Keith Meyers, The Space Station!

Rumors, Prototypes, and Copyrights


Starlog Magazine Prototype Photograph.

C ollectors often write to ask about various rumors that they have heard concerning Major Matt Mason. Some of these are based in fact, others are the work of pure fiction. As a service to our visitors, we’ll try to cover the more common stories that circulate around the Matt Mason universe.

That Strange Vehicle:

Pictured above is a photo that was published in an issue of Starlog magazine a few years ago, and it shows up on the web from time to time. Pictured in the photograph is a prototype Space Station, painted gray like many of the Stations portrayed on boxes of Matt Mason product.

Also on display is a strange, tow line ship that looks like a cross between the Recono-Jet and the Astro-Trac. To our knowledge, this vehicle was never actually produced. Some have speculated that it was intended for the Mattel Sea-Devils line of toys or that it was sold overseas, possibly in Italy. However, there is no evidence that either of these stories is true. Like Or and his orbitor, this is most likely just another Matt Mason toy that never made it off the drawing board.

Men From Earth Comic Book. Copyright 1992.

This is another strange tale. It invovles a man named Joe Ferrira or Joe King, his pen name. A professional comic book artist and former Mattel employee. In the late 1980's, Joe discovered that Mattel had never actually bothered to formally trademark the Matt Mason name and so he filed papers with the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office, and proceeded to try to revive his childhood toy on his own!

Within a couple of years, Joe King had developed a new storyline centered on the life of Joe Mason, the son of the original Major Matt Mason. He planned a comic book, a new toy line, and even a movie. One issue of the comic book was actually published, and storyboards and a script for a movie were developed as well. But then Mattel caught wind of all this and moved in to secure their legal rights to the character.

The movie rights had been sold to Princess Productions, a small film company owned by scream-queen Sybil Danning. She had been cast to play Callisto, who was now a topless female ailen bent of helping out the junior Mason in his new adventures in space! With Mattel putting a halt to the production, the film company went into Chapter 13, and Joe King also suffered near financial ruin.

Despite numerous court rulings in Mattel's favor, Joe King continues to claim to be the copyright owner of Major Matt Mason, often sending email to web sites like this one demanding that he receive copyright credits. In fact, within the last few months, Mattel has even moved legally against ISP’s to have Joe King's web sites removed from the Internet to prevent further infridgement.

The comic book remains the only tangible collectible from these ventures, and it often sells for $15-$20 or more. It is a beautiful piece of work, printed on high quality paper. However, many collectors reject it because it was not produced by Mattel.

Commander Combs, Gulf Oil Figures and More Tales from Texas

We often receive email from new collectors who are seeking information on a line of British Major Matt Mason figures that are said to have never been released in the United States. These figures have names like Commander Combs or Lt. Luke.

Other times they write asking if they should pay $1,000 or more for rare "Gulf Oil Figures" produced by Mattel as give away items for the oil giant. Unfortunately, all of these figures and others can all be traced to one man who runs a “company” in Texas.

Tim Williamson often runs full page ads in Toy Shop featuring many rare Major Matt Mason items. He claims to have a staff of researchers world-wide who find these rare items and prototypes. On the phone to new collectors he sounds credible and well-informed.

But it seems that Mr. Williamson really only hungers for the attention that new collectors pay him. His photographs are often taken directly from magazines like Tomart, and only rarely does anyone receive the items that they order. More often, the check or money order is returned with a note explaining that the item had already been sold.

Mr. Williamson does not appear to be a thief but rather a lonley person who craves the attention of new collectors. So the next time someone claims to have the prototype for Or or a rare figure from Germany. Be sure to check the area code, if it’s in Texas, keep looking!


Copyright 1997 Keith Meyer. All rights reserved.
Revised: February 24, 2006.