ABOVE: There was no denying that Wards had gone completely to the dogs for Christmas 1970. An irresistible puppy just like the lovable Miniature Schnauzer (top, left) shown on the cover was included among the vast array of gift items in the Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog 1970. Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Poodles, Wire-Haired Fox Terriers, and West Highland Whites (top, right) were also showcased along with a complete array of coats, sweaters, bedding, and accessories. If none of the five breeds shown were exactly what you were looking for, the big Wards Fall-Winter Catalog included 58 more breeds to choose from. In 1970 giant puppy mills did not carry the stigma such an organization would be saddled with today. Light-hearted Christmas catalog covers aside, Wards was in trouble by 1970. Ultra-conservative post-war management delayed any serious push to development of suburban stores until close to the end of the 1950s. As late at 1957 new downtown stores were still being built. (Above) This store just outside Santa Anna in Orange County, California, was part of Wards mad rush to play catch up with Sears. Opening in August 1961, this successful store performed well for several decades and remained viable until the very end when Wards closed down all its stores in 2001.

ABOVE: Remco's Mister Brain (right) was heavily promoted for Christmas 1970. In addition to Wards, the robot also appeared in the Penneys, Spiegel, and Aldens Christmas catalogs. Wards . The "cam-operated computer" that sent Mister Brain along his pre-programmed routes was a very similar system to that used in Remco's own Supercar toy from 1963 (above, left). This dramatic rendering was a page from Remco's 1963 product catalog, suggested retail of the Supercar toy was $5.98. Unlike power-hungry Mister Brain who required 4 "D" cells, Supercar navigated its eight pre-programmed routes with a single battery. Most examples came with all white cams (above, lower left), but occasionally the cams were blue or assorted blue and white. Cams were replaced by opening the big door in the front of the robot.
ABOVE: Aptly described as the "Spinning Robot" by Wards, the astronaut head version of Horikawa's Super Astronaut featured an updated door design compared to the 1968 original version. Both Astronaut and Robot head versions shared the Super Astronaut name for English Box versions. Adorable Dachshund puppies, along with 62 other breeds, were available in Wards big 1970 Fall Winter Catalog.
ABOVE: Although a radical departure compared to earlier releases in the series, Zeroid Alien gave Ideal a standout entry into the super hot category of toys that could be "programmed." The dramatic self-destruct feature made the toy even more exciting. A common wheel-driven tread system and similar chassis set up for all Zeroids made the ZEM XXI Flying Saucer compatible with Zerak, Zintar, Zobor, Zogg, Zemo, and the new-for-1970 Zeroid Alien. Early packaging showcased a striking illustration of Zintar emerging from the mechanically operated saucer. The Zeroid Exploratory Module would be re-colored, repackaged, and renamed Star Hawk to become part of the Star Wars-inspired Star Team series later in the decade.
ABOVE: (above) Yonezawa's "Fantastic Acrobot" which first appeared in Wards 1968 catalog was back again for 1970 at a slightly lower price. Again described as a Wards exclusive, Acrobot had also been featured regionally by Marshall Field & Company 1968 and would appear again in Toys of the Hour for 1973. Over the years two very distinct versions of the toy appeared which outwardly seemed identical but shared no parts. Color variations included red/blue, red/aqua, and turquoise/red/yellow.
ABOVE: (top) Mr. Monster was packed with multiple actions and priced lower than many toys that did a lot less. Note actual production robot had many features that had changed since the catalog art was put together earlier in the year. Gigantic Gigantor by Mego was an obvious imitator of the Horikawa Space Giant in appearance as well as actions. Besides the many styling similarities, the two robots unfortunately both share a very high failure rate of the reversing chassis feature.