“No mission is impossible for him”

Introduced by Mattel in 1977, Pulsar was a fourteen-inch plastic action figure in the vein of the Six Million Dollar Man and Visible Man. And when we say “vein”, we mean it. Let’s take a look back at this self-described “ultimate man of adventure,” shall we?

Pulsar was transparent. And under that clear, plastic exterior were his organs and digestive system, and you could watch them in action. Just press Pulsar’s back to watch his heart pump, his lungs fill with air, and his veins course with blood. Open his head to reveal a brain with a small peg in the middle where holographic “mission discs” could be attached. All of this cool biology was smartly covered with a red and black jumpsuit.

In addition to his internal workings, Pulsar was different than other action figures in that he had the face of an older person. He had white hair and aged features that placed him somewhere in his ‘60’s. Luckily, his body was still the buff action figure style needed for crime fighting.

And who was he fighting? Mattel created an arch enemy for him named Hypnos, “The Ultimate Enemy,” also in 1977. Like Pulsar, Hypnos also had a transparent chest, but rather than blood running through him, he had a swirling hypnotic disk, backed by a sparking flint device. When you pressed the button, Hypnos would throw Pulsar (and possibly you) into a mind-numbing trance as the disk spun around and threw off sparks inside Hypnos’s chest. No, really.

And that was pretty much it. Neither figure had articulated limbs, so play was limited to just having them talk to each other. In 1978, Mattel released the Life Systems Center, where you could plug Pulsar in and have his batteries recharged. Unfortunately, the days of large action figures like these were on their way out. When Star Wars released their series of four-inch figures after the film debut in 1977, smaller size action figures were the new standard. Pulsar did inspire the Gre-Gory, the Big Bad Vampire Bat, with his own visible innards, but Pulsar was faced with early retirement. As it were, the mission of popularity proved impossible.

Did you have a Pulsar in your toybox of yesteryear? How about Hypnos or the Life System Center? We hope you’ll share your memories of this short-lived 70s superhero in our comments section.

2 Responses to “Pulsar”

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  1. Woah! Yes … I had both Pulsar and Hypnos, but I don’t think I had the life center. I was really into anatomy and built a ‘visible man’ (and several other medical models) some time after that. I remember even as a kid thinking it was weird that Pulsar’s intestines seemed to be filled with blood, and the white hair was strange. I also had a 12″ Lone Ranger, and my brother had an Indian (not Tonto, I think it was a Sioux or Cheyenne). Hadn’t thought about those in years. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Scott Crawford says:

    Had this…later was struck by the resemblance to Nature Boy Ric Flair…

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