Last Friday, your PopCulteer embarked on quite the wonderful road trip. In a one day round trip, yours truly, Melanie Larch, Lee Harrah and Mark Wolfe all piled into Mark’s SUV for a sojourn up North, to the land of toys. We didn’t have to go all the way to the North Pole. The Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum in Wheeling was playing host to The Marx Toy Convention, and we decided to hit and run the show (where I got to introduce the entourage to Terri Coop, of Circle X Ranch, Marxman Creations and and The Marx Toy Company) before heading twelve miles away to The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville.
Welcome to Kruger Street
This was Mark’s first trip to either place. Since I’ve already treated my readers to my photo essays on both museums (HERE, HERE and HERE), this week the PopCult Toybox will bring you Mark’s photos, with a few captions by me. Mark was like a kid in a candy store. I can’t recall hearing “I want that” and “I need this” so many times. I did help broker a deal where Mark left Wheeling with a Cape Canaveral playset from the Space Era.
Except for the photo at the top of this post of Lee and Mark under the Marx Toy Museum sign, all the photos in this essay are by Mark Wolfe, artist extraordinaire, and the proprietor of Mark Wolfe Design, your source for all your graphics, advertising and web design needs. The captions are still by your PopCulteer, but we’ll try and keep those to a minimum.
On with the photos…
We’ll start off with the Johnny Apollo Space Crawler. These are nearly impossible to find with the canopy intact, and Mark took plenty of pictures of it.
Johnny Apollo was Marx Toy Company’s answer to Mattel’s Major Matt Mason
More cool astronauts
What kid didn’t want this back in the 1960s
MEGO stuff, with Planet of the Apes and Star Trek in evidence
The Great Garloo
The Mystery Space Ship box
…and out of the box
A parting glance at The Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum before we head to…
…and we head to Moundsville, home of The Marx Toy Museum
Mark’s first stop, the prototype room, where he stood gawking at the never-marketed “Haunted Castle” set…
This set, which might have ushered in the 1960s monster toy boom several years earlier, was vetoed by the women who worked at the Marx factory
They thought that it was bad to encourage kids to play in a graveyard, among other damnable concerns
Mint, unopened Big Loo, still in the box
Mark didn’t realize that Louis Marx had been on the cover of Time Magazine in the 1950s.
Original art for the Gunsmoke Playset
Astronauts and space toys are Mark’s passion. These one-of-a-kind two-tone figures were a treat
This space-age set was amazing…
…but not as elaborate as the giant Moonbase set.
Rare four-inch astronauts
Cape Canaveral Playset…very similar to the one Mark took home from Wheeling
Spacemen among the cowboys
Campus Cuties, proving that man does not live on astronauts alone
The original Rock Em Sock Em Robots
…and with this, we bid farewll to The Marx Toy Museum, but a return trip is already being planned.