People should still be wearing tributes to our Astronauts, but I stroll down the avenue every day without spotting a single Robert Behnken button or T-shirt? Oh well, those glory days of astronaut worship may have passed, but you can still by pieces of the good old days at websites like Hake’s.
I was four-years-old when the “Summer of Star Wars” hit back in 1977, so it stands to reason that most of the 3 3/4″ figures I owned were Star Wars-related. However, I was never above mixing and matching different playsets together, and one such playset that got assimilated into my collection of Star Wars toys was Fisher-Price’s Alpha Probe.
The Alpha Probe was part of Fisher-Price’s Adventure People series, a couple of which our own Doug shared earlier this year. The Alpha Probe came with two astronauts and an escape pod, which fit conveniently into the Alpha Probe’s docking bay.
Although you can’t see it from this angle, on the right-hand side of the Probe there were several buttons which, when pressed, played electronic sounds and caused red lights on the Probe to flash. The set also came with an “air hose” that connected to the ship and the back of either figure. When connected, it gave the illusion that the astronaut was floating in space. You can see it in the picture below.
Since the action figures were all the same size, it was not uncommon for the two astronauts to kick their boots off and play a round of holographic chess in the rear of the Millennium Falcon while Han and Chewie took the Alpha Probe out for a quick smuggling mission. At least in my bedroom …
Both of these ads are from the Stevie Palmer collection. These are both prime examples of early geek marketing. They portrayed techy people as the rebellious prankster and indispensable but often misunderstood info hub. Sound familiar? It is basically how all hipster computer hackers are portrayed today. It was/is pure power fantasy which I ate up with a spoon.
This first ad has Stevie playing a trick on his girl-crush next door neighbor, who is almost convinced that he won some sort of award. How does he do it? A Commodore Amiga of course (and a camera crew, set decorator, wardrobe people). Another reason the 80s were a great time. You could break into other people’s houses and install all sorts of AV equipment and no one cared. Boys will be boys.
The next video has Stevie ascending to the throne of Ubergeek and maybe the ruler of the world. Watch as his hapless and I imagine technically unsavy parents stutter out “hellos” as a cavalcade of 1980s celebrities come to call upon the Commodore wielding boy genius. You know they probably love to make jokes about their boy can build a rocket, but they can’t even … program the clock on the VCR. It still is blink 12:00!!! Oh that’s rich.
These celebs are pure 80s perfection, even the astronauts. For those born too late you should know this. In the 1980s people still kind of thought astronauts were important. What a time to be alive. So who else do we got? The Pointer Sister. Tommy Lasorda. Tip O’Neil. I am sure 10 minutes later Don Johnson and Shadoe Stevens came a calling. Man I wanted an Amiga so badly!