Thursday, October 8, 2020

Invaders from Mars! or at least my Neighbor's House...

I'm afraid I'll need to stretch my inclusion of not-necessarily-Halloween-related items again today.  But hey, aliens are scary, right?  And these are supposed to be aliens, I think...or maybe they're just supposed to be our own astronauts, who technically are aliens when they land on other planets.  Oh, heck, let's just get on with it.

As these posts sometimes do, this one begins with a distant memory...and a story.  Not a great story, but a story nonetheless.

Back when I was about 9 or 10, my neighbor invited me over to his birthday party.  It wasn't much of a birthday party.  Just cake.  But hey, who was I to refuse?  Adorning his cake were plastic spacemen.  The most I ever got on my birthday cakes were those candy letters that spelled "Happy Birthday, Tommy" and some candles.    ** Insert Gratuitous "cute picture" of me**

But these Spacemen fascinated me.  I'd seen those cheap cake decoration figures before, baseball and football players scattered across a field of icing, but these were more substantial.  Almost like action figures.  I'm not sure if it was offered to me, or I just assumed it was free for the taking, but I took one of the Spacemen home with me.


He quickly joined the ranks of my other action figures in their adventures, a 1970's "Buzz Lightyear', if you will.

At some point soon after getting him, I decided I would stick him on a branch of the oak tree in our front yard. For some reason, it was a fascination to me knowing he was out there through the wind, rain, and snow, night and day, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.  I would climb the tree often to visit him, but rarely removed him the branch he straddled.  He lived there for at least 10 years.  One day when I was in my late teens, I was showing him to my niece and nephew.  I foolishly tossed him down to them and missed the intended target of their waiting hands. He hit the cement sidewalk and broke his leg and arm off.  In space, they heard me scream. I glued his leg back on (his arm disappeared somewhere in the grass), but his days of high living were over and he went into storage.

Cut to a sale last summer where I'm digging around in a box of miscellaneous toys and I found these two.

The best part was, their helmets (which I didn't even know were a thing) were in the box.

A little research revealed these figures are referred to as "Ajax" Spacemen, after one of the companies that produced them, though it appears they were produced by a number of different companies.

This article over at Cool and Collected covers all the bases and basics.  There he mentions some eBay auctions listing them as Wilton Cake decorations, which was my initial thought, and would support their use by my neighbor, however, looking through my 1979 edition of the Wilton catalog, I could find no evidence they were offered.

These spacemen now stand on the shelf above me, their wounded comrade no longer alone.


  1. wow, these are so cool. i don't think i've ever heard this story! they have a very cool vintage Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon vibe.

  2. Those are some groovy boots they are wearing. That's funny that it survived in a tree for 10 years.


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