When Marx Dinosaur Play-sets Ruled the World!

If you’re a middle-aged dinosaur fan, chances are you grew up with a steady stream of plastic, Marx dinosaurs. These solid colored, non posable figures were a staple birthday/holiday gift for most kids in the ‘60s and ‘70s; often lining the bottom of our toy boxes or disappearing behind the cushions of the family couch. If you were really lucky, your dinosaurs were accompanied by a play-set which ranged from a few rocks and trees to a full mountain set-up. I remember when I was eight years old getting their Giant Marx Prehistoric Playset for Christmas and later using it as “Tatooine” with my Kenner STAR WARS toys. Yes, Christmas 1978 was a legendary haul at the Fuentes house, let me tell you!

Boy, did we take those little dinosaurs, prehistoric animals, and cavemen for granted! We had absolutely NO idea that forty odd years later they’d be killing it on the secondary market and that we’d all be spending many a bored afternoon drooling over them on eBay. This often leads to my day-dreaming of taking a Tardis back to the ’80s and spending a whole weekend just going to garage sales where I could probably buy enough Marx dinosaurs to retire off of with just ten bucks in my pocket.

Ignore the fact I look stoned & check out my play-set!

Recently, I was lucky enough to land an old ‘70s Marx play-set at a reasonable price. I’m sure it was due to the box’s worn condition and the fact that it’s missing some pieces – none of which made any difference to me as I was seeking a quick hit of nostalgia rather than a visit to the Antiques Roadshow. While there isn’t much I can do for the packaging, I figured it might be fun trying to locate the missing dinosaurs if nothing else. Here’s what showed up…

Dinosaurs included in my set

Prehistoric beasts included in my set

Around the same time the box arrived, I also received a great book written by Jeff Pfeifer simply titled, “Dinosaur Playsets.” This was an expanded version of an earlier edition and chock full of great full color photos and facts about Marx toys I’d never known. It would be perfect for helping me complete the set I purchased, or at least after I weeded out a few impostors.

Complete set as shown in the book!

I discovered that while some of the dinosaurs in my play-set were authentic, there a few impostors were from a competing company called MPC. Fate was kind enough to send me two Woolly Mammoths in the box, one from each company, so I can show you what I mean. The blue one would be the impostor!

I’ll keep you posted as I try and turn this into a complete (pure) collection but, seriously, BUY this book! Whether you’re a collector or just want to engage in a bit of nostalgia, this book is definitely worth it! You can order from the author direct from Jeff on eBay (seller name japfeif.!

Dinosaurs included in my set

Dave Fuentes~

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