He may not have looked as space-ready as Major Matt Mason, but don’t let Billy Blastoff’s cherubic little face fool you. This kid packed the skills and the power for some serious interstellar action.
With a battery-powered jet pack on his back, Billy Blastoff was all juiced up and ready to activate the many electric accessories that toymaker Eldon produced for him.
With his equally electric pal Robbie Robot at his side, Billy entered the space toy race with a flourish in 1968.
Little-known Eldon may not have had the resources of a Mattel (producers of Major Matt Mason), but they gave their little guy a pretty nifty gimmick: Billy’s backpack was a power source for every other toy in the line.
A small hole let kids plug in Billy’s ray gun, television set and other small accessories, but most of Billy’s equipment was activated by plugging the jetpack itself into the toy of choice.
The assorted vehicles – the US-6 and US-8 space cars, an outer space dump truck, a long-legged walker, the US-9 flying saucer and others – were all activated under Billy’s power, rolling or walking along when Billy or Robbie was plugged inside.
The toy’s design meant that new batteries didn’t have to be bought every time Billy got a new rig, a boon to cost-conscious parents everywhere.
Billy was the dream alter ego of many a wannabe astronaut in the late 60s, but space-faring was only the beginning of Billy’s interests. The toy’s various incarnations included a scuba diver, fireman, pilot, construction worker (the jetpack was a little harder to explain here, but we’ll call it a welder’s pack) and others, all complete with appropriate tools and vehicles.
Unfortunately, not even this kind of professional diversity could keep Billy on the market past the early 1970s. Billy and Robbie left the action heroics to others, passing instead into prized collectable retirement.