I guess most of us have our little quirks and one of my quirks tends to be more on the compulsive side. This so called quirk has to do with a set of 2 inch tall space creature erasers or if you prefer, space aliens. Anyway, they were made by Diener Industries the leader in eraser toys.
It all started innocently enough back in 1980 at the local McDonald’s. The Happy Meal was still fairly new and usually the prize inside was just ok, but nothing to write home about.
This all changed as one day hiding under my cheeseburger and fries inside that happiest of boxes I discovered a green bat creature. He was made like those silly Happy Meal robots that were prizes a few months earlier, but he was more durable and with much better detail. This bat-guy had a familiar look to him and I knew I had seen him before. It finally dawned on me that he was just like Man-Bat that unfortunate character out of the Batman comics.
Of course I wanted more and I wanted to complete the whole set. After a few weeks of multiple visits to McDonaldland and trading with friends I finally got a complete set. Ever since then whenever I see one for sale in a thrift shop, flea market or toy show, I just have to pick it up. The cool thing and probably the reason that I adore these so much is because they were based, inspired or even ripped off of various monsters from movies or television
Now let’s take a closer look at each one.
Veined Cranium Creature - design based after the Martians in the 1957 movie Invasion of the Saucer Men.
Tree Trunk Monster - design based after the aliens in the 1958 movie I Married a Monster from Outer Space.
Gil Face Creature - design based after an alien named Ikar from the 1964 television series The Outer Limits in the episode Keeper of the Purple Twilight.
Lizard Man - design based after Ray Harryhausen’s creation the Ymir from the 1957 movie 20 Million Miles to Earth.
Insectman - design based after the Fly from the 1958 movie The Fly.
Vampire Bat Creature - design based after the Batman comic book character Man-Bat.
Winged Amphibian Creature - design based after the creature in the 1966 movie Destination Inner Space.
Horned Cyclops - I’m guessing this one might be an amalgam of different cyclops. Pictured is the Ray Harryhausen’s Cyclops from The 7 th Voyage of Sinbad, the Lost In Space Cyclops and the Siamese Cyclops from The Three Stooges Meet Hercules.
Besides the different characters in the set there are also five different original colors to collect. They came in yellow, green, blue, orange and brown.
Another variation is the eraser material which is hard, normal and soft.
Besides being “Space Aliens” prizes in Happy Meal boxes, Diener also sold them in carded packages as Space Creatures.
Apparently they were also found in gumball machines made of a slick rubbery material with an added suction cup. The quality is poor and the molds were probably made from the actual erasers. I’ve only found four of these and I’m not sure if the other ones from the set were made.
Fairly recently in the past few years, they’ve been spotted in bright day glow colors.
I’ll continue to rescue/collect these little guys until I’m 110 years old or until a massive pile of space creatures fall on me. If anyone has any info, photos or advertising relating to these, I would love to hear about it.