You had your Childhood - Now Get It Back!

We’re so excited, it’s almost as if Earth weren’t on the verge of violent extinction at the hands of dreadful Martians. The book, War of the Worlds, and the story it tells have been great favorites for a hundred years, but the 1953 movie is a lynchpin of boomer fans for many good reasons. It has parts as scary as it is intelligent, and it shows so many cool icons of the era (the Flying Wing has a major role!) as to become unforgettable. On the less well-known side, probably because it was poorly distributed and has come into only a few collections, is Archer’s War of the Worlds playset. What, you say? A major motion picture-themed playset that wasn’t made by Marx, Hasbro or Ideal? Not even MPC? but the unknown, untried firm of Archer Plastics?

Who Archer was, the tiny firm that roared very loudly with one of the world’s great playsets, is the subject of one story in this issue of PM with some great B&W photos of the set at the premiere of War of the Worlds, supplied by Charles Jones.

Then there’s another, even less well-known set, but a fabulous take on the same story: Mignot’s War of the Worlds. This incredible and gruesomely imaginative set (wait till you see the woman being carried off by tentacled Martians!) has gone under-appreciated simply because so few have seen it. This one is brought to you by Blast Off author Mark Young.
As if that isn’t enough, this issue David Schafer covers every Archer figure, every Atomic truck, every pose, every dynamic weapon and accessory and all the boxed sets and even the packaging they came in! This is the complete Archer story folks, call it an indispensable Archer 101, and as regards the figures, you’ll never have so compact, concise and colorful a resource as this, ever! Thanks to David Schafer, Mark Young, Charles Jones for making it happen.

The heart of this issue is Archer’s War of the Worlds playset, filled with imaginative, and charmingly art moderne styling. The roaring art deco Defense Trucks, the gigantic weapons of Earth’s only defense, the ray guns, the Sonic Beams, and of course, the evil Men of Mars. The set is a fantastic three-course dinner for the connoisseur of 50’s plastics: dazzling metallic coloring accented with glossy streamlined look. Not only does the box feature fantastic art but the contents are widely seen as true art of the 1950’s, styled almost as if made in the forties looking forward. Once appreciated the desire to add them into a collection is impossible to shake.

Adding to the fun, Mike Poko tells The Tale of Marx’ Great Beasts: The White Ape, and Jim McGough jumps in with his own breathless search for the monster. This one will please the dimes tore aficionados among us, but there is more this issue.

When you mention “store” you wouldn’t think to go down in the basement to find one – but collector Jim Duffy’s basement, features Arnolds Toyland, “recreated exactly as it was back in 1966 where I bought most of my favorite toys.” You’ll find this tale in Kath’s MySide column.

The icing on the cake is a super Reliable (Canada) submarine, Marx’s Robot Factory, news and a discussion of upcoming toy shows where, God willing, you might obtain some of these goodies. It is almost as if Earth weren’t nearing annihilation at the hands of Martian invaders but we are, this time in Playset Magazine! Farewell! And glad to have you aboard!

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