From Denmark, Germany, Italy and the UK… Action Man, Action Team, Micronauts, Barbie, Pocketeers, Power Machines, Engineer Set, Fix-it Trucks and Boaterific.
She’s breaking up! She’s breaking up!
“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster!”
… so went the opening lines from the Six Million Dollar man TV series.
Produced by Kenner in the US in 1975, The ‘Colonel Steve Austin’ 13 inch action doll complete with bionic eye and removable bionic modules was based on the popular TV show character starring Lee Majors.
The doll became an instant toy hit around the world. Additional figures were introduced to the line including a popular Jaime Sommers doll – the Bionic Woman (for which a separate TV series was made). Other characters included Oscar Goldman, Maskatron, Fembot, and a Bionic Bigfoot figure! Clothing, accessories and playsets were also available.
French advertising. Meccano.
US advertising. Kenner.
Kerplunk was made by Ideal Toys in 1967. Players load the tower with 30 sticks to create a ‘nest’ then place 40 marbles on top of the nest. Players take turns in carefully removing the sticks to prevent any marbles from falling. Fallen marbles accumulate in designated player trays at the base of the tower. The winner is the player with the least amount of fallen marbles at the end of the game.
Beautiful Crissy was first marketed by Ideal Toys in 1969. The doll has a unique feature whereby her hair can be ‘grown’ by adjusting a switch on her back to make it longer or shorter. Crissy measures just over 17 inches in height (approx 43 cm) and comes with fashion outfits and accessories, as well as a range of ‘family and friends’ dolls to keep her company.
Scans taken from the Ideal Toy company dealer catalogue, 1972.
Masters of the Universe 7 inch record story book. 1985. France.
I love how they used the actual toys to illustrate the cover of this!
1983 Masters of the Universe 7 inch record from France, and Secret of the Dragon’s Egg Super Adventure
Masters of the Universe Danish comic cover 1987
Two ads, Masters of the Universe toys
Mattel relaunched the Masters of the Universe toy line with a 1989 line called He-Man, which featured a more streamlined look for the action figures. The storyline shifted the adventures of He-Man and Skeletor away from Eternia and into outer space.
He-Man and Masters of the Universe transfers
Castle Greyskull maze puzzle page
“In 1974, the iconic Kinder Surprise was launched in Europe. All children love chocolate, playing games and discovering new things. And so, the concept of an egg with a surprise toy was created, representing a special joy-filled moment to be shared between parents and their children.” From Kinder.com
As a lover of both toys and chocolate, Kinder Surprise (also known as Kinder Eggs) made by the Italian company Ferrero, is pretty hard to resist around the scanning rooms of TVTA! Many of the toys contained within the chocolate eggs have become collectable over the years, even giving rise to a reproduction market in some instances. The toys often require simple construction and contain fun action features. Many of the toys are collectable figurine sets featuring famous characters like the Smurfs, Astérix, Mickey Mouse and Friends, Disney Princesses, Shrek, Superheroes, Star Wars Hippos, Hello Kitty and others.
Below are some toy photos as put together by TVTA along with a selection of international ads featuring the much-loved egg and some of the toys available.
KINDER SURPRISE ADVERTISING
US comic books ads, 1970s.
Sandwiched between the pages of a multitude of heroes were toy adverts ranging from die cast giant Dinky to model kit makers Monogram to Ricochet Racers to the wonderful and strange offerings of Heroes World merchandise. Here are few goodies from some recent scans.
“Sea-Monkeys” is the marketing name given to Artemia – a genus of the aquatic Brine Shrimp able to produce dormant eggs which hatch from their state of suspended animation when mixed with water and crystals.
These cleverly marketed “pets” were the brainchild of Harold Von Braunhut who in 1957 sold his creature-kits as ‘Instant Life’. In 1962 the name was changed to Sea-Monkeys and became popular worldwide thanks to a massive advertising drive in comic books.
Von Braunhut was also notable for inventing and marketing X-ray Specs – glasses which were advertised in the back pages of comics, usually alongside an illustration and description ‘suggesting’ the ability to see through clothes and skin.
Spot the difference?