Christmas Morning, 1978: Everything! (Part Two)

Regular readers will know by now the legend of Mikey Walters. D&D module designer, video game programmer, filmmaker, and compelling interview subject, Mikey has recently unearthed some jaw-dropping home video of several Christmas mornings in the 1970s.

See Mikey caress the Death Star! See Mikey fire the Laser Rifle! See Mikey apply decals to the Tie Fighter, play Electroman with his awesome Dad (“Hi, Mom!”), test the crank of the Star Bird Command Base, from which he launches his Star Bird Avenger into the stars! It’s a video prelude to the photo I posted of Mikey last year.

Here’s another one. Christmas, 1976. Look at him go!

Toys seen here include the incredible Star Trek Mission to Gamma VI playset and a Star Trek Tricorder; The Six Million Dollar Man Mission Control Center and Bionic Transport and Repair Station; the Earthquake Tower (“World’s tallest playset!”); and—wait for it—the Space: 1999 Eagle 1.

See all the videos on Mikey’s YouTube channel, and read about Mikey’s memories of those mornings on his blog.

There was a time when our biggest worry was which amazing present to open first. Here it is, in living color.

4 Responses to “Christmas Morning, 1978: Everything! (Part Two)”

  1. 1 WEBmikey December 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    As always, thanks for the post and the terrific writing!

  2. 3 leftylimbo December 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

    As I commented on your YouTube page, this video is epic. Thanks so much for sharing. Wish it had sound!!

  3. 4 RDO September 7, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Christmas 1976…now that would be ‘Year One, BSW (Before Star Wars)’. But wouldn’t the following Christmas (‘Early Bird Special’) be no different being that basically none of the SW figures or spaceships/playsets were available until spring ’78 (almost one whole year after the film was released)? I don’t remember Christmas ’76, but I would guess that would have been an ‘Adventure People’ Christmas for me! Remember, everyone, those (very great, btw) 3.75 inch figures and accompanying playsets/vehicles came before Star Wars (just like, contrary to common knowledge, Run DMC actually incorporated rock guitar sounds into their raps before the Beastie Boys did). I couldn’t imagine ANYONE yet alone the most meticulous toy-player NOT integrating both AP and SW into their action-figure playtime (and later, all whopping six BSG figures and, yes, the also paltry in amount of collectables, Buck Rogers figures – more on both not-so-remarkable entities in a bit; “not-so-remarkable” ESPECIALLY going for the latter of the two)!

    Now 12/25/78…I DO remember! I don’t remember what Star Wars stuff 2nd-grade me got for I already had all 12-backs going into that previous summer along with the grey plastic stand you could order in the mail for all 12 to stand on (and spin side-to-side with the photo backdrop of an X-Wing/Tie dogfight). Perhaps I may have gotten the X-Wing and Tie themselves and/or some of the later-on released figures like perhaps the monsters (I do remember the Death Star Droid being in my Easter basket months later).

    My memories of that Christmas was more Battlestar Galactica-oriented. I got the coloring/activity book. I think I also got the storybook as well. Not sure that the figures were available at the time but do believe the Viper and Cylon ships were available and almost certain I got those (yes, my parents would take away the pellets upon news of that tragedy taking place; same reason why Boba Fett’s ‘missile’ would stay ‘stuck’ in its jetpack). I didn’t get the BSG figures until that spring and it was all six at once.

    And of course I still played with them, but my issue was that of course there weren’t enough of them. Why not an Apollo AND a Starbuck figure? AND Boomer! Colonel Tigh, Baltar, Lucifer, Athena, Cassiopeia, Sheba, Serina, Boxey (to keep Muffit company; and to hang out with the Adventure People kid), those three Borellian Nomen, the Android Sisters, Jolly, Greenbean, etc, etc, etc, but let’s not forget…COUNT IBLIS (Patrick Macnee should have won an Emmy right There and Then!)! I would have liked for the Cylons arm-joints to be able to move to at least not stay in that same exact position (enable they to shoot forward) and by all means allow their legs to move and be able to sit down. And I really wish both ships would have been generally as big as the SW’s X-Wing and Tie, enabling the figures themselves to actually sit inside of them. So what if you would have to buy three Cyclons to man their ship. Either get the two others anyway, or have a Cylon and an Ovion sit up front with the Imperious Leader in the back! The Galactica Shuttle…now that would have been a welcomed addition! Perhaps a Galactica ‘Battle Station’ as well. As for a possible ‘throne room’ for the Imperious Leader himself to sit atop of? I was fine with there not being one available for I would simply have him sit atop my Tootsie Roll coin bank with a Cylon standing below. No sweat! He fit perfectly!

