Monday, October 01, 2012

Mystery toy guns of my youth ...

I'm once again asking for help.  Does anyone remember a pair of toy guns from the early to mid 1970's?  The last time I saw them for sale was sometime in the mid 1970's, say 1975, and I want to say that Mattel produced them.  

They were very well built toys, on the high end in price.  

The first toy gun I remember was a pistol gripped full size carbine that fired plastic stripper caps fed single file into a removable magazine in the pistol grip.  The stock was pseudo-wood, more like dense pressed fake-wood that they used on car dashes on old Chevy Impalas.  It was a big gun, full size, adult and a childhood friend had one but the stock kept coming off (mainly because it was held on with one long screw which had become lost ...).  It looked almost Olympic in its design, it was metal and plastic and fake-wood and it weighed and cost almost as much as a decent Daisy BB gun at that time.  I've searched for years on Ebay just to see this toy again and maybe find one cheap enough to own but alas ...

The other toy gun was called "The Black Widow" and I think that Mattel made it as well.  It was a unique looking, wicked black revolver, more waspish than widow.  It had a long barrel, a metal cylinder and it took those 8 shot plastic ring caps that were easier to load than the paper caps but which were such a total step bitch to pry off once you had fired the entire bunch and the cap blasts had melted or distorted the cheap plastic.

I miss the smell of a good, lengthy cap gun fight ... the smoke, the odor wafting on the wind.  Precious childhood memories, filtered through the rays of light of a fast fading year in the cool fall.

Both toy guns were sold and packaged as being the equipment used by urban spec-ops / SWAT teams.  I'm pretty sure these guns came out the same time that Mattel painted their "Heroes In Action"  figures blue and reissued them as "SWAT".  Heroes In Action ... that's another post in the old neural queue soon to come your way.

Well, if else anyone remembers these two toy guns or you have more info on them, drop me a line.

Update - January 28, 2014 - Mystery solved ... I found the carbine in an old J.C. Penny Christmas catalog from 1976.  This item is listed as a "Crackfire Carbine" in one place and as a "Police Task Unit Carbine" under the picture.

The description (4) reads "Crackfire Carbine.  like the ones used by police task units.  Pistol grip holds full load of strip-shot caps (caps not included).  Release safety and fire - the caps eject automatically.  Black and woodgrain finished diecast metal and plastic.  34 1/2 inches long.  3.20 lbs. $9.99".

I'd be lying to you if I told you that, as a 6 year old and a first grader, way back in 1976, I didn't daydream about getting that army play uniform and military gun playset though I didn't like the camo scheme on the Tommy Gun.

Even a year later, as a 7 year old second grader, even being big for my age, this gun was hard to hold and play "guns" with.  It was heavy, too ... big, long and heavy so it wasn't a favorite.  I remember the dark colored packaging of the rifle and I want to say that my falliable childhood memory put this as being marketed as part of the Mattel "Heroes in Action" SWAT offerings.

Of special note is item number (8) - the Rango Rapid-Fire Rifle which would later be repackaged with an Ape mask as part of their Planet of the Apes offerings.  Doubt it?  See here?  Oh, those lazy toy manufacturers.  Mattel also repackaged their old Tommy Gun with an Ape mask as part of the same series though neither a lever action rifle or a Tommy gun was ever used by an Ape in the POTA series.  I'd be willing to go so far as to bet that the Western revolver offered as part of the POTA series toys was also a repackaged older toy.

And a few minutes after I found the mystery carbine I also lucked up on the Black Widow pistol ... it was offered by Mattel, part of the "Crackfire" series and listed as a SWAT offering.

Thank you, Internet, for helping me find the mystery toys of my youth though sometimes my memories are a bit fuzzy ... like the fact that I remembered this revolver had a larger frame / longer barrel but it seems remarkably like a lot of other similar cap revolvers of the time.  Strange ...