Aladdin Tom Corbett Space Cadet lunchboxes
Aladdin Tom Corbett Space Cadet lunchboxes are vintage lunchboxes based on the popular 1950s U.S television show ‘Tom Corbett, Space Cadet’.
‘Tom Corbett, Space Cadet’ began life as a television show in 1950, telling the story of three space cadets and their adventures whilst training to become members of the solar guard. The characters and stories went on to appear in a radio series in 1952, a series of comic strips syndicated in U.S newspapers, a series of science fiction novels, and a run of comic books.
The show also created a wide range of merchandise during the 1950s, inspired by the recent success of Hopalong Cassidy merchandise. This included children’s costumes, toys, records, watches, View Master reels and two lunchboxes made by Aladdin Industries.
The Aladdin Tom Corbett Space Cadet lunchboxes
There were two different lunchboxes produced by Aladdin during the 1950s.
The first was made in 1952, and is similar to the company’s early boxes in that it features a small panel of graphics on the front of the box, whereas the reverse and sides remain blank.
This box was available in two colours, red and blue, and features an image of Tom Corbett speaking on a radio communicator whilst spacecraft fly past the circular window behind him. It also features the show’s logo, and reads ‘Tom Corbett – Space Cadet’. This box also came with a thermos flask depicting characters from the show collecting samples on the lunar surface, with Captain Steve Strong and Dr Joan Dale in the foreground.
The second box was released in 1954, and is far closer in style to the later Aladdin boxes in that it features full-box graphics on the front, back and sides. It features a blue border and handle, and features all three cadets (Tom Corbett, Astro and Roger Manning) on the surface of a planet in space suits, with their rocket in the background.
The back of the box features a space chart with the sun at the centre, and the sides feature simple images of planets and spacecraft.
How much are Aladdin Tom Corbett Space Cadet lunchboxes worth?
The two boxes clearly illustrate the evolving state of television merchandise during the early 1950s, and as such both are sought after by vintage lunchbox collectors. Earlier boxes in good condition are relatively rare, and can sell on auction sites such as eBay for up to $125.
The 1954 boxes are a little more common, but collectors should beware as the design has been reproduced as a modern lunchbox with identical graphics. Original 1954 boxes are slightly more sought after than their earlier counterparts, due to the larger size and higher quality of the box graphics.
Good condition boxes with little wear and tear can sell for $75 to $100 without flasks, and over $150 with them.