Major Matt Mason in the Press

I've tried to collect various written articles regarding the Major and pals here, some are vintage and others from just a few years ago. What's been happening over time is that microfiche archives have been transferred to digital files and many have been made publicly available - the next step was to introduce page-parsing for text so it's easier to find key words. I found most of these a few years ago when the supporting tech was implemented to a free NY State archive. I've tried to add attribution when possible - note that some of these archive pages aren't complete (meaning some pages are chopped up with missing text, etc) so that's reflected in some of the images below.

John's Take

It's interesting to read these in order - there's so much excitement in the beginning, around the Space Race and interest due to flights being televised, through the Apollo 11 moon landing, next due to toy sales getting into the billions (much of it driven by space toys the emergence of new technologies from space programs like incorporating electronics) and finally, by 1972 waning interest and the move to more reality-based toys.

1967.11.16 Lockport NY Union Sun Journal Page 5-GG "Why Toyland Looks Colorful" (no byline)

About a half-page of images related to potential toy gifts, one image reused in other articles (kid playing with the space station). The anchor article is about toy design and color.

1967.11.29 Geneva NY Times Page 28 "Toyland Crammed With Surprises" (no byline)

General toy article featuring some of the new toys of 1967, prominent photo of a kid playing with a Space Station and accessories.

1967.12.03 Binghamton NY Sunday Press Page 12-D "'Little Brother' Leaves Little to Imagination" by Erma Bombeck

Focus is on realism of dolls but at the end is a section "ON THE heels of the mature female, naturally followed the adult male: Captain Action, Matt Mason (astronaut), and G.I. Joe, complete this year with commands." It's one of the first call-outs I've seen regarding the modern action figure.

1967.12.03 Niagara Falls NY Gazette Pg3-C "Selection of Toys is Described as Greater Than Ever This Year" by Sandra Ormsby

Sandra explores the several Christmas toy options for kids in 1967. Full text of article is available via link.

1967.12.04 Pulaski VA Southwest Times Page 2 "Holiday Push To Boost Toy Sales Past Billion" by Lindsy Van Gelder (UPI)

This short article was published int he Pulaski Southwest Times on December 4, 1967. It contains several references to Major Matt Mason and his space equipment.

1967.12.07 Kingston NY Daily Freeman Page 23 "Snoopy Is Hit With Kiddies at Ward's Toy Area"

Short article on new toys for the season "A newcomer to the toy world is Major Matt Mason, who is making a name for himself.

1967.12.14 Auburn NY Citizen-Advertiser Page 11 "Toy Sales Hit Billion" by Lindsay Van Gelder (UPI)

Article regarding the expansion of toy manufacturing and sales with section on "The Space Race" - references to "Mattel's "Major Matt Mason" comes with a complete space complex, including a space crawler, astronaut, moon suit, space sled and rocket launch pad"

1967.12.19 Nashville Tennessean Page 1 "Supply of Toys Grows Smaller"

Seems toys were in such high demand in 1967, at least in Tennessee, that the Nashville Tennessean put an article about it on the front page.

1967.12.20 Utica NY Observer Page 6C "'Anatomically Correct' Doll Shakes Up Some of the Mothers" by Erma Bombeck

Same article was picked up by several newspapers - about "Little Brother" the anatomically correct doll, mentions of Major Matt Mason, Captain Action and G.I. Joe.

1967.12.21 Emery County (UT) Progress Page 5 Green River News by Mrs. Letitia Thompson

This short blurb was printed under the "Green River News" section of the Emery County Progress on December 21, 1967. It lists a recipient of the Pillsbury Funny Face Contest. While there were many winners, it's interesting to find that winning made the local newspaper.

Jan 1968 DAS SPIELZEUG #1 (first issue) Cover and Page 69

German Toy industry magazine features the reuse of the Mattel 1967 "Fall" Catalog as the cover, with a feature on the Nuremberg Toy Fair. Cool built-up model of the moon is on display in one photo with Japanese toy manufacturers identified in the article - text is German, French and English.

1968.02.29 Hastings News "Challenge of Science Takes Form For Young Ardsley Fifth Graders" by Joan Intrator

Not a toy specific article, really a report regarding a Fifth Grade teacher, Robert Eusner, wearing a space suit and using scale models to demonstrate equipment used in the space program - the photo caption "GI Joe or Major Matt Mason? No..." 

Also the same article appears in all Greenburgh Publications: The Hastings News, The Ardsley Recorder, The Dobbs Ferry Sentinel and The Greenburgh Independent.

