After the creation of the spy-hero genre thanks to the James Bond films, kids all over America and the rest of the civilized Western
world put aside for a while their six-guns, catcher's mitts, and domino masks, and went about the task of ridding their homelands of
dangerous Commies. The Cold War gained millions of eager young recruits, perhaps not out of any sense of loyalty or patriotism, but
simply because of all the stickin' cool gadgets and weapons that spies (or so the popular literature tells us) get to use on a
The Secret Sam line of toys was a perfect example of this. They helped stoke the imaginations of any young boys who wanted to root out
and neutralize any dangerous subversives lurking in their suburban neighborhoods. Since the primary functions of the secret agent are
to be (a) stealthy and (b) dangerous, the Secret Sam line gave kids those advantages in spades.
One small but deadly weapon provided to counter-espionage-agents-in-training was the Secret Sam '6-Finger' Gun, released in 1965. It was
a hand-held little gun that actually mimicked a boy's finger - except that the tip fired different types of ammunition, such as
explosive, fragmentation, etc. It even came with a bullet that could send secret messages to comrades, as well as a bullet that doubled
as a pen to write the messages. A kid could eliminate an enemy, take credit for the kill, and then slip away into the recess crowd
without the authorities being any the wiser...
There was also the Secret Sam Shooting Pipe, also released in 1965. Nearly five inches in length and made of plastic (but simulating
a more conventional wood pipe), this little gem featured a concealed trigger on the stem and could fire a small but deadly projectile
at any fucking Commie who was unlucky enough to be standing too close. And when the godless foe of democracy crumpled into a heap onto
the ground, the authorities would find no trace of any murder weapon; only our hero, standing placidly nearby and enjoying a
pleasant smoke while perhaps uttering a witty bon mot.
The greatest Secret Sam weapon of all, however, was the Secret Sam Attache Case. It was a briefcase filled with every cool gadget a
young spy could possibly need on a mission. There was a pistol, naturally, with molded grip and attachable scope; with the addition
of a stock, it could be turned into a rifle, for more accurate and long-range dealing of death. It also came with a silencer, a
'message missile' to inform colleagues of important classified information, and even a periscope for situations when sticking one's head
over a wall might prove too dangerous. The case itself wasn't just a carrying device; its interior was situated in such a way that the
pistol could be fired from inside the case, so that one could take out a target in a crowded area and make a clean exit without being
detected. There was also a concealed camera with a lens on the outside, so that surreptitious photos could also be taken for safe
Seeing as how both the Secret Sam and Johnny Seven lines were both manufactured by Topper, one has to ask: was there some sort of
connection between that innocent toy-making company and perhaps the CIA or NSA? After all, it would make sense: train the agents of
tomorrow using the playthings of today. And how fiendishly clever, to defeat America's enemies using our most innocent and blameless
resource, our children. And since the Communist world (well, outside of China) did indeed collapse, perhaps it worked after all. It
was not glasnost that brought it down, not America's shining beacon of democracy or our outward show of military might: no, it was
our most secret, our most loyal line of defense. It was our freedom-loving children who stood up and made a stand against the
insidious forces of evil; and though their weapons were only plastic, their courage and conviction were indeed the genuine article.
Other items of interest:
James Bond Attache Case