1978 Happy Meal Space Raiders toys from McDonald's

You've got to admit, some of todays fun meal toys are pretty dang impressive. However, the ones I acquired as a kid hold a special place in my heart. Particularly my complete set of 1978 Space Raider Happy Meal toys. They were made by a toy company called Diener, and the set consists of four alien figures and four space ships. All of the figures in the set are roughly two and a half inches, were made of a soft bendable rubber, and came in a variety of about 5 different colors.

Aliens.. Brak, Zama, Dard and Horta
and ships.. Altair 2, Ceti-3, Krygo 5, and Lyra 4

These guys hail from the era when Happy Meals always came in those cool boxes, and included a free package of McDonald Land cookies. When these figures were released, the STAR WARS craze was in full effect, and kids were scrambling to get their hands on anything sci-fi related. 

I remember obtaining my very first Space Raider figure which was Brak (The green fellow with the big brain). I remember placing him in the Happy Meal box for safe keeping on the trip home. Upon retrieving him from the box, I noticed he was coated with French fry salt that had collected at the bottom of the box. It was hard as heck to get the salt granules off of him, so I gave him a bath in the kitchen sink with some Dawn dish soap. I soon learned that these guys would need a regular hygiene regimen to keep them looking presentable. The type of rubber that they were made of seemed to be a magnet for hair, lint, dirt, dust, sand, and all manner of filth.

Each alien had their name clearly printed on the front of them, as did the ships. You had no clue as to which ship was paired with each alien, so usually you would just match them up by color. Collectors often refer to these as rubber eraser figures. I even remember kids at school trying to use them for this purpose. These attempts usually resulted in making a big mess of your school work, because the rubber would just smear the pencil marks rather than removing them from the paper.

Diener also produced other rubber and plastic toys for other companies in the 70's and 80's. In fact, there was another Space Creatures Happy Meal toy set they made in the 1980's. You can see the more monster-esque Happy Meal toy line here at Neato Coolville.

I loved my Space Raiders, and had hours of fun playing with them.  I guess they weren't too different from the non articulated cowboys and Indians, or green army men I grew up with.  Those simple yet great toys forced you to use your imagination, provided a kid with endless hours of fun, and I for one have many great memories of playing with them.