Monday, January 31, 2011

The Arant 'Egg' Helmet

Vintage photo of space boy drawing a bead on a few ne'er-do-well space aliens while keeping his head comfortably pressurized thanks to the egg-helmet

Vintage photo of a grown-up space girl wearing the Arant Plastics egg-helmet. Notice the stares of the crowds behind her, wishing they too owned rhier very own Egg.

The designation of this model on the box simply reads "Space Helmet"... but for my purposes I like to refer to it as the Arant "Egg" helmet.

I've seen these pictured in quite a number of vintage photos, manufactured by Arant Plastics of Patterson, New Jersey. It may not have been as popular as other brands, but it is a marvelous example of toy space helmet technology.

Unlike the Space Patrol bubble helmet, this model completely covers the wearer's face, with just a few air slots over the mouth. It seems to be designed for both younger and older space people alike, a one-size-fits-all invention, thanks to it's revolutionary egg shape.

Also ahead of it's time is the intellegent use of wind-power through the pinwheel tipped-antennea. Or maybe its there to provide lift? Or maybe just to cool-off the wearer during those trips to Venus or Mercury? We may never know...

By the way, either some models of this helmet seem to feature just the simple spring antennea with no props, or the pinwheel was removed by the consumer.

Captain Meteor Holster

Sometimes a little accesory added to the main showpiece can be a work unto itself. Such is the case with this silvery finished leather ray gun holster. Originally paired with belt and buckle, this housed a small yet deadly sparkling space pistol measures 7.5" in length, of plastic construction with replaceable flint.

There were at least two versions of a Captain Meteor ray gun holster. This one is the flashier of the two in my opinion. Judging from the strong atomic graphics I'd date this as a 1950's issue.

Space Kids

Taken from the series of photographs featured in the earlier post, The Day Ricky Won a Rocket taken by LIFE photographers in 1954.

Space Patrol Outer Space Helmet

Scene from the movie "The Rocket Man" featuring a Space Patrol Outer Space Helmet

The most classic space helmet of them all, the full clear plastic bubble. The Space Patrol Outer Space Helmet, came with an inflatable oxygen tank and hoses. They didn't come any closer to recreating the real deal than this one! The perfect example following was offered on auction two years ago, complete with the box and instruction sheet.

These helmets are seen in toy catalogs dating at least back to 1953. There's also reports that the vinyl part may have also been offered in other colors besides blue. When considering a purchase, check whether the clear plastic has become discolored and if the vinyl has become stiff and brittle. Often this part may be missing all together.

Below I have another near-pristine example of this fantastic helmet, seen up for auction on Unfortunately for me, and very lucky for someone else, this one was offered (and immediately sold) through a "Buy Now" option. The Space Patrol helmet is still supposed to be quite common. But for many years this holy-grail of toy space helmets has persistently eluded your friendly neighborhood Space Commander over and over.

Oh well, nobody claimed that being a collector of things vintage and spacey was ever for the faint hearted ;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Curtains for the Spaceman's Bedroom

Genuine barkcloth drapes with colorful depictions reminiscent of the 1950 movie Destination Moon.

Magic Outer Space Cape

Where would the junior spaceman be if he didn't have a styling cape like this one? With this, all one would need is a bubble helmet, a disintegrator ray gun and and a rampaging horde of Martians.

But what's this? The small box at the spaceman's feet reads "This Plastic Cape Is A Toy And Has No Magic Qualities."


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Day Ricky Won a Rocket

Januaray 12, 1954 - It was a chilly winter day when Ricky Walker beheld the sight of his life, a full-scale rocket ship roll-up into the driveway of his family's modest home in Washington, D.C.
Today was declared "Ricky Walker Day!" Today at 3:15 pm at the town square he was to be officially presented as the grand prize winner of the Terra V "Ralston Rocket." And here the rocket would complete the final leg of a promotional tour for the television program Space Patrol, Weather-Bird Shoes and Ralston Cereals.

It all began back in September 1953 with the announcement of the "Name The Planet Contest," a 10,000 pound "contest to end all contests" as kids all across America clambered to become the lucky winner of the rocketship clubhouse.

Rocket ship prize winner, Ricky, wearing his space helmet

Kids greeting ship in Washington's square in cardboard space helmets, truck on which it came is also part of prize, Ricky will sell truck and keep space ship in backyard of his parent's modest home.

Inside the ship is equipped as a clubhouse, with eight folding bunks, table, benches, phone, kitchen and power generator.

From the Photographers of LIFE
Location: Washington, D.C., US
Date taken: January 13, 1954
Photographer: Yale Joel

Launch this excellent fan site for more: Space Patrol Terra V Rocket

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ultra-Ultra-Rare Spacemen

Well kids, you're going to have to sell a lot of newspapers to save of for this set of spacemen figures - but boy, take a look at 'em!

This is a whole set of mold making masters of pristine detailed figures made by Ferriot Brothers, the talent behind the absolute best sculpted figures for toy maker Marx. The solid metallic figures were sent around to factories to make the soft molds that the plastic toys were cast from. These didn't see a high production run, and others like the "Tomik Cannon" never saw production at all. Look, they even still have their factory identification tags attached.


Congratulations, You are now a Junior Rocket Ranger!

Now raise your right hand and repeat after me:
"I solemnly promise always to travel in a clear orbit of Friendship and Helpfulness to others and chart a steady course toward Self-Improvement and Good Citizenship."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Welcome Space Cadets!

I'm glad you've finally made it to the Academy! With my other vintage space blog I kept finding topics I wanted to post which didn't seem to fit among all the rocket science, thus the Toy Chest was created. Now I can finally communicate with all you cadets out there! Think of this as your teleporter for all the 14 years and younger crowd - or ummm, for those of you who still think you are.

So hold on, all you rocket rangers... It's going to be a bumpy ride (as soon as that kid stops hogging the dime-fed rocket ride and gives somebody else a turn)!