Saturday, May 19, 2007

Origins of Major Matt Mason

I've recently been asked about the origin of the title and name, Major Matt Mason. As far as I can tell, it ostensibly comes from "Matty" Mattel - the original kid mascot that was once part of the 60's Mattel logo (at least it makes sense for the "Matt" part of the name) - however if you take a deeper delve, the name "Mattel" was created as a contraction of the two business partners who founded the company in 1945, Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler (hence the name "matt-el"). So I'm of the opinion that the name came as a slightly modified "Matt" Matson in homage to Harold. I'm not sure if Harold was ever a Major - I think the "Major" as part of the name and toy line just sounded good with all the alliteration going on - and that was carried forward with Sgt Storm and Doug Davis (but for some reason was dropped with Jeff Long).

Speaking of Doug Davis, if you look closely you'll notice a resemblance of his head sculpt to Barbie's boyfriend, Ken as he appeared in the late 60's early 70's - it was probably easier to scale down the Ken sculpt instead of creating a new head from scratch and was actually a pretty common practice (look at the Marx heads and you'll see what I mean). Next I plan to start talking a bit about significant eBay sales records on MMM toys.

-- Best, John


Anonymous said...


I think Doug bore a stronger resemblance to "Big Jim," who came along a bit later. I also think there's a family resemblance between Matt and "Max Steel," Mattel's short-lived 12" GI Joe competitor from about four years ago. Perhaps Mattel is actually scuplting some real persons? The resemblances can't be completely coincidental.

John T.

John said...

More likely Big Jim was also based on Ken or at least on the same model as Doug. The name of Barbie's boyfriend "Ken" was actually originally based on Eliot and Ruth Handler's son, Kenneth (Barbie was named after the daughter, Barbara) - sort of a twisted idea if you think about it.

-- John