Mel Birnkrant sadly announces:
Among the rarities that were plundered from that unobtrusive drawer were two complete sets of rare Series Two bendable figures, identical to those that were later pictured on the cover of the Space Warriors Colorforms Adventure Set, in 1983.
There were two of each of the Second Series. And of the First Series figures there were in some cases three or four. I've kept them safe and pristine, here in the drawer beside me, for half a Century. And I rarely, nearly never, left their side. In fact, I sleep across the room from where they used to be each night. May the monster who stole them sleep as uneasily, throughout the rest of his, hopefully, short life, as I did nearly every night, since I discovered they were MISSING. They were my companions, my children, and ultimately, the inheritance I hoped to leave behind for my young grandson, Sammy.
Knowing who took these precious treasures, and being able to prove it, are two different matters, as the New York State Police pointed out to me. Nonetheless, they have been doing their best to get them back for me, over the past two years. And their efforts are continuing. Meanwhile, out of frustration and depression, I am posting this website, in the hope that this sad footnote to The Outer Space Men’s history will alert the Action Figure community and fans of The Outer Space men to the robbery. And serve as a permanent pictorial guide that will enable the stolen items to be easily identified, in the near future, and beyond my time.
With that in mind, what follows will be an illustrated inventory of the pieces that were stolen. The most valuable of these were the Epoxy models for the unreleased Second Series Outer Space Men. There were just two sets of these. One set was for working out the colors, and the second was the final perfect master prototype that I retained in my collection. The first set I, later, mounted on a velvet panel, and it now resides in the unique collection of my good friend, Gary Schaeffer.
So, to begin, I will show you Gary’s complete set of Second Series figures. As you view the image, the figures and accessories that I still have, because the hurried robber failed to grab them, will disappear, allowing you to see only the figures that are missing. After that, I will list the stolen epoxies, one at a time, individually. I hope that I have made it clear that when a few of the images below disappear, those that remain visible represent the objects that are no longer here.
The second set of these epoxy figures remained loose in the drawer. They were not mounted on a panel, like Gary’s set, and perhaps, because of that the schmuck who scooped them up missed Inferno the Man from Mercury. He is the only master epoxy figure that escaped the robber's hurried grasp. Inferno’s helmet, the front half, is also missing, along with all the other epoxy figures, except for Metamorpho’s head, the shapes for Gamma-X’s transparent body, and the two Eye guns for Cyclops. All the other epoxy master prototypes are gone. So, if you ever see an epoxy figure from the second series, or any parts thereof, unless it is in Gary's collection, know that it is stolen property, stolen from yours truly.
Here is an Illustrated List of All the Missing Outer Space Men
4. GAMMA-X EPOXY MASTER WITH WEAPONS
5. GEMINI EPOXY MASTER WITH STAFF AND WEAPON
THE NEXT GROUP ARE SECOND SERIES BENDABLES.
THESE ALSO ARE INCREDIBLY RARE. ONLY A FEW SETS OF THE SIX FIGURES WERE PRODUCED. THERE WERE TWO OF EACH FIGURE IN THE DRAWER. Most of these are gone, along with two complete sets of the original bendable figures from Series One, complete with all their styrene parts and accessories. That makes aproximately twenty six figures in all. A few odd figures remain, but there were multiples of others: four Colossus Rex, four Alpha Sevens, etc. They are the very figures that were used fifty years ago in the iconic first photograph of the Outer Space Men. Throughout the years, these figures have remained posed exactly as you see them below.
I will list every missing piece, of which I have a photograph. Thus, in the future, if you are offered any Outer Space Men, please keep in mind that any figures from the Second Series are highly likely to be mine. Please alert Gary Schaeffer, or the New York State Police if you come across any Second Series figures, like these.
6 & 7. TWO GEMINI BENDABLES, COMPLETE WITH HELMETS, STAFFS, AND WEAPONS.
8 & 9 TWO GAMMA-X BENDABLES COMPLETE WITH TRANSPARENT ARMOR AND WEAPONS
10 & 11 TWO SETS OF DOMES, ARMOR AND WEAPONS FOR THE CYCLOPS BENDABLE. The actual figures were left behind.
12 & 13 TWO METAMORPHO BENDABLES COMPLETE WITH , HEADS, HELMETS, AND WEAPONS
14 & 15 INFERNO BENDABLE COMPLETE WITH LIGHT UP HEAD, HELMET, FLAMES, AND WEAPON. A SECOND COPY OF JUST THE HEAD, FLAMES, WEAPON, AND HELMET. I still have that one's body.
16 & 17 TWO SETS OF MYSTRON BENDABLE ACCESSORIES, WINGS, WEAPONS, STAFF, DOMES. The two figures that were left behind are nearly worthless, without these.
