.THE YEAR: 1967!

THE EVENT: Zintar! Zerak! Zobor! The ZEROIDS are here!

"From the Planet Zero... the incredible automatons from outer space! Moving across the landscape, overrunning all obstacles as inexorably as the future itself, these amazing, fearless and powerful automatons have but one purpose... to serve their masters -- YOU!"

Wow! Robot slaves! Cool!
The Zeroids were plastic robot toys from the Ideal toy company. These babies had motorized rubber treads for feet, and different, interchangable robotic hands. "Each Zeroid has a unique pair of special-purpose hands, interchangeable magnetic and throwing hands, and a battery-powered motor with forward and reverse drive. In operation, Zeroids are capable of grabbing, pinching, carrying, clawing, attracting, throwing, pushing, pulling or hauling functions."

BELOW: The classic Zeroid ad seen in countless DC comics of the late 1960s!

Each of the three Zeroids initially offered had a different function, and each played a different role in Zeroid society. Zerak was the Blue Destroyer; Zintar was the Silver Explorer, and Zobor, seen below, was the bronze transport robot. His hands were metallic claws used to grasp and lift objects. This toy's plastic box/ case doubled as a "cosmobile," used for hauling space debris, pet bugs, or severed Barbie doll heads.

.The fourth Zeroid, Zogg (pictured right), was the Commander of the Zeroid army. He was initially available only by purchasing the Zeroid Commander Action Set, and later offered as a stand-alone product. Zogg had a shining .metallic green colored body, with purple strips over his torso, a plastic honeycomb for a face, and a red light under his antenna.

Unlike the other Zeroids, Zogg didn't have removable hands! Instead, his robotic arms ended in metal plus and minus shaped terminals, which were used to power different functions of the Commander Action Set (pictured left) that Zogg originally came with.

Battery-powered current from Zogg's terminals would activate an alarm in one location, and spinning sensors in another. Zogg also had a lighted "laser beam" which attached to the ends of his robot arms. I've heard rumors that as a commander, Zogg was a real slave driver. That's why the rest of the Zeroids really don't like him very much.

After the line's initial release, Ideal later made several additions to the Zeroid family, including the Zeroid Action Set, the Commander Action set featuring Commander Zogg, the Zeroid Missile Defense Pad, the Zeroid Alien, and the ZEM XXI Zeroid Explorer Module, all pictured below.

.In 1977, following the huge success of the "Star Wars" movies, Ideal decided to reissue altered versions of the Zeroids as part of their "S.T.A.R. Team" (Space Travel And Reconnaissance). Poor Zogg, pictured right, was painted silver, and his head was replaced by a .clear plastic dome -- presumably to increase his (totally unauthorized) likeness to R2-D2.

That kind of thing can really hurt a robot. Who wants to have their head replaced by a dome? Especially if you're a former supreme commander of the entire Zeroid army.

It gets worse: The S.T.A.R. Team Zeroids weren't motorized, as the originals were, and they didn't come with accessories. No interchangable hands, nothing. But reader, if you ever meet Zogg, please don't mention this embarrassing version of himself to him. It gets him SO mad!

Hope the toys you got this Christmas are as much fun as good old Zerak, Zintar, Zobor and Zogg... but somehow I doubt they ever could be. Merry Zeroid-ing, reader!
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