Major Matt Mason Mattel Toy Trade Catalogs

Mattel catalogs were created for toy store owners to use as reference for ordering new merchandise. Mattel went all-out on these catalogs, sometimes embellishing them with pull-out posters or pop-up characters. The most desirable catalogs are those issued in very limited numbers at the annual Toy Fair. These Toy Fair editions often had misprints or showcased items that were pulled from final production.

The first solicitation for Major Matt Mason was supported by a special 1967 Mattel Catalog provided to the trade at the annual Toy Fair conference -  at the time this conference was the big trade show for potential toy buyers. Starting in 1966 Mattel started the practice of producing a separate spring Catalog (generally the trade references this catalog as the "Toy Fair" Catalog, by year - it's a bit inconsistent as the catalog itself makes no references to the Fair - however Mattel-issued price-sheets do) and they also produced a 20-page supplement 1966 Preview World of Barbie catalog - presumably it was this year that things started to really get going for Mattel so they were willing to show items in an advanced solicitation to generate interest and perhaps some buzz. 

Mattel would continue with this practice (a "Toy Fair" version of their Trade Catalog, generally with a slightly different cover) and some years also a "Spring Introductions" catalog. Note that Mattel started producing separate interest-specific catalogs all the way back in 1960 or earlier with 2 primary categories: one for Toys and another for Dolls.

Mattel Toys 1967 "Toy Fair" Catalog

The first appearance of Major Matt Mason was in this special preview catalog for the 1967 Toy Fair. The entire catalog was re-worked for the Fall Release... the most noticeable difference is the missing "Space Rover" from both the front and back covers. This vehicle was removed and the "sky" was lightened (changed to bright blue) for better contrast and "friendlier" colors as opposed to the silvers and grays originally envisioned for the line.

Mattel Toys 1967 "Fall" Catalog

The more common version of the 1967 catalog, released in the Fall, had a blue sky and changes to several item's descriptions limiting the contents and perhaps to make them more child-friendly. To say that this catalog is common is really a misnomer, as this is the key catalog to have and fairly scarce as Mattel Catalogs go.

Mattel Major Matt Mason 1967 8-Page Promo Catalog

This eight-page, 8 x 10" catalog was probably given to toy shop owners to promote the MMM toy line. It appears to have the same images and text as the 1967 Mattel Retailers catalog with a bonus Major Matt Mason portrait, suitable for framing.

Mattel Toys 1968 January Catalog

More an early 1968 recap of the 1967 Fall Catalog, this spring issue introduces Liddle Kiddles and the MMM Space Exploration Game.

Mattel Toys 1968 "Toy Fair" Catalog

Most Mattel collectors don't realize that the 1968 Catalog also had a Toy Fair version. In this initial offering, the catalog was printed with a white background. This was changed to blue for the normal Fall version. So I believe that this catalog is the actual first appearance of Hot Wheels and much more significant. I've witnessed some crazy high prices on this one, presumably due to Hot Wheel collectors.

Mattel Toys 1968 "Fall" Catalog

The common version of this catalog with a blue contrast background behind the Hot Wheels track on the cover. The games have been moved to a single page from the original two-page spread.

Mattel Quick Reference Toy Guide 1968

These catalogs are extremely rare... given to toy distributors and Mattel sales staff to aid them with product information. Each item includes "Things to say and do:" to entice store owners to buy!

Mattel S.A. International 1968 Catalog (Belgian)

The Belgian example of this international catalog features several MMM items with captions in French and Flemish along with the Mattel International logo.  

Mattel GmbH Neuheiten 1968 Catalog (Germany)

This German-language 8-page catalog features Zaüber-Bluten® on the cover (Thingmaker Flowers), with various dolls, Hot Wheels, and two pages of Major Matt Mason! Also included were four pages of multi-copy order-forms. This probably predates the Mattel 1968 Spielzeug Catalog.

Mattel GmbH Spielzeug 1968 Catalog (Germany)

This is the first German Mattel catalog to feature Major Matt Mason, with a rehash of the cover of the 1967 Mattel Fall catalog.

Mattel Toys 1969 Spring Catalog

Mattel introduces Cosmic Kiddles, along with many MMM accessories in this catalog. Also, new astronauts Doug Davis, Jeff Long and the alien Callisto are added.

Mattel Toys 1969 "Fall" Catalog

A continuation of the Spring Catalog, the "Fall" catalog has some interesting group shots and mock-ups of packaging.

Mattel Toymakers 1969 Quick Reference Toy Guide

One of my favorite catalogs, the 69 Quick Ref Guide has some wonderful store mock-up pics on the back cover. I've referenced these from the Playsets Index as well. Well worth the time to take a look-see.

Mattel GmbH Neuheiten 1969 Catalog (Germany)

This 4-page German-language catalog is similar to the 8-page from 1968. The cover is of an extensive Heisse Räder set-up (Hot Wheels) About three-quarters of one page features Major Matt Mason!

Mattel GmbH Spielzeug 1969 Catalog (Germany)

Utilizing the cover of the US 1968 Catalog, Mattel continues in the German marketplaces, offering their usual fare, and in particular Major Matt Mason!

Mattel S.P.A. Giocattoli 1969 Catalog (Italy)

Utilizing the cover of the US 1968 Catalog, Mattel continues in the Italian marketplaces, offering their usual fare, and of course, Major Matt Mason!

Mattel Toys 1969 Australia Catalog

For Australia Mattel recycled the cover of the 1968 "Toy Fair" Catalog and included 4 pages of Major MATT MASON!

Mattel International 1969 Promotional Brochure

French example 8-page brochure containing one page on each main Mattel toy line. More information on the Mattel International Page.

Mattel Toys 1970 Spring Catalog

Mattel introduces the Chip Box accessories, along with Scorpio and the Super Powers Set.

Mattel Toys 1970 "Fall" Catalog

Here we get our first images of Or, the Orbitor and other playsets.

Mattel GmbH Spielzeug 70 Catalog (Germany)

Interesting catalog with a plastic, spiral binding - not sure if this is "as issued" or a later fix for a loose binding.

Mattel S.P.A. Giocattoli 1970 Catalog (Italy)

Mostly the same line-up as the 1969 Giocattoli Catalog with new chip-boxed accessories.

Mattel Toys '71 "Toys" Catalog

The dregs here as the line closes - with only a single page devoted to MMM as the toy line is brought to a close.


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