Toy Guns, Space Guns
Collecting toy guns, like collecting cigarette packs, can get you frowned upon. Toy guns have been labeled as “war toys” and promoters of violence among children. Others say if kids don’t have play guns they will make them out of sticks anyway. This is probably true.
But no stick was ever as cool as these! Known as space guns or ray guns, at top is the Daisy Zooka Pop Pistol (1952, USA), a pop gun that shoots a cork. Below left is an amazing squirt gun, the cast aluminum Atom Ray Gun by Hiller (1948, USA). To the right of it, the red 33 Repeater pop gun from All-Metal Products (1936, Wyandotte, Michigan, USA). Below left the phenomenal (and as heavy as it looks) Atomic Disintegrator cap pistol from Hubley (c.1950, USA). Bottom right, the Buck Rogers XZ-31 Rocket Pistol from Daisy that started the ray gun craze (1934, USA).
Many of these toy guns were before my time. But some—one in particular—was a part of my childhood. I was a six-year-old detective for awhile in 1959. That was right after I got this Mattel Official Detective Shootin’ Shell Snub-Nose .38 for Christmas. You can see my badge, below right, in its little vinyl wallet along with my official Mattel Detective Squad ID card to which I added, as instructed, my picture and fingerprint.
Obviously, I treasured this toy. Having the shoulder holster with this gun was just terrific, but there was one problem with it from a kid’s point of view. In order to wear the whole get-up, you needed to wear it with a suit or a sports jacket like the detectives on TV.
It needed to be concealed. No fun packing heat if people knew you were packing heat. Best if they just suspected it from the bulge in your jacket. Now in my world as a kid the only place I wore a suit was to church. You know where I’m going with this? Yes, after much begging and pleading, I was finally allowed to wear my rod to church one Sunday. And let me tell you, there were no problems with scofflaws that day— no stealing from the offering plate or any other monkey business.
Thanks to the kid with the steely glint in his eye and the bulge in his jacket.
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