In Part Two of what I guess is now a series of looks back at my favorite toys from childhood 1960s Christmases, I want to introduce you to Major Matt Mason (surprisingly, not a product of the 3M Corporation).
I think it was a bit unusual, even back in the groovy Sixties, to have television ad copy read in rhyme. I believe this poem, titled "The Misbegotten Moon of Major Matt Mason," was actually one of the lesser-known works of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Penn Warren, based on a short story by Chekhov.
My little brother and I spent many hours of pleasure taking Major Matt and Sergeant Storm (as an enlisted man, he didn't rate a first name) on adventures across the floor in our dad's study. We would have been green with envy, though, if we'd seen the swanky fantasy play area the boys in the TV commercial have their space station set up in. Not many parents would let their children bring in beach sand and move boulders into the living room, even if they did look like those cardboard imitation boulders used on the original Star Trek episodes.
I don't remember the Captain Laser character at all. Being a battery operated giant, he probably had a giant price tag, which might explain why my parents never saw fit to bring him home to join our crew. Besides, being raised on Mars and all, could you really trust him? Would Major Matt wake up one day in the space station to find one of his rubberized legs chewed off up to his hips, with Captain Laser just licking his lips, his red eyes pulsing rapidly?