Real Space Oddities

The items below are all unusual for one reason or another. These items all really exist, and for once, are exactly what they seem to be.

A Prototype Major Matt Mason figure

Christian de Grandpre produced a MMM documentary many years ago on video, in which he shows a prototype Matt figure he states was obtained from a retired Mattel designer. The figure is moulded rough with untrimmed mould lines in light blue without paint.  Mattel Inc. and the date on the back are scrawled on the figure (seemingly with the point of a knife or pointy-thing) and the boots are less detailed and filled-in.

Since that first image several other prototype Major Matt Mason figures in various colors of "rubber" have surfaces. Technically these are probably "test shots" which the manufacturer produced so the Mattel staff in the US can "OK" the sculpt and perhaps make adjustments prior to full-production. These figures were also repainted to a limited extent to be used in photographs that ultimately made it onto early box covers, promotional materials and Mattel Retailer Catalogs. They are quite rare - by John's accounting, there's probably less than 10 of them out there in the hands of collectors.

Red-headed Callisto and Faded Sensor

We believe this unfortunate alien's head can turn from green to red/brown when overexposed to ultra-violet (sun)light. Another theory is that a small batch of Callistos may have been made with heads in this colour, either by mistake or possibly as a stop-gap measure. 

Here's a picture of the one sold recently on eBay, courtesy of the seller, www.landerstoys.com. Dave Bryant bought this piece expressly to have a look at it, and sent us this picture. He states that this head is very uniform in colour and does not appear to have hardened, suggesting it was indeed originally made in this colour. 

Then there was a Callisto on Patrick Storto's site (unfortunately no longer available but hope to find a copy) whose head has turned opaque from exposure to sunlight, so perhaps the red head was exposed to something else. In the absence of other evidence, the only way to prove or disprove the exposure theory would be to experiment with a green head... Any volunteers out there? ;-)

Other parts of Callisto are equally prone to fading: here's a picture (above) of one where the sensor (gun) has faded to a greyish blue. (Picture courtesy of Derryl D. Depriest)

Factory-Incomplete Matt

This Matt figure (left) looks like it's had to leave the factory in a hurry: it has a white suit missing all the details on it. Although the white (primer) paint looks genuine enough, the black straps are so wobbly that we suspect these may have been added by a previous owner. Alternatively, the paint job on the straps may have been the cause of it being rejected in the factory before slipping through anyway.

MMM Bound for Space (at Last!)

JP Aerospace of California ("America's OTHER space program") is a private organisation testing means of getting small satellites up into space using small-sized rockets. As can be seen on their (impressive!) website, they have often benefitted from the Major himself flying along, acting as the flight commander.

Paul Vreede owns one of the Matt figures (below) used in this capacity. Apart from being a white-rubber Matt, it also has the distinction of reportedly having reached an altitude of 3 miles at a speed of Mach 3.5 (!) before crashing into the desert due to a failed parachute.

Apart from this, we've heard of various people trying to get Matt onto a Shuttle mission, though apparently without success so far. John has read or heard a rumor that one or more made it onto a mission but it hasn't been confirmed. There's also a rumor that one has made it to the ISS.

Do these things make a figure more valuable? Maybe to some people they might. Paul says it's fun to think his Matt went up in a rocket, but paid a regular price for it (and would have declined otherwise).

Contemporary Comics

Called 'Men from Earth', these feature the adventures of Matt Mason's son together with a number of (female!) Callistians. The artist, former Mattel toy designer Joe Ferreira aka Joe King, claimed he'd acquired the rights to MMM a long time ago. He has since had a running battle with the Mattel legal dept. over this, resulting in his website being closed down at various locations. 

The first issue (left) of this comic story has actually been on sale, while a second and third were offered in script form. A t-shirt was also available (below).

Originally, there were plans (and possibly a script) for a film to be produced by Sybil Danning's production company, as well as plans to produce a revamped MMM toy line. None of these initiatives appear to have progressed beyond the planning stage

Finally, should anybody reading this have any similar information, additions or corrections, then we would very much appreciate hearing about them.

All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 1997-2023 John Eaton and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton or Paul Vreede.

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