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Mad Scientist "Too Gross!" By Joe
In 1987, kids had the opportunity to be Dr. Frankenstein with the introduction of Mattel's Mad
Scientist activity toys. The two main sets, which were promoted as being "too gross" in
commercials, featured a cartoon character Mad Scientist who also adorned the box.
The first set was the basic Mad Scientist Monster Lab Set, which featured an peculiar experiment. A toy skeleton was dipped into an odd sort of pink colored compound which would form a body. Then you then placed it in water and watched the skin slowly dissolve away to once again reveal the skeleton.
If that wasn't gross enough for you, there was a second set which got to be a quite infamous. It was called Dissect an Alien. The set came with an alien toy which featured some plastic internal organs and a batch of slime for the organs to swim in. By using the toy scalpel to cut into the chest, you could sent his organs oozing out and pick out what you wanted to see. This set really did live up to the "too gross" promise in the commercials. Quite a few parents agreed. It seemed that Mommy and Daddy did not want Junior getting alien guts on the Family table. The set got even more attention when the commercial received a TV Guide ZAP! award, an award for the worst in television.
Also of interest, but not made by Mattel, were 2 bendy figures of the Mad Scientist character. I believe the Ace company made them. One was of him in his lab coat with all his mad scientist tools. The other was a little bizarre. It featured the Mad Scientist in red longjohns with a butcher's apron, and included gruesome tools like a workman's saw for him to use on experiments. These also were released in 1987.
Sadly, just as quickly as he appeared, the Mad Scientist toys disappeared. The novelty of being "too gross" wore off quickly for kids back then, who soon would be bombarded by something called Nintendo. After all, there were only so many times you could dissolve the skin or dissect an alien before it got old real fast. Unless it can endure or be more involving (like Etch A Sketch), many activity toys do not last a year any more.
I have yet to see any of his stuff on online auction sites. It seems that collectors are not interested in any of the Mad Scientist's experiments, which would seem tame compared to the gore and slime that's in today's video games and toys. But, as the 80's nostalgia is beginning to hit (even He Man is collectible), people may once again may be searching for things (especially toys) that remind them of this time. And, if that happens, it may mean folks will be looking for another trip back to the lab and the "too gross" experiments of the Mad Scientist.