Synopsis of Toy

“No mission is impossible for him”

Mattel’s 1977 Pulsar doll was like a bizarre cross-breeding between a Visible Man model and an aging Six Million Dollar Man figure. Pulsar, ”the ultimate man of adventure,” was a fourteen-inch plastic action figure very similar in design to the Bionic Man line.

With one profound difference.

The interior of Pulsar's chest was visible—a real innovation in the toy world. Not only could you see Pulsar’s organs and digestive system, you could watch them in action. When Pulsar’s back was pressed, his heart pumped, his lungs filled with air and his veins coursed with blood. If that wasn’t enough, Pulsar was also dressed snappily in a red and black two-tone spandex jumpsuit. Pulsar’s head also opened up to reveal a brain-like landscape with a small peg in the middle. Holographic “mission disks” could be set on the peg. They didn’t really do anything, but they looked cool.

One of Pulsar’s curious aspects was that he appeared to be old. His white hair and features indicated that Pulsar might be in his early 60’s. In spite of his advancing years, Pulsar still had it going on with a body that looked like it was shaped by Jack LaLane himself.

But what good is the Ultimate Man of Adventure without an adventure? Really, no good at all. And while it was fun to pretend that Pulsar would fight with The Six Million Dollar Man, Pulsar needed an enemy he could call his own. Mattel produced Hypnos, “The Ultimate Enemy” in 1977. Like Pulsar, Hypnos had a button in his back and a transparent chest. Instead of blood, however, Hypnos’ chest was equipped with a swirling hypnotic disk which was backed by a sparking flint device. When the button was pressed, Hypnos would throw you (and probably Pulsar) into a deep, woozy trance as the disk spun wildly, sparks filling the interior of Hypnos’ chest.

Neither of the figures did much else, and their limbs, like many large figures, had no articulation. Mostly they could taunt one another with various epithets (supplied by you, of course). In 1978, Mattel released the Life Systems Center, where Pulsar could be plugged in and have his batteries re-charged after particularly vicious debate sessions with Hypnos. Unfortunately, the days of figures 12 inches and taller were numbered. Star Wars, released in theaters in 1977, brought with its box-office popularity a new series of four-inch figures that would fast become the standard for sizing in the action figure market. Pulsar’s innovative chest cavity design did go on to yield Gre-Gory, the Big Bad Vampire Bat—a toy whose innards were also visible, but that did little else.

“No mission was impossible” for Pulsar, except staying on the shelves of toy stores. Ah Pulsar, we hardly knew ye.

Release History of Toy

1977 - Pulsar
1977 - Hypnos
1978 - Life Systems Center

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action figures

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