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Major Matt Mason Italian Talking Backpack

Collector Bill Ystrom of Chicago adds his own contribution to the Italian portion of Wildtoys.com, with this Italian Talking Backpack. Molded in the same colors and part of Mattel's Major Matt Mason presence in Italy, this backpack is virtually indestinguishable from an English-speaking one. It's outstanding feature is its nearly incomprehensible (at least to us goofy Americans) Italian. Bill sent me the .wav files below. Click each to listen to from your browser or click the Zip file below to download all.

Sound Files:
Click to Listen 1.) "Riscontro forte radioattività" 74 KB
Click to Listen 2.) "Controllo (attivi) nucleari O.K." 75 KB
Click to Listen 3.) "Sigillate le guarnizioni col laser" 69 KB
Click to Listen 4.) "Tempesta magnetica, non sento" 72 KB
Click to Listen 5.) "Novità nessuna. Passo e chiudo" 79 KB

Zipped File:

     Download .wav Files in Zipped format

(download winzip 8.0 at left to decompress)



Translations:
Paul states: "I couldn't make out much of the other Italian Jetpack messages, so asked my Italian brother-in-law Stefano for help. We now have 4 out of 5 messages, the 3rd one being too garbled for both of us." (This has since been updated by Simone, who started the whole Italian search - his comments are below -- John)

1.) "Riscontro forte radioattività"
- I encounter strong radioactivity. (correction by Ervino Cus in Italy)

2.) "Controllo attività nucleari O.K."
- Nuclear Activity Check OK

3.) "Sigillate le guarnizioni col laser"
- Seal the bolts with (your) lasers

4.) "Tempesta magnetica, non sento"
- Magnetic storm, I can't hear (you)

5.) "Novità nessuna. Passo e chiudo"
- No news/Nothing new/Nothing to report. Over and out

Bill's Notes:
Hey, this WWW thing is pretty cool! A couple months back (almost 2 years ago now! - John) I rebuilt the drive in a MMM talking back-pack and discovered it did not speak in English, now collectors around the world are helping to translate the messages. This is not quite the future that I envisioned as a kid playing with MMM toys, but amazing none the less!

Fantastic work on the translations, Paul & Stefano! A friend, who lived in Venice for a couple years, attempted to translate when I first got it talking, and was only partially successful. He thought the dialect was different from what he was used to and those squeaky sound effects present big problem for a translator! A recording engineer is working on cleaned-up wav files and probably will have to re-record them with better equipment.

Paul's Notes:
Well, the squeaks certainly don't help, but it's definitely no 'dialect'. I was going to put the garbled message through a sound editor to try and regulate the speed, but haven't yet managed to sort out the conversion to something compatible to the older system on my Mac at home... Some cleaned-up sound files would be pretty good to have. The messages do not seem to be translations of the US BackPack messages, but rather something made up in Italy. These sounds are different from the ones advertised in the Italian Mattel Dealer catalogue (see below). In the catalogue they have a few messages that *are* translations of the ones in english. In contrast, the messages on the French Talking BackPack *do* appear to translate the US messages.



Here's a scan of 2 pics from a colour copy of the 1970 Italian dealer catalogue (It devotes a full page to the talking backpack, but these are the 2 relevant pics).

These show what the backpack was advertised as saying, but doesn't in reality. I believe they're translations from messages in English, probably translated with all the other texts found in the corresponding US edition of the catalogue. I haven't got one of those, so perhaps you could check (and also if the messages quoted in that are actually what the US backpack says).

Text on Left Pic:
Novita'! Matt Mason dice: "Missione compiuta, ritorno alla base" e altre 4 frasi - art. 6362 - New! Matt Mason says: "Mission accomplished, return to base" and 4 other phrases - art. 6362

(note: this message corresponds to one that my French talker also has in French. My US talkers are too garbled to understand).

Text on Right Pic:
E' il maggiore Matt Mason che parla. Communicazione alla Luna: "Usare l'ossigeno di riserva" - It's major Matt Mason that talks. Communication to the Moon: "Use the reserve oxygen"

(note: The text with this image is of course incorrect, but shouldn't be taken literally. Just so readers don't get confused, another picture on the page does explain that it's the backpack that talks, and not the figure.)

Simone's Notes:
Hi,
     My name is Simone Bregni; I'm mentioned somewhere on your website on MMM (from a letter I had sent in 92/93 to Christian De Grandpre in Canada about the Base Aliena I remember seeing in a toy store as a kid in 1971, and then on a store-closing sale several years later). I've finally completed my Ph.D and I have more time in hand now, so I was surfing the web for MMM. I'm currently professor of Italian at St. Louis University (www.slu.edu/users/users/bregni).

     I own an Italian talking MMM (no box, though, just the action figure + backpack), and message 3 says:

"Sigillate le guarnizioni col laser" = seal the bolts with (your) lasers.

# 2 actually says: "Controllo attivita` nucleari OK", so the right translation is "Activity control check A-OK".

     I still collect MMM, but I haven't found new pieces in years. I practically gave up looking for MMM items while on my trips to Italy, as my connections with Italian dealers/collectors haven't lead to anything since 1992... All the items I found in Italy are Canadian, although I remember Italian boxes looked like the Simpson's-Sear set, with all the writings in Italian. I also remember an Italian Space Shelter pack I saw in a store in 1977, but couldn't afford (and I was kind of ashamed to buy anyway, I was 14 already back then...); on the back, there were color pictures of all the other accessory packs, and instructions were on a separate sheet inside the package. As far as I know, I am still the only MMM collector in Italy (and still live in the States most of the year anyways). Do you know of anybody else?

     Congratulations on an excellent MMM site!!!      Given time, I will scan the complete 1969 "Corriere dei Piccoli" MMM comic, and ads; I have most of them in Italy, some here.

     Ciao,
     Simone

John's Notes:
It's really wonderful that with the colaborative efforts of Major Matt Mason collectors world-wide we have been able to get some great learning on this foreign-language variation. I especially like Paul's latest addition of the Italian Mattel Catalog pic of the talking backpack.



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