The Matchbox-produced lion Voltron. According to the package, he's the "king of the space jungle."
In your childhood, I guess there are phenomena and there are milestones where toys are concerned. And then there are flash in the pans, those toys that are insanely popular for most of a school year but get shoved to the back of a toy closet by the summer. My first experience with a flash in the pan was Voltron.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll talk about the cartoon series that spawned this particular toy, but it’s worth mentioning that I only know what voltron was because an early episode was on at my neighbor’s house one afternoon when I was in the second grade. I didn’t know what the cartoon was, just that five robot lions that formed a much larger robot were pretty kickass.
Soon after watching those first few episodes of the lion Voltron (the vehicle Voltron came later), my schoolmates and I were compoetely hooked. We played Voltron just about every day and very often I was Keith or Lance and on at least a couple of occasions, my friend Lori wore her hair like Princess Allura.
Still, the tie-in toys alluded us, which was weird considering that every single cartoon we watched in those days was essentially a 30-minute toy commercial. Even some of the movies—Star Wars, for instance—had a toy line. But nobody, when those first few shows aired, owned a Voltron. That’s probably because we never saw television commercials for Voltron toys.
In fact, I would not come across any toy related to Voltron for the better part of six months, when I would be at a local stationary store, Sayville Card and Gift (which may have been known as Unique Cards and Gifts at the time), browsing through the toys while my dad was two doors down buying Chinese food, and spotted something called “Lionbot.”
But what was inside the “Lionbot” case was a die-cast metal Voltron lion.