Like most toy walkie talkies, these used the old "can-and-string" technology -- tie a line between the two toys, pull it tight, and then marvel as your voice is transmitted to your friend on the other side of the room. Never mind that, with only about 15 feet between separating the two of you, your voice probably carried pretty clearly anyway. No, these toys were cool, high-tech gadgets and nothing could take away the fun of using them.
Like so many Remco toys, the Space Commander Walkie Talkies came in a beautiful display box decorated with simple, but fun, three-color artwork. It also included a handy spool for the bright red string so you weren't left untangling the cord every time you wanted to use the toy. (Seriously -- how can you warn Earth about the incoming invasion if you're stuck picking knots out of your communication equipment?)
I've always liked these toys. They've got a great, spacey look to them, and really capture the mid-century futurism I love so much. And so many of them come in display boxes -- not just the Remco models -- that they end up looking fantastic on my shelves. Space walkie talkies aren't as big a collectible as ray guns or robots, but to me, that's part of their appeal -- I can build a complete collection without spending too much money, and I end up with a bunch of toys that aren't overly familiar to everyone else.
I snagged this dead-mint set (notice that the string still has the original tape keeping it wound around the spool) during an annual space-toy collector convention in Adamstown, PA. I'd pretty much given up hope of finding anything good that weekend when I stumbled on these beauties at a giant antique mall. The dealer wanted about 25% more than I was willing to pay, but I managed to talk him down. Sweet.
Okay, okay, that's not the most exciting story in the world. Not every purchase involves fighting off ninja or learning some important lesson about life. I'm just glad I got the toy!