My parents also introduced me to Space 1999.
I bought this lunch box about 2 years ago on eBay. It now sits on top of a rack of computers in my cube . ... ah hem... office
As a kid, I had a huge play version of the ship - know as the Eagle. It was SOOOO cool. The front would come off as a second, smaller ship. The middle part would open and you could put your Space 1999 figures into it. I think it even had a grapling hook on the bottom. This fed childhood play and fantacies for hours and hours. For some cool photos of this fantastic toy - click here . . . I'm thinking I'll bid on it.
This gives you an idea of the size of the toy. God I wish I had kept the thing! (this is not a photo of me, just a photo I found through a search)
I'm sure the show's premise helped mold my ethical/moral fiber. Like Star Trek, Space 1999 episodes were filled with plots that posed cultural/ethical quandries. I bet my desire for a more ecologically sane world was somewhat formed by the show .. here's the premise...
By the year 1999, Moonbase Alpha had been built to serve as a scientific platform and nuclear waste monitoring post (nuclear waste from Earth is being shipped and stored on the moon). On September 13, 1999, the nuclear waste exploded causing the Moon to leave Earth's orbit and begin a fantastic journey of space exploration!
Read a very complete write up about the show - unless you are an uber geek.. I suggest you skim this article.