Major Matt Mason

Does anyone recall this action figure from the early 70’s? It was a fully poseable astronaut figure, and there was a space station and luner rover type vehicle. (I know - the young ones are asking, “What’s a lunar rover?”) If you remember this, can you tell me if he was based on some type of TV show?

There was no Matt Mason TV show but the toy was pretty kick-ass. The only real problem with the MMM toys was the bendable arms in a lot of the figures were just flexible rubber (accordian tupe tubing) with a wire in the center and those tend to dry rot and the wire tends to heat-stress and snap.

There are a lot of people who collect this toy and some great resources on the web, Including people who make replacement arms for the reasons I mentioned.

I had one, and don’t remember any TV show. I think this was one of the first made-up-from-wholecloth action figures.

I loved this toy, and I believe it went back to the 60’s. “Major Matt Mason” will get you 3,000 hits on google. They are very collectable.

It actually must have been the late '60s. I got all that stuff when I still believed in Santa Claus. I do not recall any TV show, I think it was just more of a NASA tie-in.

(I remember all this because I got up about at about 10PM on Christmas Eve, to ask if it was OK to get a drink of water. There was my Mom wrapping the lunar rover. I got an answer, took care of business and went back to sleep. The next morning I got the Rover from Santa Claus and never made the connection! It was not until years later that I dredged up the memory and went DOH!)

The rover had two 4-spoked “wheels” without rims and the “tail” dragged on the ground, correct?

Major Matt Mason was one of my favourite childhood toys. To the best of my knowledge, there was never a TV show, although if you go here you can apparently download the original commercials. I’ve never tried the download, so I can’t vouch for it.

The Major seems to be quite big on the Internet these days.

And my mom made me throw mine away. Thanks for revealing your ages, everyone.

I won one in a coloring contest, including the rover and moon base. I am not much of an artist now, so I wonder how many others “won” and got free stuff?

Yeah Major Matt Mason was one of my favorite toys, I even made up a space capsule out of a shoe box for him. He was the one toy that I took with me when I had ear surgery at 8, knowing I was going to be confined to the hospital for two weeks…Matt and I shared a lot of memories. When I saw toy story I had a glimmer of recognition, after all what was Buzz Lightyear but an embodiment of all the things I did with Matt. Sadly like a lot of other kids I either threw him away or had him sold at a garage sale…I may have to go over to eBay and bid on one…

Nostalgic in Saskatchewan:

You know you’re dating yourself when you said you spent two weeks in the hospital for ear surgery.

I just went to some of the MMM sites, and it brought back lots of memories of crawling around in the basement, playing with MMM and his accessories. I never knew he had other characters with him, though.

Yes, I remember MMM from my kidhood, and DAMN I recently (past 6 months) heard the story behind his creation, and of course I’ve forgotten it. What I do remember:

I concur with everyone else, there was no tv show; I seem, to recall that MMM’s creation was a reaction to GI Joe – either as a competitor’s rival, or as a non-combat-oriented clone. Damn I wish I remembered more about how MMM and GIJ are related. Help me, help me.

“… Mattel’s Maann iinn Spaaace!” I can still hear that voice in my head!


Oh yes, I was big on MMM toys circa 1970. I had the battery-powered tracked vehicle which towed the “sphere” trailer inside which the “Spock” ripoff chracter rode. I also had the green alien character who came with a large pistol which fired a “beam” of yellow string when you squeeezed a plastic bellows. A friend of mine had the all-tereain “spider crawler” vehicle which was really cool. There was alos a rocket pack which fitted onto an action figure and involved a pair of strings which allowed the character to shoot accross the hall when you pulled on them but which very quickly became hopelessly tangled.

Oh yeah, I think “Calisto” was the name of the string shooting alien! And then there was the relatively Giant Captain Laser, with flashing chest and ray-gun attachments! Wasn’t there also a “Steve Storm” or somebody - a guy in a red suit, IIRC?

And I think the sphere trailer was made to go with a uni-tred vehicle (an alternative to the Space Crawler).

Shesh, as I’m typing, a hundred memories come back. Like peeling and sticking on all those decals that came with everything.

…and don’t forget Matt’s politically correct (tho’ low-ranked) Black friend in the red spacesuit, Sgt. Storm, or those sattelite launchers that you put a black powder cap in, and fired a whirly thing. But what was the name of the blond-haired, blue-eyed Captain? I had the Space Crawler, which really creeped out our big German Shepherd, who was terrified by the thing. And of course on top of the Space Station was a purple strobe thing, which was pretty cool. I think there was some kind of Space Cannon, too.

As squeels said, the jet backpacks lasted about a day before they were so enmeshed that the strings had to be cut. I know that these toys were out in circa 1968-69, because I recall having them in Saskatchewan, and we moved from there in 1970 (when we moved, Mum gave away all my coolest toys–MMM, my Creepy Crawlers, a Big Bruiser towtruck [with working winch!] my 2-level Hot Wheels Powerhouse, my secret agent briefcase [Jonny 7??], and about a billion Dinky Toys. Thanks, Mum–I could have paid for a year of university with that stuff!!)

I’m pretty sure Major Matt Mason dates from the mid-late 60’s. Mattel created him as a response to the space craze of the time. It would have been right around the first Apollo missions.

Does anyone remember ‘Billy Blastoff’? He was a rip-off of Major Matt Mason, but aimed at smaller kids. He had a ‘backpack’ which contained batteries and a motor, and the motor had a little gear coming out of the bottom (like a power takeoff). Then you could get all kinds of add-ons for Billy, and his backpack powered it all. He had a crawler like Major Matt Mason’s, a cool little three-wheeled car, etc.