which leads me to bring up some of the more outlandish and not so relevant items that actually made it to market. ITC was “in the business” to leverage the 1999 trademark as much as it could since with the creation of the show had a significant amount of “toy” opportunities across that then known spectrum. Larami Corp was the king of repurposing their toy line. Mainly marketing very cheap items that would satisfy a quick sale as a check out peg item, Larami toys would comprise a pretty large catalog of stuff and they leveraged the Space: 1999 license pretty hard. They milked it for both seasons and probably sold a fair amount of these “As Seen On TV” toys.
I know the Space: 1999 line of classic toys doesn’t hold a candle to some other toys that were not only irrelevant to that show, but really begs the question: “what were they thinking?” Well, 1999 had its share, though. In this article, we will look at some good, bad and the outright “holy smokes” toys that were produced. And not only in the US, but Japan, as well. Culture wise, their results might fit in their country, but probably wouldn’t have sold very well in western markets. I’m not talking about the color used for the Dinky or AHI Eagles. That is for a future discussion.
Vanity Fair had a couple of really good quality toys that were used with other licenses. The Wrist Radio was actually a good idea and could be considered relevant but the Megaphone, not so much. Adding insult to injury, the box art was an astronaut using it out in “space”.
Another “trying to get to relevancy” was the Eagle Water Gun by AHI. It was relevant but the end result was the Eagle didn’t really look like an Eagle but something else, and I’ll leave it at that. The flying Parachutist wasn’t that much better, although the artwork was pretty good on the first release. They used some fancy year 2 photos for the second wave. If you can find the second wave or the later renamed “Arms Master” editions (guns only), those are very rare in almost any condition. There was a Koenig Parachutist edition, as well.
Perhaps one of the strongest dislikes of something that didn’t have anything to do with the show was the production of the modified Moonscope vehicle: The Alien, originally created by George Barris. Adding insult to injury, the original Moonscope kit was actually pretty cool and then severely modded for the production of this kit. Let’s add just a bit more insult; that someone at AHI thought it’d be a good idea to produce a toy version of the kit and as a second thought since the AHI Alien toy was only released in its second run of 1999 toys in their range. Not sure of the success of the sales of this kit, but I know for a fact it is perhaps the least liked non-relevant Space: 1999 item out there.
If it weren’t for the saucer shooting Stun Gun included in the Remco Utility Belt, the whole darn thing would have been deemed irrelevant. It looks as though they intended on producing a Commlock (or something that remotely looks like one) but no, we had to have a “Space Radiation Detector” and a Space Compass. Instead of the Commlock and something else. That Space Radiation Detector is a copy of the “Play Walkie Talkie” from the Batman set. Well, at least the 1999 logo looks uber-cool with a chrome look on the belt.
What is your favorite misguided toy that really didn’t belong?