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Scuba and Undersea Toys

Back in the 1950s, you could send in cereal boxtops and get a trip of plastic frogmen.  These were a trip!  Each had a small metal capsule attached to one foot.  Fill it with baking soda and the scuba-duba man "swam" up and down.  Other undersea adventures included the popular children's show, "Diver Dan."  Dan was busy thwarting the spiteful machinations of Baron Barracuda and Trigger, a triggerfish.  At night there was Sea Hunt, a story of scuba-duba good guys starring none other than Lloyd Bridges. One of the toy soldier companies had a blister-packed set that included scuba and deep sea divers, sharks, octopi and other sub-nautical critters. What capped it all was the Deep Sea diver set for G.I. Joe that came out in the mid-1960s.

There are not many classic toy soldier scuba sets, but I was able to find a couple of nice Fishler playsets that had it all.  Well, almost all.  There are no deep sea divers.  My current search is for a fish-tank decoration of a deep sea diver with a knife.  It was made for many years, but trying to find that particular item is difficult.  That same diver showed up in many toy sets.

Various boats for "exploration."  Dark boat in left background is a copy of the Marx landing craft, right down to the twin antiaircraft guns.  In front of it, the two-man sub is not entirely peaceful.  It is a copy of the minisubs used by underwater saboteurs, and the red tip on front is a warhead.  Otherwise, there's a one-man scuba sub that looks like a nuke, a typical toy motorboat and a raft.

Scenery packed with the Ocean Life set included grasslike plants (foreground), painted terrain feature with small starfish, and coral (back).

Sea creatures, and none are really to scale.  They are painted and they look pretty good.

Scuba-dubas from the Fishler sets.  Man in upper left is using a camera.  Some look like regular divers, but the ones with spearguns and the blue on toward the lower right with pistol and knife are like characters from a James Bond movie.

The other side of the scuba-duba men.  "He helps and protects his friends under the sea, that is our friend...."

These next four pictures are of a $2 set sold in Target, under the name "Double Dippin Fun." They bag set is simply called "19 Sea Creatures"

Turtle, seal and shark from Target set.  All animals, crustaceans and fish are a rubberlike material, such as vinyl or PVC.  They are painted.

Scenery (and crab) from small Target bagged set.

Walrus, penguin and turtle from Target set - scale is a nonexistent concept in these toy sets.

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