Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Who does't remember Alf, the friendly alien ? (to everyone except cats... Kitty kitty kitty, where are you ?) This TV about an alien entering the Tanner's family was really fun to watch in the 80ies. Forget E.T. wanna go home. This one was there to stay !

Alf (large plush), Coleco Industries Inc., China

Alf (small plush), (manufacturer unknown), Korea

Alf (rubber figurine), Bully, W.Germany

Alf (rubber figurine), Bully, W.Germany

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Captain Harlock, Herlock, Albator...

As a child, he was my favorite pirate. This Leji Matsumoto cartoon hero was the first of a series of "Space Opera's" that became a genre in its own. Showed as a children's cartoon on French TV in 78, against the evil "Sylvidres" - Albator (as I know him) has a much more mature message than most cartoons. First of all, he is not a superhero. Not invincible. Definitely human. Full of doubts and questions. But he has an ideal and takes decisions, many of them putting his, and the life of his crew, at risk. Lots of toys were produced, in different countries, since this cartoon has been a hit in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and lots of South American Countries.
Later, it would come back in a new series (Albator 1984 - Arcadia of my Youth).

The original toys were much more naive - lots of them not even signed and just given away as prizes at county fairs...

Albator (unmarked) - blown plastic - France

Group of original Harlock dolls

Albator - parachute toy, France
Capitan Harlock, wooden cut-out, Italy
Then came "collector" statues. This one, made of resin, is a beauty - very fragile but oh soo detailed !

Albator - pre-painted resin statue 
(unknown) - Japan. France ? 1990's
Albator (detail) - pre-painted resin statue (unknown)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


You don't need only a ride to go to space, but also some cool clothing - or clothes that keep you cool. The following spacemen show clearly what it takes...

Space Parachute Men, Albert & Son Inc. New York, made in Hong Kong

Space Parachute Men (detail), Albert & Son Inc. New York, made in Hong Kong

Space Parachute Men, Albert & Son Inc. New York, made in Hong Kong

And the parachute ? Well, since there is definitely no AIR in space, I don't know. Maybe if they have to bail out of a burning spaceship when they are somewhere on a planet with an atmosphere...

Astronaut, Alpia-Bergamo, Italy,

Astronaut, Alpia-Bergamo, Italy,

Helmet CHECK. One antenna on helmet CHECK. (to speak with base)... Two antennas ? Oh yes. The second is to listen to his favorite radio station when he stands guard. Hmmm. Do they have FM on Mars ?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Futuristic Space Cars

Space Car, Wannatoy, USA, 1950's

Space Car, Wannatoy, USA, 1950's
Space Car, Wannatoy, USA, 1950's
Cars have, since the 20th century, been the vehicle used by millions to get from one place to another. Nothing changes in the future, or will it ? The vision that the past had about future transportation came from reactors and jets from the early sci-fi movies like Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon. Bubble tops were all the mode (you had to see stars, right ?) and streamline design at its peak.

Streamlined Car, Ideal, USA, 1950's

Other futuristic element of the times... fins. Not only Cadillacs had them... The space toys of the baby boomers also. 

Futuristic Car, Hubley, USA, 1950's
Futuristic Car (detail), Hubley, USA, 1950's
Rocket Car, Ideal, USA, 1950's
Some of these vehicles of tomorrow did in fact exist, styling concepts of another age, or specially built for Hollywood. One of the most striking examples is the Lincoln Futura, a Ford concept model that soon would become the TV series Batmobile with some work of George Barris' Kustom shop.

Lincoln Futura (built model), Monogram-Revell, USA,
1950s (1980s reissue)

Cars became more automated... Why need a steering wheel, when computers and gauges can do all the work for you ? And turbines, YES ! Out goes the combustion engine... cars of the future need power trains of the future. Atomic, jet, neutrons and the like are some of the names characterizing the vehicles of that time.

Futuristic Car Blizzard, Germany, 1960's

They sit facing each other and chatting ! The car drives
itelf, or so it seems !

Other tip, if you want something to sound out of the tomorrow-land, apply the X-factor. The army did it (Nasa renamed all supersonic jets in the 50s X-something) and of course toy industry stepped right in.

X-91, General Moldings & Plastics Corp., USA, 1950's

Non-Fall Roundabout Car, USA, 1950's

And yes, Bubble-tops and more bubbles... Discretion was never an issue... Full visibility, cockpit look was the important thing.

Futuristic Car, Tuffy Toys, USA, 1950's

And when really, really, no bubble tops were allowed, well, than yes, astronauts could go convertible ! Don't forget your helmet though !

Futuristic Car, Plasticraft, USA, 1950's

Futuristic Car, Mattel, USA, 1950's

And the Russians ? Well, they got Gagarine going around in this futuristic version of the Lada :

Futuristic car, unknown, CCCP, 1950's