Thursday, September 10, 2020

UFO Exploitation: Targeting Children

When flying saucers became a fad in 1947, there were advertising stunts to exploit them from saucer-themed advertising stunts and products renamed to cash in, everything from sandwiches and sundaes, even cocktails. Children were a ready market for flying saucer products, since space toys were already popular based on the comic strip heroes Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Once it was clear the saucer sensation wasn’t just a summer flash in the pan, manufacturers started cranking out products targeted at kids.

The first installment of The Saucers That Time Forgot featured a story on two boys who had a close encounter with a flying saucer. This “scrapbook” edition focuses on kids, saucers, and the merchandise that connects them.

In 1948, Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Franscioni marketed a plastic throwing disc called the “Flyin-Saucer.” In 1950 the licensed the popular Li’l Abner comic strip to boost sales.

Flying Saucer Spelling Game, was introduced in 1949, probably the first educational toy related to UFOs.

March 24, 1950 – the Walker Bank of Pittsburgh sold young savers a flying saucer bank.

July 23, 1950 - Sears Roebuck and Co. pitched Flying Saucer T-shirts to children.

Sept. 1950 - "My Weekly Reader" carried an amazing disclosure for kids by Tom Trott: "I am now allowed to tell you that some flying saucers are real. They belong to our Air Force. They will some day be a big help to our country."

1952 saw the debut of the coin-operated Flying Saucer ride from Meteor Machine Corp.

A Trip to Outer Space with Santa promotional comic book, the earliest known edition is 1952.

Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania), Dec. 22, 1952 – Firemen at the Ebenezer Fire Company made sure that Santa Claus gave all children attending the Christmas party a toy flying saucer.

Amarillo Globe-Times March 31, 1953 - Saucer Cub scout project by Michael Holik of Amarillo, Texas.

1953 Capt. Quick's Flying Saucers and Rocket Ships was a punch-out folio of ships and space toys.

Claire Leader, Aug. 4, 1954 - Japanese ban a dangerous flying saucer toy.

Waterloo Daily Courier (Iowa) June 13, 1954 - John Oberele in his flying saucer costume for the Youth Day parade in Waterloo.

 Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania), July 1954 - Cub Scouts' "Air Adventure" featured a flying saucer contest.

Here's few other from the 1950s, exact dates unknown:

Felix the Cat candy from Phoenix Candy Co. Inc.

Flying Saucers T-shirts to start your own flying saucer club. From McMurdy’s in Rochester, New York, circa 1954.

Japanese metal toy, Flying Saucer Z-101

October 31, 1955 Kokomo Tribune carried the news of a Cub Scout troop winning the Halloween parade costume contest for their group effort as men from Mars and their flying saucer.

From 1959, a kid is awed by a model saucer, thanks to Louis Taylor of Information Dispersal for the original Wide World press photo. 
Caption: Rounded View: A close study of a flying saucer model is made by Roy Milani, 10, at the National Models Exhibition in London. The model was made by Dorabji Dhanjisha Bilimoria of Bombay, India, from details published in an American magazine. Bilimoria believes it is a model of an actual experimental craft of the U.S. Navy. [Date stamped from Wide World Photo] Feb. 14, 1960

The site imago images has a different picture of the scene with the caption:

Dec. 12, 1959 - Opening of the Model Engineer Exhibition. Model of Flying Saucer: Convinced that flying saucers actually exist - as experimental machines developed by the United States Navy - Dorabji Dhanjisha Bilimoria, of Bombay, director of the Bombay Society and Calcutta and a member of the Bombay Society of Model Engineering, has made a model of one for the New Horticultural Hall. Photo Shows 10-year old Roy Malani, of South Kensington, seen with model flying saucer type aircraft, at the Exhibition today. (Credit Image: ZUMZ/Keystone) 

For more fabulous saucer-themed items, see the extensive collections at
UFOPOP: Flying Saucers in Popular Culture


  1. Great look back at the beginning of marketing for the commercialism of UFOs

  2. Great article, Curt! The reasons for the Japanese ban sound sensible to me!

  3. I was watching a mechanical repair channel on YouTube and saw this video on a 'flying saucer' styled generator, the manufacturer was a company called Electron and the person who made the video was unable to find out anything about the generator.


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