Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mirro Satellite Explorer Helmet

Calling all stars! Real out-of-this-world headgear, for spacemenr (and space-women!). Make believe natenna and earphones. One-way-vision shield (you see out, no one sees in). Of shining, satrdust-resistent aluminum!

This is one of my favorite vintage toys, so reminiscent of the Wernher von Braun-inspired helmets popularized in magazine illustrations and books in the early Fifties, it's the Mirro space helmet.

Made by the Manitowoc, Wisconsin firm, the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co., the Satellite Explorer Aluminum Helmet By Mirro can be dated back by an advertisement in a parent's magazine for November 1956.

through a blurb describing it's preview at an American toy fair, in early 1957 describes the helmet is topped with a realistic spring communication antenna and a cosmic ray face plate (both of which are usually absent from surviving pieces) which allows the wearer to see out but no outsiders can see in.

Link to forums

Some illustrations later on show an extension to the spring antenna with a flat shape, perhaps a propellor, fixed on top.

My helmet is a typical survivor. The face plate was replaced by clear plastic, the "original antenna" as described by the seller was just a piece of twisted coat hanger pretending to be, and the top of the dome was dented. Unfortunately it's difficult to find these soft aluminum helmets completely dent free, even otherwise pristine examples. But it was at a low price, and it cleaned up well for a display.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

British-Built Space Port

Here's an eye-popper I ran across on eBay from two years ago.

This is a British-made space play set, at least that's according to what the seller described. Apparently it's fashioned from wood (plywood? masonite?), dowels or tubes and a few plastic domes, giving it a wonderful hand-made feel not seen in most vintage space toys. It's much different than those we're used to seeing back in the States. Leave it to the British to add their own charming twist in space toys. I love the multiple boomerang platforms and the sky-scraping towers. And those free-form antennea towers... It's sculptural. It's artistic. It's all very googie! The metallic blue and silver paint shows off the amorphic shapes to the fullest effect.

The larger Archer-sized space figures fit nicely in this futuristic play set, as seen in the photos. I only wish I had the manufacturer for this one so that I could research a little history behind it.

The real cool thing about this set is if you're handy at all with a saw and some sandpaper, you could construct something very similar to this space port toy.

. . . You know, it'd be really funny if it turned out that someone with the right artistic talent actually did make this theirself . . .

Space Patrol Chart of the Universe

Captain Midnight's Secret Squadron - Join Up!

This is to certify that the undersigned is an official 1957 member of the Secret Squadron
Non-transferable – Carry this card with You at All Times

Justice through Strength and Courage

Welcome to the 1957 Secret Squadron

I will be Faithful I will be Honest I will be Ready

Signed by Captain Midnight himself

Flight Commander's Promotion Application

Three Space Helmets

Here the are: the General Mills premium for Captain Video, the Arant Plastics bubble and the Banner Plastics helmet with Radar Goggles.

I wonder what General Mills is doing for a cereal premium nowadays?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Captain Video

A vintage episode of Captain Video and his Video Rangers, circa 1950.