    I also wished that the hands of the generic ‘Colonial Warrior’ and Adama (who, man, looked SO on-point like Lorne) would have been just like the hands of the SW figures along with the guns being about the same size so either gun could fit (e.g. Adama and Han can trade guns) as well as both being able to fire straight-ahead and not off to the side as the case with Adama and the CW. Heck, the Adventure People were more capable of holding SW guns than the BSG figures. But you had to be careful, REAL careful! One of the two firefighters…I broke his thumb by trying to jam my Death Squad Commander’s pistol into his grasp. I was real bummed out. Perhaps I should have tried Han’s gun instead, but – just the same – I almost did the same to the nurse-in-blue by forcing Han’s gun into her hand. It got to the point where I simply had to give any AP figure in-need of a gun Chewbacca’s rifle instead; or just simply be real careful when putting Han’s gun into an adult male figure.

    Star Wars actually did model their figures around Adventure People (practically literally, if you know the history). Only thing SW toymakers did wrong, was not tweak things just enough so maybe guns could fit into AP figures’ hands as well. They had to know that kids buying the figures also had the APs already, and we Gen X kids could improvise (taking out the lightsaber and inserting the back extension of that Imperial pistol; sure enough we all did it)! And BSG should have followed that example, they were in ‘competition’ with SW, but they had to know that they also shared practically the same exact fans/toy-collectors/players. Where was the esteemed Josh Baskin when we needed him? Heck! Zoltar sould have made ME ‘Big’ and somehow land me such a ‘consultant’ job with the BSG toymakers (me and Susan Lawrence…just as long as I get to be on top)!

    And this ESPECIALLY should have been the case with…Buck Rogers! I do get it, that horrible tragedy with the kid and the pellet, but to keep the guns stuck at the hip and not being able to fit into the hand anyway even if you’d somehow ‘cheat’ and break it off? The ‘Empire’ figures, months later, would still have loose guns. Upon getting the Draconian Guard and that gun stuck at hip being case with him, I didn’t even bother asking for the Buck Rogers figure himself. But not before my Mom getting me Draco anyway. I was really bummed at the time. I wanted Killer Kane (w gun he could hold), Tigerman (w gun he could hold), BR himself (same thing), but I just instantly lost interest in collecting/playing! Needless to say, the DG and Draco collected dust in a New York Minute! And not having the ships for the figures to actually fit inside of didn’t help either. I never did get Twiki, but if I was back in 3rd grade knowing what I know now, he’d be the only one I’d get. Either have him hang with Threepio and Artoo, or be a partner-in-crime with the Cylon and/or Death Star Droid.

    Yeah, those were the days…’76 thru ’78 mark a period when it would be apparent that the 3.75 action figure (perhaps the most VITAL invention in toy history) was taking off and, by all means, here to stay! I didn’t care for (’60s) GI Joes in the late-’70s because they were so darn big (not enough space to do enough stuff with), and I didn’t care for the giant-sized SW or BSG figures which, to this day, I can’t believe were actually out after it was apparently realized what a new force the 3.75 figure was. Plenty of anti-Josh Baskins (perhaps Paul Davenports; “I hustle”) working as consultants, perhaps! And as we all saw, GI Joe itself would follow the example in the early-’80s! Can you even imagine the size of the Millennium Falcon suited for giant-sized SW figures?? The one we know of (for the 3.75s) was super-large enough.

    PS – as esteemed they historically are, even ’70s SW toys had their imperfections. No, not that the Han Solo figure’s face actually looked like David Brenner, but the X-Wing Fighter…they should have not had that Artoo-head ‘button’ behind the pilot’s seat. It should have been an empty space for Artoo (or R5D4) to fit into, press the top of the droid down into the shaft to make the wings pop up. This way I wouldn’t have to land the fighter, take the Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot out the cockpit and then take R2D2…out of my pocket.

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