Universal Mike Mercury’s Supercar lunchbox
The Universal Mike Mercury’s Supercar lunchbox is a vintage lunchbox based on the 1960s science fiction television puppet show ‘Supercar’.
‘Supercar’ was a children’s puppet adventure show produced by Gerry Anderson, which told the story of a jet-powered flying car piloted by Mike Mercury. Produced in 1961, it became the first Gerry Anderson production to be aired in the U.S (although in syndication rather than on a major network).
It ran for two seasons and 39 episodes from 1961 until 1962, and was adapted into a comic book in the U.S by Gold Key Comics from 1962 until 1963. The show was also the first to be represented by AP Films (Merchandising) Ltd, a pioneering company set up by Anderson to handle the merchandise relating to his television shows. They produced a range of toys, games and magazines based on every Anderson show from then on, making them one of the most successful merchandising groups in the world.
One such item was a Supercar lunchbox, licensed by AP Films and produced by Universal in the U.S in 1962.
The Universal Mike Mercury’s Supercar lunchbox
The box has red borders and a black handle, with colour illustrated graphics on the front, back and side panels.
The front of the box features Mike Mercury, Horatio Beaker, Jimmy Gibson and Mitch the monkey in the Supercar as it orbits the Earth below. The lunchbox itself can also be seen on the back seat next to Mitch. Text on the right-hand side of the panel reads “Mike Mercury’s Supercar Orbital Food Container”.
The reverse of the box shows the Supercar taking off vertically from the ocean, with a submarine below and seagulls circling the car as it flies away. The top panel features another image of the Supercar flying through space with earth in the background, whilst the bottom panel shows a close-up of Mike Mercury with Rudolph Popkiss and Mitch the monkey sat in the Supercar behind him.
The side panels show Horatio Beaker, Jimmy and Mitch looking through a telescope, and Jimmy and Mitch eating their lunch from the lunchbox itself (which has the same graphics). It is possible the only vintage lunchbox ever produced to feature an image of itself in its own artwork.
The matching thermos flask features the same graphics as the front of the box.
How much is a Universal Mike Mercury’s Supercar lunchbox worth?
The box is relatively rare, and was not produced by Universal in large numbers unlike many boxes from Aladdin or King Seeley Thermos. However, the show itself had a limited run in the U.S and the box is not widely sought after.
Examples in good condition can be found on auction sites such as eBay for $75 - $100, whilst average used boxes regularly sell for $25 - $35.
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