Many classic sci-fi TV props were just off-the-shelf toys

By: H&I Staff    Posted: August 31, 2017, 11:15AM

When it came to special effects in the early years of television, resources were pretty limited. Without the CGI and budgets we have today, many producers and set designers had to get creative. This was especially true in action and science-fiction productions.

Luckily, with a little imagination, not to mention some paint and glue, of the hottest toys of the 1960s could be turned into props.

Here are some of the classic TV props you can make yourself — if you can track down these retro toys!


Mattel Agent Zero-M Sonic Blaster in 'Batman'

You'd think Batman and Robin would use the highest-tech of high-tech gadgets, but in the 1966 Batman movie and television series, Robin really just used a painted Mattel Agent Zero-M Sonic Blaster as the "Batzooka." But really, if it's good enough for Kurt Russell, it's good enough for Robin. You can buy one of the original props — signed by Burt Ward himself — for a couple grand at auction.

Image: Gadget Madness


Remco Grenade Pistol on 'Lost in Space'

It's crazy what a few tweaks to a plastic toy can do — espcially when a toy prop is used in a black and white TV show! These laser guns are used throughout the series, by humans and robots. Lost in Space was a big fan of Remco toys, as the thrifty Irwin Allen production also made us of the Jupiter Signal Gun and the Remco Monkey Division Okinawa Rifle. Remco in turn manufactured the officially licensed Lost in Space Robot toy — which was then used as a prop on Lost in Space! Meta!

Image: Danefield


Remco Jupiter Signal Gun on 'The Time Tunnel'

Speaking of the Jupiter Signal Gun, the plastic play ray gun was popular in both the '50s and '60s, and came in a variety of different colors. Aliens on The Time Tunnel, though, used a souped up, silver version. Irwin Allen truly was the king of budget props.

Image: Bidsquare


Remco Robot Commando on 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'

On The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a pair of robots — which were definitely on kids' Christmas lists across the country — turned out to be weapons meant to assassinate Agent Illya Kuryakin. Hopefully parents didn't think the toys would shoot their kids!

Image: Time Warp Toys


U.S.S. Enterprise Model Kit on 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

Have you wondered why the U.S.S. Constellation looked so much like the U.S.S. Enterprise when you watched "The Doomsday Machine"? It wasn't because they used the same special effects to make the Constellation and Enterprise. It's because the U.S.S. Constellation is actually an off-the-shelf toy model.

Image: eBay



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