The following Bendable Figures are all from Series One. As these were manufactured, they are not as rare as those above. Nonetheless, these were the very figures, posed by yours truly for this ICONIC IMAGE used for the timeless Outer Space men poster in 1968. All of these were in the drawer, and all of them, including their domes and accessories, are GONE!
18, 19, 20, & 21 FOUR EXAMPLES OF ALPHA SEVEN, ALL COMPLETE WITH DOMES AND WEAPONS.
22 & 23 TWO XODIAC BENDABLES COMPLETE WITH DOMES, GUNS, AND STAFFS
24, 25,& 26 TWO COMMANDER COMET BENDABLE FIGURES, THREE WINGS, THREE DOMES, AND THREE CROSSBOWS.
27 & 28 TWO ASTRO NAUTILUS BENDABLE FIGURES WITH TRIDENTS
It seems that only I chose to pose this figure exactly like these.
29 & 30 TWO ELECTRON + BENDABLES WITH DOMES AND GUNS
31 & 32 TWO ORBITRON BENDABLES WITH WEAPONS
33, 34, & 35 THREE COLOSSUS REX BENDABLES, POSSIBLY FOUR, complete WITH MACE. These are the actual figures I used in the 1968 photographs below.
36. THE TWO TINY FIGURES USED IN THE COMMANDER COMET PHOTOGRAPHS, 1968
This minute detail meant a lot to me, two tiny memories, the tiny figures that were seen in the not so distant distance in the photographs of Commander Comet in the Cloud City of Venus.
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of THE OUTER SPACE MEN , THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) MEL BIRNKRANT
37. EXPERIMENTAL INFERNO VEHICLE. I carved this myself to guide the team in Hong Kong.
This photo from the group that Gary owns represents the one that’s gone.
38. EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRON HEAD ILLUSION PROTOTYPE. It is one of a kind. I created this
a few years ago. It's the only example in the Universe. http://melbirnkrant.com/sketchbook/page12.html
39. WHOSIS - ASTRO JERK FIGURE, 1968, similar to the one below, which is currently on eBay.
Meanwhile, in the months since the theft took place, I’ve had much time to contemplate the repercussions of this travesty, not only for yours truly, but on what little I retained of the severely injured remnants of my Outer Space Men. The collateral damage was extensive.
In a secret storage area, there is a large box that contains nine empty cards and blisters for Second Series figures, I carefully cut them open, several years ago, and added the figures to the drawer. They are among the stolen. If those blister cards were reunited with the priceless missing figures, their combined value would be twice as much. But, as it is, the empty blister cards are now virtually worthless to anyone who does not have the exceedingly rare figures, worthless to anyone, but the thief who stole them.
And the few partial figures that the robber left behind are also severely damaged and devalued by the many intrinsic pieces, wings, armor, helmets and weapons that are missing. Ironically, much of the felons loot is devalued too, as these stolen bits and pieces, wings, armor, helmets and weapons are meaningless, without the figures. In other words, the damage done by this moment of blind groping has ruined more than meets the eye, including the so-called golden years of my quickly waning life.
The day after I discovered that the Outer Space Men were gone, I checked all my emails, and meticulously compiled a list of visitors to Mouse Heaven, during the time frame in question. Then, I contacted the New York State Police. Their investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, I prepared this web page. May it become part of the Official History of the Outer Space Men, and remain on line, beyond my time. It is intended to make it difficult for the felon who stole my precious Outer Space Men to show them off or sell them. I’m speculating that if this thieving piece of excrement has any brains, he intends to keep them hidden, until after I pass away. Because this robbery has hit me so hard, I doubt that he'll have long to wait.
My motive in posting this story, is to make sure that this despicable robbery, the darkest chapter in the fifty year long history of the Outer Space Men will not go undocumented. For yours truly it will, most likely, be the final chapter. Therefore, I’m seizing this opportunity to send a closing message to the lower life form who stole them: Scum of humanity, consider yourself warned! If you ever let your ill-gotten bounty emerge into the light of day, attempt to sell them, or merely show them off, long after I’m dead and gone, Fans of the OSM will spot them, and bring the hand, or claw, or tentacle of justice down upon you!
And so, Dear Friends and Fans of the Outer Space Men, I'm hoping that all of you will remain on the lookout. And if you encounter any of the stolen figures, alert yours truly if I'm still living, or the New York State Police, Troop K - SP in Wappingers Falls, New York, or my good friend, Gary Schaeffer. You will be able to contact Gary on Instagram or his Website.