1968.10.19 Auburn NY Citizen Advertiser Pg15 "Christmas different all over the world"

Not a toy specific article but rather an article regarding how other cultures celebrate Chrismas - mention of Major Matt Mason and Lieutenant (sic) Storm.

1968.11.24 Le Pèlerin du 20e Siècle 24 Nov 1968

French Catholic family magazine with MMM toys on the cover.

1968.11.26 Le Journal de Tintin N°1048 "L'ELECTRONIQUE au secours du PERE NOEL"

This two-page article "L'ELECTRONIQUE au secours du PERE NOEL" appeared in France in TinTin #1048 published 1968.11.26. It features a nice image of Major Matt Mason and Sergeant Storm figures with various accessories and the Space Station.

1968.11.26 Watertown NY Daily Times "How a Toy is Born" Article by G. Robert Farmer

"City Toy Counters Raided by Shoppers, As Big Toymaker Designs Items for '69" - A fairly inane overview of the toy creation process focused primarily on Mattel.

1968.11.28 Oakland CA Tribune Pages 67-68 "Exploring the Toy World" by Carole Hirose

Article provides an overview of new toys for 1968 with a section on space toys including Billy Blastoff and Major Matt Mason. Also includes images of kids in a toy department with one kid looking at a Major Matt Mason Space Station box.

1968.12.04 Schenectady NY Gazette Page 22 "Toy Manufacturers Place Emphasis on Space, Realism and Action Games" by Donald E. Mullen (UPI)

Larger article describing the latest trends in toys, section on Space makes references to "Major Matt Mason, Sgt. Storm and their friend Capt. Lazer"

1968.12.04 Lubbock TX Avalanche-Journal Page 36 "Dear Santa: Bring Me A Capt. Lazer Or Sgt. Storm" (UPI)

Another printing of an article in syndication (above), this time in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on October 4, 1968 but with Major Matt Mason characters in the title. It's also edited a bit, fixing misspelled words and for brevity.

1968.12.09 Lockport NY Union Sun Journal Page 18 "Americans This Christmas Will Spend An Estimated $2.75 Billion On Toys" by Donald E. Mullen (UPI)

Same article as above only published with a different title, different paper, spelling corrections and a few formatting changes.

1968.12.10 Auburn NY Citizen-Advertiser Page 19 "Dear Santa: Have you seen all the new toys?" (UPI)

Same article as above only published with a different title, different paper, spelling corrections and a few formatting changes.

1968.12.13 San Antonio TX Light Page 90 "Space Toy Ready for Choosing" Article

This article "Space Toy Ready for Choosing" covers several Major Matt Mason attributes and equipment, stating that authenticity is important to "Boy in Space."

1968.12.16 Utica NY Daily Press Page 23 "Space Interest Is High In the U.S. Toy Industry" by Leonard Sloane (NYT)

Article about record retail toy volumes with reference to Mattel, Major Matt Mason and the Astro Trac.

1968.12.19 Amsterdam Recorder Page 10 "National Boundaries, Government Doctrine Do Not Affect Christmas" (AP)

Interesting observation regarding the celebration of Christmas with some focus on countries where Christmas isn't a traditional holiday observance. "In France, soldiers are out, cosmonauts in. Major Matt Mason and his lieutenant, Storm, are very popular..." Seems Sgt Storm has been promoted. Same basic article appeared back in October 1968.

1968.10.19 Auburn NY Citizen Advertiser Pg15 "Christmas different all over the world"

AP Article published in several papers during the 1968 season, this time by the Denton Record-Chronicle on December 19, 1968..

1968.12.19 Denton TX Record-Chronicle Page 18 "Christmas Season Transcends Boundaries, Politics" (AP)

AP Article published in several papers during the 1968 season, this time by the Denton Record-Chronicle on December 19, 1968.

1968.12.23 Kingston NY Daily Freeman Page 13 "No Boundries For Christmas" (AP)

Same article as published above with slight formatting changes and a different title.

1969.08.29 Deseret (UT) News Page 17 "Spacemen The Heroes Of Toy Store Set" (uncredited)

Short article published in the Deseret News on August 29, 1969 regarding the popularity of space toys since the successful moon landing.

1969.09.07 Childress TX Index Page 6 "Moon Toys Gain New Popularity" Article by Frederick M. Winship (UPI)

Talks about the uptick of space toy sales due to the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. It's linking interest to TV coverage that wasn't there previously. Mentions of Billy Blastoff, Johnny and Jane Apollo and Major Matt Mason.

