Tuesday, August 22, 2006

IS THIS DOCTOR A QUACK?





This remote controlled Doctor Frankenstein robot is an alleged 1963 prototype from the Marx Toy Company. Just in case you missed out on all the speculation over at UMA regarding this item, I will give you the rundown here at Castle Famous. I feel it's worthy of discussion here as well as at the Universal Monster Army Yahoo group.

This "prototype" is supposedly a 1963 sales sample from the Marx Toy Corp. A "sales sample" is a term that is used by manufacturers that are shopping new ideas and products to vendors. This robot is being auctioned off as just that - a rare sales sample and/or prototype. However, I'm not so easily convinced, and here's why.

Clearly, and just as the auction states, the head and entire body of this alleged prototype is that of the classic Marx Frankenstein robot from 1963 with a different paint job. I find this odd. Why would the Marx Toy Corporation, with all of their resources, take such a short cut if they were seriously shopping this as potential product? It just looks too shoddy to me - almost as if it were painted in someone's basement. If it were a true sales sample, wouldn't you think Marx would have wanted something much more polished-looking to help solicit interest? Then again, many times toy manufacturers will quickly throw something together; not really expecting much scrutiny from a prototype that is only being proposed. And what's even more troubling is the subject matter itself. Don't you think that it would have been far more profitable for Marx to produce a companion monster to their Frankenstein robot such as Dracula or Wolf Man rather than a boring plain clothes doctor?

I suppose the possibilities are endless. Perhaps this was an in-house gag made by Marx employees? Perhaps this was made in someone's basement in Kalamazoo, Michigan? Somebody out there knows the real story behind this enigma, but so far that somebody hasn't surfaced other than Gene Scala. This item happens to come with a certificate of "authenticity" from Scala's Ltd. and is signed by Gene Scala. Scala was one of the group who bought out the Marx warehouse when it closed in the 1970s. Oh well, you can choose to believe the Hake's auction description if you wish. As for me .. I'm remaining a cynical skeptic and will be following up with visits to my regular doctor.

Here is a link to the auction (bidder beware!) -
http://tinyurl.com/odvjs

1 Comments:

Anonymous gene scala said...

Just stumbled across your site and yes, the Frankie is a Marx prototype. He was in the R.& D. room when I bought the warehouses and he had the outer shell of a stuffed Mickey Mouse sewn on him. We cut off the Mickey and there he was, hand painted. The artists at Marx did hundreds of hand made/hand painted prototypes each year and maybe one or two would get the nod. That was their job as they would tell you. I kept the Frank for many years and sold it to a fellow collector. I may have done an article on it in Toy World or the Marx Newsletter as I recall.
Gene Scala
New Castle, PA
scala58@yahoo.com

2:53 PM  

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