Many Thanks, Mel Birnkrant
1. CYCLOPS MASTER EPOXY WITH ARMOR, His guns if he has any, will be the stolen plastic ones.
2. METAMORPHO MASTER EPOXY WITH WEAPONS AND HELMET, MISSING HIS HEAD
3. MYSTRON EPOXY MASTER WITH WINGS, STAFF, AND WEAPON
Whoever scooped these treasures up was clearly in a hurry. They left a few important elements behind. Therefore, this felon found himself in possession of the original epoxy of Metamorpho, who is, more or less, meaningless, without his all-important three faced head. This tiny precious object, shown on the right, is one of the only remnants of the priceless epoxy masters I have left.
Only I could pose Astro Nautilus appropriately. The one shown here was among those stolen, and the pose remained unchanged, since 1968.
There were other treasures in that fabled drawer as well, small bits and pieces, representing
precious memories, many of which were gifted to me by my good friend Gary Schaeffer.
Let the fact be known that were it not for Gary, the Outer Space Men might have remained in Outer
Space forever. It was through his unflagging enthusiasm and persistent energy that the Outer Space Men
returned to Earth again. That is how and why Gary has become, not just my good buddy, but my partner as
well. It was because of Gary’s latest project to create 12” vinyl figures of Colossus Rex, and a monumental
eight foot tall sculpture that appeared at the recent Five Points Festival that the theft of my Outer Space
Men was discovered. Here, is how that discovery came about:
Welcome to the final chapter of The Outer Space Men. The story ends sadly, not with a whimper or a bang, but with a robbery. A visitor who I welcomed into my home two years ago rewarded me by stealing my lifelong collection of Outer Space Men. This pitiful example of depravity deprived me of more than just my heritage. He also robbed me of every vestige of my remaining peace of mind and illusion of security. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that ever since I discovered they were missing, my 82 year old heart has been breaking, a little more each day.
Between March 16th and June 28th of last year, 2018, my lifelong collection of Outer Space Men disappeared. For over forty years, these OSM rarities resided, inconspicuously, in one of seven drawers, in my studio upstairs. This secret hiding place contained the original Second Series Epoxy Models, of which only two sets exist in the entire Galaxy, along with Two Pristine Mint Sets of All the Bendable Figures from both Series One and the incredibly rare and never produced Series Two, complete with all their original styrene helmets, weapons, armor, and accessories. Several additional OSM figures, and precious one of a kind OSM related rarities inhabited that drawer as well. They are all GONE now!
Of all the toys that I created, over a lifetime of toy inventing, The Outer Space Men were always my favorite. And, even though, they were introduced some fifty years ago in 1968, they still remain my humble claim to fame today. Although, that modicum of celebrity might seem modest to many, to a select few discerning connoisseurs the contents of that secret drawer would be considered "The Holy Grail of Action Figures." Therefore, at the risk of seeming to descend into absurdity, please allow me to offer an analogy, one that puts this outrageous event in perspective for those who do not know The Outer Space Men: If, perchance, (don’t laugh!) I were Leonardo da Vinci, then, this theft would be, as if, somebody stole the Mona Lisa. And may their worthless soul simmer in Hell for all Eternity! Hopefully, this unique collection of the World's First Fantasy Action Figures will prove as difficult to fence, as that famous painting might be.
Among the figures that were stolen, were the very ones that appeared on the original package photos for The Outer Space Men in 1968. Seven of these pristine figures were photographed professionally for The Outer Space Man poster. That image was destined to become the most iconic in the history of The Outer Space Men. I vividly recall the day that photograph was taken. I carefully carried this very first set of Outer Space Men to a commercial photographer’s studio in Manhattan, and set them up in front of a massive view camera. The classic photograph that was shot on that occasion became the ultimate image of The Outer Space Men. It was destined to be used, time and again, on the large window poster, the in-store displays, and all printed publicity. The actual figures that appeared in that historic photo have remained untouched in my Outer Space Men drawer, still posed in their original positions, for nearly half a century. They napped there peacefully, until recently, when they were kidnapped surreptitiously, by a guest who visited my home.
On June 29, 2018, Gary, along with Josh Kimberg and Miranda O’Brian of the Clutter Gallery were due to visit Mouse Heaven. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the relative sizes of the continuing series of vinyl Outer Space Men figures they are in the process of creating. Together, this group had already accomplished the amazing eight foot tall figure of Colossus Rex that you see above. Their original plan was to make the additional figures proportional to Rex, based on the proportions of the recently recreated figures, sculpted by the fabulous Four Horsemen. I, on the other hand, believed that the proposed proportions should be more like the original Outer Space Men, those that were stored in my secret drawer. Therefore, on June 28th, the day before the meeting, I opened the OSM drawer, intending to tidy up its crowded contents, in preparation for the next day’s presentation, in which I hoped to convince them to base the size relationship on the original Outer Space Men. The photo below, reveals what I saw.
