ABOVE: By 1970 the toy robot craze was near its zenith and Penneys was fully immersed in the popular phenomenon. Explo Robot (top) was one of seven toy robots offered. Penneys stores in 1970 ran the gamut from the latest in suburban shopping to familiar downtown standbys that served generation after generation. The Pennys logo shown here with the blue accent on the "P" was launched to coincide with the grand opening of Pennys first suburban location in 1963. Between 1971 and 1973 this logo was phased in favor of the JCPenney logo still used today. A gleaming testament to modernity, the suburban Pompano Beach store in Florida (above, left) beckoned shoppers inside with a massive lighted satellite above the entrance. (above, left) In 1970 Penney's had 1,700 stores, most still located in small to moderate sized downtown shopping districts. This was the Ames, Iowa, store as it appeared in 1970.

ABOVE: From a single robot in the first nationally distributed Christmas catalog of 1964, Penneys had become fully immersed in the category with an incredible array of seven models offered in The Christmas Place 1970.
ABOVE: Leading off Pennys 1970 selection of robots was Remco's heavily promoted new-for-1970 Mister Brain (item 1, above). Mister Brain used cogs to navigate six pre-programmed routes, three of which were shown in an illustrated close-up detail that complemented the photo. Remco had used a similar cog system in its own 1963 Supercar Toy. Tru-Smoke feature was shared with other Remco toys. Mister Brain's multiple actions and substantial size required four "D" cell batteries to operate. Complete with Remco logo, a tube of "completely safe" mineral oil was included for future fill ups. Mister Brain appeared in nearly every major 1970 Christmas catalog including Montogmery Ward, Spiegel, and Aldens. Remco's Rudy Robot (item 2, above) was priced identically to Mister Brain but had fewer features. Rudy was offered in a variety of yellow and red or red and black combinations. The robot was so similar to Remco's The Wizard of Oz Tin Man Robot (not shown) that both toys shared the same instructions sheet. Horikawa "TV Robot" priced at $3.77 (item 3 above, also shown below) was only underpriced by Topper's plastic Robotrons (below). Also renaming the toy "TV Robot," Marshall Field and Company also included the robot in Toys of the Hour Christmas 1970. Space Robot was actually Tomy's Space Robo introduced in 1969. Like Mister Brain, Space Robo traveled in a variety of patterns but used a lighted red dial instead of cogs. Space Robot also appeared in the 1970 Sears Christmas Catalog at the exact same price of $4.77. However unlike Penneys, Sears showcased Tomy's entire Magic Dial series which included a Space Saucer and Space Dog .
ABOVE: Horikawa Video Robot (above, far right) was identified as a new style in Horikawa's 1970 English Language Product Catalog. Astronaut version of Video Robot (center) otherwise known as the Space Explorer shown in Penney's 1970 catalog displayed a vertically scrolling space scene. The Video Robot was part of entire family of products with numerous robot and astronaut spin-offs including Radar Robot (above, lower left). Feet, arms, and heads could be either tin or plastic (upper left) and a variety of colors, films, names, and box designs helped Horikawa create several distinctive toys using one basic core design.
ABOVE: Mr. Amaze-A-Matic (above left) used slimmer cards but operated on the same basic principle as Hasbro's Amaze-A-Matic Cars which were released a year earlier. The four original Amaze-A-Matic models (above right) from 1969 were based on prestigious Ford's GT 40 race car and concept vehicles from General Motors and Chrysler Corporation. The Amaze-A-Matic Buick Century Cruiser (above) had very similar styling to GM dream car of the same name that debuted at the New York Auto Show in 1969. Like it's miniature namesake, the Buick Century Cruiser was designed for pre-programmed travel on the highways of tomorrow.
ABOVE: (Clockwise from top left) Explo Robot originally marketed by Nikko of Japan became one of Topper Toy's new Robotron series launched in 1970. Gofer Robot (top right) was a super-sized version of the much smaller robot of the same name from Topper's Ding-A-Lings series. Replacing the pink face of the original with body-colored plastic made the Robotron edition look slightly more robotic. Unlike Explo, operation of Gofer was somewhat cumbersome and required much manual interaction and ideally a second playmate. Penny's "Holly Optics Kit" (above, left) priced at $5.98 was a set of ten clear filament sprays designed to work with strands of the increasingly popular Christmas mini lights. Adapters included with the sets allowed the color of the light to be changed. Look closely, what appears to be Santa himself on the cover (above, right) is actually a mannequin prop. In 1970 Penny's Santa suits ranged from $8.88 for the economy cotton model up to $19.98 for the plush velvet-look corduroy deluxe version.