Polaris Nuclear Submarine

Polaris Nuclear Sub

If you were a regular reader of comic books in the 60s and 70s, you probably couldn’t help but notice the recurring ad that offered you your very own kid-sized Polaris nuclear submarine – all for the low price of about seven bucks. Perhaps the pictures above will bring you back in time.

Big enough to hold two kids? Real periscope? Rockets and torpedoes that actually fire? Needless to say, I begged my parents for one of these things. But $7 was a lot of money back then and, suffice to say, I never got my own personal Red October. Still, images of this mythical sub haunted me for years. Although I always had a hunch that it was too good to be true, it wasn’t until my jaded teen years that I finally put the dream on the back burner. Until recently, that is, when I decided to re-open the investigation, to seek out the truth. And although my findings are admittedly bittersweet, I can now have some closure – the sub mystery has been solved.

Over at www.cracked.com, I found an archived article called “12 Comic Book Ads That Taught Us To Be Cynical.” And smack dab at the top of the browser, was my long-lost submergible friend (which also just so happened to top the list). After reading this thoroughly entertaining article, I did a little more searching and found a picture of my own Holy Grail. The mystery had finally been solved – it’s a cardboard box.


What are your own stories of buyer’s remorse when it came to ordering from the back of a comic book? Perhaps you purchased a thing or two from the king of comic book advertisers, the Johnson-Smith Company in your day? Share your memories in our comments section about the cool things you received in the mail, and/or the disappointment of finding out that those Sea Monkeys really didn’t exhibit much of a social life, and that the Kryptonite you ordered was a really a rock that had been spray-painted green. And ESPECIALLY if you were the proud owner of a Polaris Nuclear Submarine!

19 Responses to “Polaris Nuclear Submarine”

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  1. Jessica Allen says:

    I have been looking for someone who has one of these still intact, maybe never even out of the box and i’ll tell you why.

    For 22 years now i have been listening to this story my dad tell about this submarine that wish he always had. He always says his one regret as a child is that he never order this submarine. So i thought if i could ever find it i would buy it for him set it up under the tree at Christmas and make that regret go away.

    This submarine is hard to find so if anyone could give me an idea on where to look, other than eBay (i already looked) i would be so happy!


    • Michael says:


      I had one of the submarines and it was the coolest toy i ever owned. So much so that i want to show you something i am currently working on.

      Email me and we can chat more.


  2. Art Zemon says:

    Too cool! I wanted one of these so badly….

  3. Rick Lucey says:

    Man I and I think at least one of my brothers wanted this so badly. I used to dream about exploring some lakes in Maine we would visit. My child mine could not imagine it not being a working sub. Seven bucks what a bargain!;) This is one of those things I had not thought of for awhile and as an adult the truth makes perfect sense!;)

  4. Mark Stover says:

    Thanks for posting this. I too remember dreaming of this sub to use in the pond at my best friends house. I saved all my pennies but alas, I couldn’t convince my parents to give me real cash for my 700 pennies so I never got it and always wondered what it really was. I saw a recent article on comic book X-ray glasses that got me again on the hunt to find out what it was. Now I’m glad I spent all those hard earned pennies on candy…so was my dentist.

  5. Aryana Mccleary says:

    Say, you got a nice article. Awesome.

  6. Carina Yale says:

    Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Thanks Again. Great.

  7. Ricky says:

    I still want one of these!!!!!

  8. mary says:

    my friend and i actually convinced our parents (or stole it out of their purse or something) and sent away for it only to receive a letter months later saying it wasn’t available at this time. thank you for this picture! like you, it’s something i can finally have closure on altho i’d love to own it one day.

  9. Jim says:

    Not sure why, but I was thinking about this Submarine today; and after a quick search, up comes your site! I actually did have one of these. I also remember thinking about how cool it would be to take it to the lake and wander around in my own personal sub. I remember having discussions with my parents about what I would do with it. They finally agreed to buy me one. I remember how excited I was when it arrived, but also the brief disappointment that it wasn’t a real usable submarine. It was, however, a fun project to assemble with my dad, and I did enjoy it for quite some time. I can still remember the inside of it, it was quite spacious! (for a kid) The family dog came to hate those torpedo launchers, as I would wait for him to walk by before firing one off! I have to admit, it was pretty cool, even for a fancy cardboard mock-up. Not sure whatever happened to it, but I imagine I wore it out, as I remember having the torpedo launchers out of it for some time afterwards. It would be a fun project to recreate these, maybe out of something a bit sturdier, and make them adult size. I would play in it once again!

  10. Steven Repko says:

    I still want one!!! That and my Mr. Potato Head extension parts.

  11. Larry Williams says:

    I too have thought of this sub often over the past 40+ years and am happy to see so many others who had the same dream of owning one. Like others who posted, $7 was a lot of money in the late 60s, so my cousin and I began raising the money for the purchase. We had then planned to launch it at a local gravel pit to look at the fish and scare the girls. My aunt finally explained that it probably wasn’t what it appeared (apparently she was right:). After looking at the construction of the sub we wouldn’t have gotten very far. Thank you so much for sharing this, its has brought back some very fond memories.


  12. John says:

    My mom bought one of these for my brother and me when I was about 6. Although we were crazy excited to get it the thing and act like we were commandos. the cardboard box construction inside was full of sharp nasty staples that kept ripping us up. We’d come out of it with bloody knees and elbows. I think it just lasted a couple of days and disappeared – probably because my mom thought we were going to need tetanus shots.

  13. Dave says:

    In 1971, my next best and across the street neighbor could not afford to send away for one. One day, his mother got a new refrigerator and we turned the box on its side, put two chairs in it and cut a hole in the side to look out. We also placed a smaller box on top to replicate the conning tower. Untold hours were spent sitting in that box exploring the oceans of the world , and fighting monsters from the deep. My friend’s mother even had a signal where she would “radio us” and we would asend to the surface where she would give us lunch.

    So thanks for sharing. it brought back memories and at the same time validates that our cardboard box was just as good if not better than than the real mccoy offered by Johnson Smith.

  14. Michael says:

    I had a Polaris sub and found myself reminiscing how much fun it was. A real periscope, working torpedo tubes and even the rocket launcher in the back. Too cool. So i decided to do something about it most recently. Anyone interested in learning more, email me. Prepare to have your childhood dream come true :)


  15. paul mc guigan says:

    ha ha ha haha ha ,ive found it at last ,after 40 odd years ,I read comics as a kid and dreamed of having a sub fantastic !

  16. Mark says:

    Had one myself as a child in the 60’s and loved it.

  17. Joie Fadde says:

    I remember wanting one of these, but I never got one. I did however have something similar… A Lunar Module, so I could re-enact the landing on the moon… It was the coolest thing ever… made of cardboard and you would crawl into it from underneath and then carry it around via two handles to simulate coming in for the landing. If I remember correctly, there was room for two kids and you had to work in unison to move around… I don’t know if I have any pictures… If I find any, I will post them…

  18. Carsita says:

    working torpedo tubes and even the rocket launcher in the back. it was the coolest thing eve. made of cardboard and you would crawl into it from underneath and then carry it around via two handles to simulate coming in for the landing. If I remember correctly, there was room for two kids and you had to work in unison to move around

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