Nabisco Sky King Songbird Premium

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Nabisco Sky King Songbird Premium

Postby MichaelB » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:54 pm

This is a "cereal premium" offered by Nabisco around 1960. The TV show "Sky King" had run on American TV since 1954 and was very popular, thanks to the airplanes! While Sky King started with a Cessna Bobcat, he eventually graduated to a Cessna 310B - a hot airplane at the time. Cessna gave them a plane to use in the series.
Nabisco offered a series of small, plastic figures and vehicles in their breakfast cereals and my reference shows the date as 1956. However, I see that is an error as the premium airplanes is a Cessna 310D - first model with the swept fin - that came out in 1960. The Sky King show left the airwaves in 1961 and he always flew a straight tail 310B. That easily dates the premium to that time frame.
The small, translucent airplane looks very good, showing all the salient details to be found a nice little model of the 310: props, undercarriage, wings, tip tanks and etc. It's remarkable that the props have survived these 56 years! The wingspan is 3 1/8". They came in a variety of colors; this one is a translucent red. On top of the wings is a raised "Songbird" (TV show name for the plane) and under the wings are the "Sky King" logos. There is no makers mark except for a "6" in the center. Perhaps this is #6 of the premiums offered?
It's look, feel and attention to detail makes me think that it was made by MPC - Multiple Plastics Corp - the maker of very similar "Planes Of The World" toys. While the Songbird is much larger, the translucent red plastic is the same, as well as the general "feel" of the plastic. Durable, accurate and a one piece, hollow, cast. Also, the time is right - 1960 - which is when MPC was also producing their line. Significantly, there is no Cessna 310 in the MPC production list; the closest is a Piper Cub. The MPC planes are noted for their accuracy to the real thing, and are all hollow casts - just like the Songbird.
This is a nice little model - now quite expensive on eBay! - as well as being an important part of every kid's life growing up in the United States in the '50s and '60s. It's tie to MPC is noteworthy.
PS: On a personal note, I never had one of these as a kid in the '50s. I didn't know they existed until my adult years with eBay.
Typical MPC planes
Notice the accurate details for the 310D.
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