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.

29 Nov 1967 Geneva Times "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. [ Detail here ]

3 Dec 1967 Sunday Press "'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.  [ Detail here ]

7 Dec 1967 Kingston Daily Freeman "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. He is a spaceman and has a space sled, space station and space crawler. He is dressed in an official-looking space suit" [ Detail here ]

14 Dec 1967 Citizen-Advertiser "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" [ Detail here ]

Jan 1968 DAS SPIELZEUG #1 (first issue)

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.

29 Feb 1968 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..." [ Detail here ]

16 Nov 1968 Watertown Daily Times "City Toy Counters Raided by Shoppers, As Big Toymaker Designs Items for '69"

Money is no object for 1969, apparently as the toy industry plans for the next toy season, talks about impacts and the process from inception to packaging. [ Detail here ]

Le Pèlerin du 20e Siècle 24 Nov 1968

French Catholic family magazine with MMM toys on the cover.

4 Dec 1968 Schenectady Gazette "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" [ Detail here ]

10 Dec 1968 Citizen-Advertiser "Dear Santa: Have you seen all the new toys?" (UPI)

Overview of what's available for the season with a focus on new toy styles "Major Matt Mason, Sgt. Storm and their friend Capt. Lazer from outer space..." also mentions of Captain Action and Dr Evil. [ Detail Here ]

16 Dec 1968 Daily Press "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. [ Detail here ]

19 Dec 1968 Amsterdam Recorder "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. [ Detail here ]

6 Sep 1969 Tonawanda News "Moon Toys Finally Make Sales History" (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. [ Detail here ]

10 Nov 1969 Union-Sun "Moon Trip Sparked Space Toy Interest" by Frederick M. Winship (UPI)

Short article around an uptick in space toy interest due to moon landing with references to Billy Blastoff, Johnny and Jane Apollo and Major Matt Mason. [ Detail here ]

2 Dec 1969 Amsterdam Recorder "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. [ Detail here ]

2 Dec 1969 Leader Herald "Space Program Could Be Costly This Season" by Allen Nacheman (AP)

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

23 Dec 1969 Knickerbocker News "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). [ Detail here ]

19 April 1972 Niagara Falls Gazette "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). We'd long assumed this caused the cancellation of MMM and here it is quoted in black-and-white. (apologies for the bottom of the image being cut off - that's from the original file) [ Detail here ]
 

Columbus Ledger Enquirer 1995 "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 ]

 

 

 


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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