Nuclear Sub, yours for $6.98

"Polaris Nuclear Sub," offered in the Spiderman Comics March 1967 Issue. As shared on Flickr by SenseiAlan. I love those old Honor House ads.


  1. I never did order one of these, but I understand they turned out to be made of cardboard. Admittedly $6.98 for a 7-foot long cardboard sub still sounds like a pretty good deal, or at least it would have seemed that way to me growing up in a neighborhood where there wasn’t a nearby body of water big enough to hold a real submarine.

    1. It was actually someone on Boing Boing who first dug up that photo! (Yes, this ad is a repeat, but Xeni’s link to the advert collection makes it worthwhile.)

      Kirk Demarais’ web site (which I can’t get at work) has a post showing an UN-ASSEMBLED cardboard rocket ship toy made by the same firm as the Polaris Sub. I’ll put a link here later.

      The parts are brightly colored and nicely cut, and there are a wooden controls for the dashboard. A little kid might be thrilled; anyone older that maybe seven would feel gypped.

  2. These things are a right of passage. Everyone should experience the let down of that ‘magical’ bit of retail. (Remember Alphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ and the Little Annie Decoder Ring?) Took my nephew to a carnival and I let him blow his cash on the midway. At the end he exclaimed, “I spent $20 to win a blow up sword?!”

    1.  It’s an important life lesson.  Should help to prevent one from falling for the ads for those “1% interest!” negative ammortization teaser rate suicide loans in later life.  

    1.  That also covers the cost of the tissue to wipe the tears of disappointment from a child’s eyes.

  3. My mother and father spent HOURS putting this thing together.  There were lots and lots and lots of little fasteners.  My brothers and I  loved it.  Then my obnoxious cousin came to visit.  He put his feet through the bottom so he could wear and completely destroyed it.  For the record, my brothers and I have NEVER forgiven him.  We still loathe him.  

    1. You should have just left him on that island with the tight bracelet stuck on his wrist.

  4. Honor House was Ripoff Central. Their 6-Foot glowing ‘Frankenstein’ was printed on a sheet of garbage bag-like white plastic & came w/ a tiny sheet of glow-in-the-dark adhesive paper to be cut up for highlighting parts of the image. The ad was misleading. Their “Floating Ghost” was worse. Even as a 9-year-old, I wrote a complaint letter & received no reply. Better to DIY for Hallowe’en.

    1.  Doh, you beat me to it. I was going with, “Kim Jong-un have reportedly cancelled all of his humanitarian projects to free up $6.98+75c postage and packing. Look out America!”

  5. Pretty sure I mentioned this last time around, but there’s an early CSI:NY episode where ‘our heroes’ eventually find out a motive for murder was watching someone’s little sister drown in their cardboard sub because the ad never mentioned it couldn’t actually float. The murder weapon was a souped-up exploding cigar given to the joke-shop owner that advertised them in the comics. Quality television.

    1. CSI LAW: Any sufficiently interesting hobby or fetish will eventually get you killed on CSI.
      *Puts on sunglasses*

  6. I was a sucker.I was completely convinced that if Granny would just let me send in the 6.98 & 3 quarters,I would receive a (presumably thick-plastic) totally functional, small electric submarine.We were going to take it to the family cabin on the lake.I was going to show everyone,I was going to show them all….  

  7. I really, REALLY wanted one of these when I was in second grade, but who has $6.98 + 75c? A year or two ago I ran into a classmate I hadn’t seen in decades. He asked if I ever get the submarine. Nope, never did. Probably better that way.

  8. I remember it was the spring of ’91 Chris Peterson and his father went down off the coast of their bathtub in one of these, never to be heard from again. Although some say that the series went on for two more seasons, I think that’s just the legend talking.

  9. I have fond memories of seeing this in the back of the ten cent comics I used to buy at the corner shop. The guy kept them all in steel hoppers separated by horror comics, superhero comics, and “other”.  I remember graduating from bin to bin over the course of a few years as I got older.  But I never graduated from wishing I had the mail order toys.  I never got the sub, but I got Roman soldiers with catapults that made me incredibly happy.

  10. I got one of these as a present when I was little. It was super awesome. As were the gigantic Flintstones Building Blocks. I suspect you had to both possess a wicked imagination and be young enough to appreciate these things.

  11. I really don’t understand how, but as a kid I had an instinct this was all somehow crapola. I was familiar with the huckster phenomenon, probably from movies and animated shows, and the ads dripped of that funky salesmanship. Was also always depressed by the quality of toys at 5 and dime stores. But I definitely did look longingly at those ads thinking, “wow, sneezing powder.. wouldn’t that be awesome..”

  12. Mark has posted our stuff a bunch before, but Darling Pet Munkee (all songs about items sold in comic books) has a Polaris song:

Comments are closed.