When I started to pile together subjects for these Toys of Christmas posts, I never intended to focus on such a small time frame (very late 70s/early 80s) or electronic toys only. I took a leisurely stroll down memory lane and captured the most memorable things. It just so happens they all fall in that magic time of the Dawn of Electronic Toys.
ROM was game company Parker Brothers first and only foray into the realm of action figures, electronic or otherwise. This is somewhat ironic as PB is now owned by Hasbro (formerly Kenner) who have been on the defining edge of action figures for decades. PB smartly sold the character rights to Marvel Comics and as ROM quickly faded into toy nostalgia-ville, the comic went on for a seven year run.
The toy was my first introduction to ROM. I wouldn't see him in comic form until a few years later when he got mixed up in Secret Wars 2. The beauty of this is that without being based on pre-existing media, ROM was totally new to me. There were no preconceived notions in my little head about how I could play with him or for that matter, what he was exactly. Was he a robot or a guy in space armor? What exactly did it mean that his Neutralizer could banish creatures into the Shadow Zone?
While not very articulated, ROM had LED lights, multiple sounds and three different accessories you could plug into him. Don't know why they decided to give him glowing red eyes and a creepy breathing sound, though. I imagine at least one lad somewhere used it to scare a sibling in the dark. The site ROM Spaceknight Revisited has digitized all his sounds and is also a great resource for all things ROM. How sweet would ROM's translator be as a ring tone?
If you want to get to know ROM a lot better, check out this 10 minute video.