To my SHOCK and SURPRISE, the drawer was 90% EMPTY! I can’t believe I didn’t have an instant coronary, at the sight of what I didn’t see! Five of the six rare “Series Two” epoxy masters, along with two complete sets of thirteen original Outer Space Men bendable figures were missing! Their all-important accessories, amounting to approximately a hundred styrene plastic helmets, wings, armor, and assorted weapons were gone as well. And, because whoever stole these managed to take all the all-important accessories, the few odd figures that remain are ruinously incomplete. If you look carefully, you might detect the four tiny epoxy earpieces. Sadly, these are all that's left of Gamma-X.
The haphazard choices that the felon who stole the OSM made, indicate that he might not have known exactly what to take. Either that, or he was merely in a hurry, and, because, at that time, the drawer did not open fully, due to the fact that my grandson’s computer was in the way, he would have had to reach in deep, and scoop up things he couldn’t see. Then again, perhaps, the reason he left a few important scraps behind was because the bag that he carried was just too small to cram more in. Or maybe, he was interrupted prematurely, when I came up the stairs again.
How did the discovery of this loss affect me? Suffice it to say, I considered the fact it didn’t kill me on the spot, to be an unexpected gift from God. Thus, began the first of many agonizing days and sleepless nights, throughout which I lay awake, until sunrise, wracking my brain to recall every visitor and stranger who visited Mouse Heaven, and figure out which ones among them would have even known the Outer Space Men, or care, and have had an opportunity to be alone upstairs?
When Gary, Josh, and Miranda arrived the following day, they brought with them a note of reality that established the time frame definitively. In the ensuing conversation, it was Josh, who jogged our memory, pointing out that on the day when he was here, exactly four months before, he, Gary, and I opened the drawer, and it was full.
Suddenly, we all recalled that day, February 28, 2018. It was a grand occasion. Gary had called me, the day before, saying he had a surprise for me, and would pick me up, around noon the following day. And what a surprise it turned out to be! He took me to the nearby Clutter Gallery to see the enormous sculpture of Colossus Rex that Josh was in the process of creating. Wow! It was AMAZING! Here’s a photograph of that happening, featuring Rex, Gary, Miranda, Josh and me.
Then, Gary and I returned to the schoolhouse. We were sitting downstairs, sipping gin, when I suddenly realized that I had left my jacket at the gallery. Gary said, “Never mind, I’ll just call Josh who will gladly bring it over.” Three minutes later, Josh arrived. He sat down to chat for a few minutes, during which the subject of the color of the three purple dots on Colossus Rex’s belt came up, and we all went upstairs to study the color of the originals. I opened the drawer, which was full at the time, and I chose the best example of the color from four figures of Colossus Rex that were lying there. I remember that moment clearly. Josh took a close up of the dots with his IPhone, and we went back downstairs. Then, Josh left, while Gary and I sat on the couch and chatted for a few more hours. We never went upstairs again.
Yesterday, reliving the events related to the theft, which is something that I do incessantly, it occurred to me that Josh might still have that photo in his phone. He did! This is the photograph of Colossus Rex that he took on the 28th of February.
Now, there were two witnesses to determine the time frame, and verify the fact that on February 28, the drawer was full. Thus, it was established that the Outer Space men disappeared, sometime in a four month window, between February 28 and June 28. I saw the drawer full one more time, when a visitor was here on March 16, 2018, one year ago. That was the only time I opened it, between those dates.
I should also point out that, although, Eunice goes to the post office and Walmart nearly every day, I nearly never leave the house. Furthermore, the building is protected, night and day, by a state of the art surveillance system, which we never fail to arm. And so, for over forty years now, there has never been an incident. Therefore, it is obvious that the thief had to be a visitor, and not a burglar. The OSM were stolen, from right under my nose, like taking candy from a baby, while I was at home.
On March 8, 2018, ten days after Josh and Gary and I saw the drawer still full, I posted a newly dubbed Outer Space Men VIDEO on YouTube. Twenty-six minutes long, the video showed the drawer full of figures at 9:16. Below is a screen shot of that drawer, as it appeared in the video that I re-dubbed and posted on YouTube, shortly before the robbery. At the time the original video was made, some thirty years ago, I had arranged the contents of the drawer to display just one of everything. Since then, a few figures had been removed to be replaced by many more, until every OSM that I owned was in that drawer.
Below is a screen shot of that legendary drawer, as it appeared in the vintage video that I re-dubbed and posted again on YouTube, shortly before the robbery. At the time the original video was made, some thirty years ago, I had arranged the contents of the drawer to display just one of everything. Since then, a few figures had been removed to be replaced by many more, until every OSM that I owned was in that drawer. This photo represents, more or less, what I expected to see when I opened that drawer for the first time in several weeks, on June 28th of this year.