Sonar Sub Hunt
Picture and Video Page

Updated May 8, 2014

Pictures and video clips the game and associated items.


Mattel's Original 1961 Television Commercial

Click here to see it on YouTube.

"Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 1961....."

The game shown in the commercial appears to be a prototype, and I have never seen another like it. All of the controls have painted label letters, and the periscopes look like they might be made of of metal. That lone black grid marker the kids are using is really just a grease pencil, and even the box graphics are different. My guess is that they rushed to make the commercial before the consumer editions of the game were actually ready. Perhaps a pre-Christmas advertising push?

It also looks like they stuck one or more flashlights inside the case to make it appear that the game grids are backlit. Today that would be called deceptive advertising!


Sonar Sub Hunt Pictures


A near mint edition of the game.

All the pieces are original and everything is in great condition. Even the display hinge in the top of the box is still unbent.

Games like this are hard to find!


This is a great edition of the game in the uncommon orange box.

I am still trying to find out the reasons why Mattel produced this different box and why it is so rare.

NOTE: Some games shipped in the orange box had green inserts.
Here is the bottom of the box, which is seldom seen.

Some sellers of the game believe the information here to be the instructions for the game, but it just isn't so. To get the complete rules you need the instruction booklet.
A look through the periscope.

The two periscopes make the game something very unique. Strange, though, when you consider that real periscopes allow submariners to see above the surface, while the game's scopes view below.
A depth charge has hit a sub!

This is how the the light should look when a sub has been hit - bright and unwavering. The crosshairs on the armature cause an "X" shadow to appear on the grid cover.
The same view with the cover removed.
No, this isn't some long forgotten corner of the Mattel Toy Company warehouse, it's my living room when I am on a marathon game fixing binge.

This sort of thing can only occur when my wife is gone for the weekend.
After some time and effort, another game is restored and ready for a lucky new owner.


After dealing in these games for many years I recently encountered something I had never seen before.

Here is an original Sonar Sub Hunt registration card.

Just for grins, I mailed in a copy of the registration card just to see what Mattel Customer Service might do with it. Here is what I got back:


Click for full size pic

Click for full size pic

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Here is another unexpected find.

Seen one of these before? It was new to me. This card is made to sit on the rear grid cover when the game is opened with the lid folded back as a display for sale. I shelled out a lot of bucks to obtain this, and I am now including recreations with some of the games I sell.
Here is an advertisement for the game from a 1962 catalog.
Click for full size pic
Here is the worst case of corrosion I have ever encountered.

This gameboard was successfully resurrected, but this buzzer was given a decent burial.
Leakproof? Don't you believe it!

Before the advent of alkaline batteries, these little devils would hold a charge for about 20 minutes before dying. In a few months they would begin to leak their acid which would then corrode any nearby metal parts and eat through cardboard boxes. It is not unusual to find a Sonar Sub Hunt box with a hole directly under the game's battery compartment.
Case in point....

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Jeff Popp
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Jeff Popp
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Sonar Sub Hunt ™ 1961
Mattel Inc.