The Mini-Martians have landed! I was so happy when I snagged one of the hardest to find and most sought toys on my wish list: the Mini Martians, made in Japan in 1967 by Swedlin as an exclusive for Sears department store.
1967 Sears catalog ad.
A perfect confluence of the mid-1960s mod, space-race, and small doll fads, the Mini-Martians were 4 1/2 inch tall vinyl figures with moveable arms and heads, dressed in day-glo "Carnaby Comet" fashions. Like so many dolls of this period, the Martians had a vinyl dollhouse with a vacuum-formed, brittle plastic interior. Their scarcest accessory was a blue flying saucer car. Made for such a short time for a limited marketplace, and from fragile materials, the Martians are rare finds today.
The Mini-Martians Star House, 15 1/2 inches wide.
Inside the Star House, the Mini-Martians had a sleeping loft, closet with space suits, a space viewer screen, a panoramic window with a lovely view of the galaxy, and a parking terrace for an (attached) jet car.
The original catalog ad reads:
"Martian Star House. $3.99.
Far beyond earth's bustling pace Mini-Martians dwell at ease. Zooming around in 'outer space,' Mini-Martians live and play. Nestled among the stars and comets...a home so streamlined, all their own. Brightly colored outside and in. Space car parks on terrace platform. Two elevated bunks for sleeping. Video scanner to check on pals...Vinyl house closes for visits to 'other planets.' "
This toy came out a few years before I was around, but if I had been, that dreamy ad copy alone would have sold me. Who wouldn't want to live in a house of her own nestled among the stars and comets?
Inside the Star House.
Closet with space suits hanging on the wall.
Star Car parked on the terrace.
The Martians themselves are adorable and funky, dressed in brightly colored felt and metallic foil clothing with teeny tiny space boots (often missing). Each Martian came with a name, described in the catalog copy, which introduced them thusly:
"Mini-Martians. $1.49 each.Futuristic sprites a mere 4 1/2 inches tall. They'll take you to their world above where make-believe is so much fun...Remove boots for barefoot space walks. Dressed in supersonic styles. From Japan. Collect all 6 and have your own Mini-Martian community."
I'm a few short of a community, but was lucky to find 2 in minty condition (with their boots, even!), while the house came with a couple of more-played-with Martians.
Professor Pook appears to be the villain of the bunch.
He's got those sinister-looking pointy-down eyebrows...
Marti is the boy Martian, while Bonnie, below,
And here is the seldom-seen "Jet Car,"
for jaunts around the universe.