Buck Rogers XZ-31 Rocket Pistol
The "must have" sci-fi toy of 1934
Buck Rogers’s "XZ-31 Rocket Pistol" was the very first toy ray gun ever produced. Daisy released the toy at Macy’s department store for the 1934 Christmas season. To promote the gun, Macy’s created a "World of Tomorrow" section in their New York store, complete with rockets, moonscapes, and employees dressed like space travelers. The day the toy went on sale, lines stretched around the block.
The rocket pistol was the signature weapon of Buck Rogers, a veteran Air Force pilot who falls asleep in a mine and wakes up in the 25th century. He finds America has long since collapsed from a world war. Americans have splintered into tribes living in the wilderness and in underground complexes. Buck’s future America has returned to its frontier past.
The story originated in 1928 in an issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Originally named Anthony Rogers, his name was changed for the 1929 comic strip adaptation to Buck Rogers, after the 1920s cowboy actor Buck Jones. Since then, different versions of Buck Rogers have appeared in books, comics, toys, radio dramas, film, television, and video games.
Courtesy Johnny Étoile
Time Period: 1866 - 1936
Exhibit: Cowboys in Space and Fantastic Worlds
This artifact is currently on view.