1969.09.06 North Tonawanda NY Evening News Page 13 "Moon Toys Finally Make Sales History" (UPI)

Same article as mentioned above, different title, location and newspaper.

1969.09.08 Arlington Heights Daily Herald Suburban Chicago Page 3 "Moon Toys: All Systems Go" by Frederick M. Winship (UPI)

Same article as mentioned above, different title, location and newspaper.

1969.09.09 Lockport NY Union-Sun Page 39 "Moon Trip Sparked Space Toy Interest" by Frederick M. Winship (UPI)

Same article as mentioned above shortened, different title, location and newspaper.

1969.09.09 Lockport NY Union-Sun Page 39 "Moon Trip Sparked Space Toy Interest" by Frederick M. Winship (UPI)

Same article as mentioned above shortened, different title, location and newspaper.

1969.11.26 San Antonio TX Light Page 199 "Toys to Make Wishes Come True"

Uncredited article from the November 26, 1969 San Antonio Light "Toys to Make Wishes Come True" providing an overview of sought-after toys for the 1969 holiday season.

1969.11.28 Watertown NY Daily Times Page 27 Article "51% of Yule Toy Purchases Are Directed by Children" by Alexander Auerbach (LA Times)

Article regarding children determining what toys they want by product ID - mention of Major Matt Mason and team in the first paragraph.

1969.12.02 Amsterdam NY Recorder Page 4 "Keeping Up With Space Age Toys Is Expensive" by Allen Nacheman (AP)

Interesting AP article comparing the Apollo program to the cost of buying space toys (no photos) - references Major Matt Mason (with pricing), also Jeff Long as "Jeff" (no mention of him being African-American) and Callisto. Call-outs to Billy Blastoff, the Zeroids and the LIS Robot.

1969.12.02 Auburn NY Citizen Advertiser "Living room space program more costly than real thing" by Allen Nacheman (AP)

Same article as above printed elsewhere, slightly edited with a different title (still no photos).

1969.12.02 Escondido CA North County Times Page A-11 "Astronaut toys are costly" (AP)

Same article as above. I guess adjusted for inflation Major Matt Mason toys were fairly expensive. This article sheds a bit of light towards just how expensive. It's written in a light manner, published in the North County Times on December 2, 1969.

1969.12.02 Johnstown NY Leader Herald Page 4 "Space Program Could Be Costly This Season" by Allen Nacheman (AP)

Same article as above printed elsewhere with a different title (still no photos).

1969.12.07 Abilene TX Reporter-News Page 40 "New Toys Tempt Young 'Wishers

Same article published elsewhere as it appears to have been syndicated. Basically an overview of the toys for the season with a call out to Mattel's World of Space and Major Matt Mason.


Canadian articlel in French for the Quebec market with Christmas gift ideas including the Lunar Base Command Set.

1969.12.23 Knickerbocker NY News 5B "A Noisy Yuletide: Action, Sound Lend Realism To '69 Toys" by Nancy Hartnagel

Three paragraphs on space toys with two devoted to Major Matt Mason - blotted photo of a kid playing on the floor in a Toy aisle (no photos of the Major). 

1969.12.25 Rhinebeck NY Gazette Page 3 "Letters To Santa"

I usually pass up these "Letters to Santa" - there are many examples that mention Major Matt Mason.

1972.04.19 Niagara Falls NY Gazette Page 36 "Youngsters cold to astronaut toys" by Margaret Shaleuly (Gannett News Service)

Talks about the decline in children's interest in space toys and how the various toy manufacturers like "Mattell" (misspelled in the article) was cutting back. "It's the deadest category in the toy business, and has been for two years" said Bill Attig, manager of sales administration for Mattell Toy Makers in Hawrthorne, Calif." (Hawthorne also misspelled).

1995 Columbus Ledger Enquirer "Toy Story" by Richard Thomasen

Short modern article about collecting toys as an adult hobby - features a photo of Norman Easterday, long-time MMM fan and collector. Image provided by Norman Easterday. [ Detail here ]

2001.10.19 The Tennessean Page 51 Living & Style: Antiques Column by Ralph and Terry Kovel Article

This small Q&A regarding Major Matt Mason was published in The Nashville Tennessean on October 19, 2001 in an Antique column that was probably a regular offering.

2022.01.08 Valdosta Daily Times "POLING: Under the heat-ray anger of Captain Lazer" by Dean Polling

Lessons learned from childhood - breaking Capt. Lazer as a kid.



All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 1997-2024 John Eaton and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton

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