Sunday, May 24, 2015

These Guys & Gals Get No Respect - Davy Crockett's Almanack: Tim-Mee U.S. Air Force Figures

Evan Lewis at Davy Crockett's Almanack posts some neat mid-century Tim-Mee Toys U.S. Air Force figures in honor of Memorial Day.

Check 'em out here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The T. Cohn Captain Video Superior Space Port - A Museum Quality Quasi-Spaceage Toy

A complete 75 piece Captain Video Superior Space Port by T. Cohn, Inc.!

This might seem like advertising, but it's not. It's really just a big Neato!

Captain Video and His Video Rangers was a ground breaking sci-fi space adventure television series that aired between June 1949 and April 1955 on the American DuMont Television Network. The Captain was the first action hero specifically invented for TV and the show was the first regularly scheduled space drama on television. As with all things popular in pop culture, Captain Video was soon popping up in media outside the box. Fawcett Comics published a six issue comic book series in 1951, and Columbia Pictures produced a movie serial, Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere, the same year. Admirers of the show could join the Video Rangers Club and buy stuffs like games, records, rockets, and helmets. Sponsors of the show offered mail-in premiums or free items in cereal boxes like rings, decoders, and small flashlights - all the items had cool special functions. And they are all treasures in today's collectors market.

This Captain Video Secret Seal Ring has a Buy Now price of $249.99 at eBay
This Captain Video Mysto-Coder decoder has a 36% markdown Buy Now price of $95.97 on eBay
The seller claims that this is the highest graded copy - A 9.0 Very Fine/Near Mint Fawcett Comics Feb. 1941 Captain Video issue #1. The Buy Now price is $1,385.00 on eBay.

Now, getting back to the T. Cohn Captain Video Superior Space Port. In her 2012 book, 1950s "Rocketman" TV Series and Their Fans, Cynthia J. Miller wrote this:

The set now up for grabs at eBay is listed at the heavy duty fun shop. It's run by Tom Frey - the author of the highly acclaimed 1994 book, Toy Bop: Kid Classics of the 50's & 60's.
As Toy Bop was coming together, one of its two largest sections became, space toys. In it, I wanted to include the most exciting and dazzling toys I could beg, borrow or buy. The Superior Space Port by T. Cohn was a toy that became a welcomed photo included in the book. Since then the playset has been safely tucked away over 20 years until now...This is a complete 75 piece set in near mint unused condition except for setting up for photos. First Toy Bop, then for this eBay ad.
Helmets, Rangers, Rockets, and Launcher
Robots and Interplanetary Space Men
Atomic Space Cannon
Captain Video Stamped Space Vehicles
Tin Lithographed Ground Level Space Drome
Nine spectacularly lithographed tin walls depicting a futuristic city...
The Mechanical Features: The Rotating Radar Screen and Controls in the Upper Tower, The Wind-Up Space Alarm, The Atomic Cannon, The Space Ship Launcher and Two Burgundy Space Ships, and a Rocket Launcher with Three Rockets
Back in the day, the complete T. Cohn Superior Space Port sold for $5.39. This particular set's Buy Now price is $1,250.00. Tom Frey: This dazzling Superior Space Port is recommended for adult collectors to display rather than any age children to play with. Museum Quality indeed - you can even find one in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA.

So yeah, Neato!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The U.N.C.L.E. GUN - A Cold War Weapon That Keeps On Giving

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (NBC TV, September 1964 - January 1968)

U.S. Operative Napoleon Solo and Russian Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission working for U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement). They battle a mysterious international syndicate known as THRUSH (Technical Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity), which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons.

That's the set-up. Below is a screenshot of Solo during a tense moment in The Iowa Suba Affair episode. He's holding the much coveted U.N.C.L.E. GUN - in this shot it's a Mauser carbine.

Cut to a close-up of the weapon - it's a Walther P38 carbine...!(?)

That's a neat bit of trivia pointed out by Brad Ferguson - the master craftsman at U.N.C.L.E. GUNS, the go to place for fab replicas. Like this P38 carbine:

It could be the real thing, yeah? If a collector wants one it'll cost a nice chunk-a-change. The all metal semi-auto blank gun (which fires 8mm blanks) alone sells for $575.00 - that's not including all the extras that make it the carbine version. Still, for a super-agent U.N.C.L.E. collector, the price is reasonable for this fab work of craftsmanship.

And then there's this...

It's the 1965 Man From U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo Gun set! The toy weapon was designed by Reuben Klamer, and his staff at Toylab studios and marketed by Ideal. Rather than being based on the Walther P38 or the Mauser, this gun appears to be more of a standard .45 automatic. This kit has it all - the cap gun that 'Converts Into Rifle With: Stock, Silencer, Telescopic Sight, [and] Bipod' and it comes with an U.N.C.L.E. No. 6 plastic badge and a 'United Network Command For Law And Enforcement' membership card. Below is the listing from a 1960s Wards' catalog. Their version came with a holster. Notice the price.

The instruction sheet gives details on how to lock and load the caps clip, and the cleaning of the gun. Of course there's a nice detailed accessory assembly graphic as well.

The Wards' price was listed at $3.99. This particular set sold in most stores for $4.99. In March 2015, the final bid for the set at Hake's Auction #214 was $1,075.25.

So there it is. The moral of the story: Cold War weapons, real or imagined, are pretty damned expensive.