BEST. GIFTS. EVER. Advent Calendar Day 2: Space!

Best Gifts Ever - small

As part of this year’s advent calendar, we’re taking a look at the best gifts ever across time, and well, Space.

Space: 1999 (1976)

British television is amazing. From an American prospective, you get a glimpse of multiculturalism that doesn’t require you to understand a new language or, god forbid, read while you are watching a show. In a world that is increasingly filled with content produced by a ever decreasing number of entities, being a kid first tapping into some other place’s entertainment is fascinating and freeing. It was a sudden influx of variety and options, and kept kids like me glued to PBS, one of the only places you could find this stuff!

Space: 1999‘s lovingly laughable premise is that in the far distant year 9/9/1999, an explosion of nuclear waste on the far-side of the Moon launches it and all the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha uncontrollably into the depths of space. Yes, an explosion on the Moon turns it into a sort of a runaway moon/rocket-ship with a research base attached. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.

As cool as this Gerry and Sylvia Anderson produced show was, this article is about the toys – and boy, were there some awesome ones from this series…

Space: 1999 Eagle 1 Spaceship by Mattel

From: Ebay Click to embiggen.
From: Ebay
Click to embiggen.
Near as I can tell, Mattel but this playset/vehicle/work of art out somewhere in the middle of the 1975-1977 run of the show. For a 70s toy, it’s pretty detailed and intricit, and the thing would have worked equally well as a display piece of a model. The best thing about space toys is that you can get them past your parents easier than most, because it’s easy to make a case that this thing is, if not educational, at least a gateway into getting interested in a stable career like engineering or research or anything other than an internet comedy-writer.

That line drawing of a kid probably makes more money than I do.
That line drawing of a kid probably makes more money than I do.
And even if you didn’t become a fabulously successful celebrity astronaut after your folks broke down and bought you this monster, you could still pay the rent today by selling this toy on Ebay. Seriously, I’ve seen the box itself sell for $70 and the toy go for hundreds. People are selling pieces of the Eagle 1 for repairs on other Eagle 1s – are these things actually functional in some way? Is anyone out there certain they’ve seen the moon since 99? Maybe it’s missing and it’s been replaced by a giant egg and we’re all just being cowed by the Technocracy to believe it’s still there! Those poor lost souls on Moonbase Alpha! Maya!

Um. On the off-chance this is just a toy and not a tiny replica of an actual space vessel lost with the moon and all crew, they can still be snagged on Ebay and via collectors worldwide.

From: Ebay  Click to embiggen.
From: Ebay Click to embiggen.

“It’s a space vehicle! It’s a headquarters and living quarters on Moon Base Alpha! With three 3″ TV characters!…Command and engine modules detach! Make a mini-spaceship!…Module hatch opens, room for 2!…Over 2 1/2 feet long! With 3 characters from Moon Base Alpha!”

The thing was several feet long, came with three figures molded to ridiculous positions and proportions, and had opening doors and hatches and removable weapons and landing gear and rockets. One of the figured mysteriously didn’t come in a spacesuit like all the others, which opens up playtime to hilarious and dark scenarios that make “The Cold Equations” seem cute. If you never got one as a kid, and can’t afford to drop a few hundred for one now, I suggest taking your unloved self here to find out more about this and other toys in the Space: 1999 line.

Got a fond gift memory you’d like to share? Simply email [email protected] and ask us about writing a guest post!

We’re always interested in hearing from fans and sharing their stories. And if you are a toy maker or seller interested in sponsoring a post, we can make that happen too!


About Frank 181 Articles
Is just this guy, you know? Ignore his social media ramblings on Twitter or Facebook.