10 Year Anniversary: Unanswered Questions

Celebrating 10 years of this silly website included me asking readers for questions. All of the questions will be answered, but there was one question I wanted to answer first. It came from Jason Pratt:

What is the most frustrating false lead or unanswered question that you have faced in these 10 years?

There are two parts to his question, and I will answer the “easier” one first. The unanswered question that haunts me is the true story of the Non-Poster figures. I started actively searching for answers in 2003. With the creation of this website I started digging again in 2009. Talking to Martin and “Jan09” was beyond exciting for me, but I still couldn’t nail down the truth behind the Non-Poster figures. Tracking down viable leads was getting less and less successful; only one name was consistent – Joe Morrison. And the people I spoke with didn’t expect him to ever talk to me. I pretty much gave up.

Mattel Quality Examples

My perseverance ultimately paid off and I spoke to Joe Morrison. I still don’t believe they were simply incentive figures. It doesn’t make any logical sense. I have come to suspect that errors led to Manufacturing making molding changes based on Quality Control standards. It could even help to explain certain Class A figures. Manufacturing may have still seen some errors and plugged certain figures. It is a very practical, non-sexy solution – and probably most likely for that type of situation.

But that’s what frustrates me. I can’t say that simple idea is 100% true.

Awesome discoveries can still be made, but I don’t expect to ever uncover irrefutable evidence for Non-Poster figures. That is easily my most frustrating unanswered question.

The much more difficult part of the question to answer is the false leads. There have been so many that I don’t know where to start. When I started digging into M.U.S.C.L.E. my first leads were often around the toys and trying to track them down. I would find lots of people that said they had a Purple figure I needed, but it was Magenta – or something like that.

I once made initial contact about a Quik tin, but never heard back from the person. That was very frustrating at the time.

The more I think about about it, legitimate leads have often gone somewhere. I may not have uncovered the answers I wanted or needed, but I tended to make contact. Many of the Mattel people I spoke with really didn’t remember stuff, because not many people cared about M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. I think about myself in a similar situation. If someone called up, almost 30 years later, then how much would I remember about a work project I didn’t really care about?

I might remember the person in charge (in the case of M.U.S.C.L.E., Joe Morrison), but very little about the details. Hell, I don’t think I could recall specific details from projects 10 years ago.

The most frustrating leads are probably from people trying to sell things. Something cool is discovered, but the seller doesn’t want to share details. They don’t want to offer provenance. They don’t want to share anything about the person they dealt with to acquire it. They are more concerned with maximizing their sale price. That frustrates me. It feels like valuable information is selfishly left on the table. I am a data hound by nature. It pains me to not gain access to information – which, for M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors, is truly at a premium.

That’s it! The selling literally just jogged my memory. The M.U.S.C.L.E. HiWay Hauler has always felt like something that should have an unarguably valid explanation. I have never seen one. I tried to get one from Bob Rosas. He was Mattel’s Manager of Boys Toys from 1969 to 1989. He didn’t know why the M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler wasn’t put into production, and that’s the last thing he said about it. The rest of the conversation was him asking for pricing help and trying to sell me toys. No matter what I asked, he returned to trying to sell stuff. That was easily my most frustrating lead.

  1. #1 by Jason Pratt on June 26, 2019 - 7:32 pm

    Thanks so much for answering this question. That was a really fun read – though I seemed to somehow get a bit frustrated, too.

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