IDEAL TOYS

 A 1902 political cartoon in The Washington Post spawned

the Teddy bear name.

 Ideal Toy Company was founded as Ideal Novelty and Toy Company in New York in 1907 by Morris and Rose Michtom after they had invented the Teddy Bear in 1903.

 

The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was "Teddy.” The name originated from an incident on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, to which Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. There were several other hunters competing, and most of them had already killed an animal. A suite of Roosevelt's attendants, led by Holt Collier, cornered, clubbed, and tied an American Black Bear to a willow tree after a long exhausting chase with hounds.

 

They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery, and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902.

 

While the initial cartoon of an adult black bear lassoed by a handler and a disgusted Roosevelt had symbolic overtones, later issues of that and other Berryman cartoons made the bear smaller and cuter.

 

Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read "Teddy's bear," after sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. The company changed its name to Ideal Toy Company in 1938.

 

 

 

 

 Ideal Toys "A Tale of 3 Toys Sales Film

Toy Fair 1959

 Ideal Toys Sales Film "live" Channel 5 with Frank Lydecker 1959  

 TV Kid host Sandy Becker doing a live commercial for Ideal Fighter Jet.

One of my best discoveries out of these long lost toy commercials is when I found a collector named Bill Dorsey, who sold me his 1959 Ideal Toy special. This was a half hour show that aired on Channel 5 in New York during the holiday season. It was a new approach by Ideal to reach the toy dealers around the metropolitan area.  It might also be looked at as one of the early means of creating an info-commercial. Either way it will excite any boomer who watches it, as it did me.

 

Introduced by television host Frank Lydecker during a live telecast as he introduced viewers and over five thousand toy dealers to the last toys being offered to the personal watching to the kid show hosts on Channel five. With a prepared script top WNEW hosts Sandy Becker talked about how 2 million kids tuned into his show Monday through Saturday at 6:30. He highlighted the segment by demonstrating the functions of the Ideal Fighter jet, and then cut to the filmed commercial.

 

 The release of their Mr. Machine robot toy was so popular Ideal included as their logo at the end of their television commercials in 1959.  The toy was a robot-like mechanical man wearing a top hat. The body had a giant windup key at the back. When the toy was wound up it would "walk,” swinging its arms and repeatedly ringing a bell mounted on its front; and after every few steps emit a mechanical bell sound. The gimmick of Mr. Machine was that one could not only see all of his mechanical "innards" through his clear plastic body, but one could also take the toy apart and put it back together, over and over, again. The company reissued it in 1978, but with some alterations: it could no longer be taken apart. 

 Toy designer Marvin Glass, of Chicago, issues an order to the "Robot Commando Soldier" in a preview of Christmas toy designs in New York, March 10, 1961. The robot shoots rockets and can be controlled by voice through an attached microphone. Glass says, ā€œIā€™m trying to develop a concept of toys that a child can actually participate in, that will allow some expression of the dynamism of his personality."

                                    Rising up from the city skyline comes the one and only Robot Commando 1961.                                   

                                                                                       

QUIZ QUESTION: What enemy organization used Robot Commando to kill UNCLE agent Illa Kuryakin ?

 

Robert speaks courtesy of U.S. Patent No. 2,890,887, a Talking Device designed and assembled by California-based Ted Duncan, Incorporated. Ted Duncan manufactured two styles of the device and held the exclusive patent rights from 1954 through 1959. Although Duncan, a competing toy manufacturer, released toys under their own brand name as well, the bulk of the company's fortunes in the 1950s came primarily from selling their talking device to other companies such as Ideal and Remco.

 

The Duncan Talking Device was first shown at the 1954 New York Toy Fair and was quickly rushed into production on toys from a wide variety of manufacturers including several by Ideal. Robert's ability to talk was one of the key features of the toy and was showcased prominently on the box art. The inset at bottom right shows the inside of Duncan Device that had been installed on a Robert the Robot. Simple but effective, sound was captured by the small tone arm as the record was turned via the hand crank on the back of the toy. By 1957 it was estimated that the Duncan Talking Device had been installed in over 4 million toys.

 

Plastics were so crucial to Ideal products that in the early 1950s the plastics division was spun off into a separate company, Ideal Plastics Corporation. Working closely with chemical giant E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (Du Pont), Ideal's claims of indestructibility for many of their toys came from the use of Alathon, which was Du Ponts trademarked brand name for polyethylene plastic, the first plastic that was completely synthetic and not based on any structure which occurred in nature. Also licensed under the trademark “Polyethylene” by Bakelite Corporation, this postwar miracle material invented in England was the first true thermo plastic which formed strong but flexible fibers when molded at high temperature.

 

Photo's from a 16mm sales film I restored called A TALE OF THREE TOYS, that IDEAL TOYS showed at TOY FAIR in 1959.   Scene showing the construction and packaging of Robert the Robot

Photo's from a 16mm Ideal Toy Mr. Machine commercial. restored 

 The release of their Mr. Machine robot toy was so popular Ideal included as their logo at the end of their television commercials in 1959.  The toy was a robot-like mechanical man wearing a top hat. The body had a giant windup key at the back. When the toy was wound up it would "walk,” swinging its arms and repeatedly ringing a bell mounted on its front; and after every few steps emit a mechanical bell sound. The gimmick of Mr. Machine was that one could not only see all of his mechanical "innards" through his clear plastic body, but one could also take the toy apart and put it back together, over and over, again. The company reissued it in 1978, but with some alterations: it could no longer be taken apart. 

FIGHTER JET, Ideal toys created the ultimate flight simulator for future jet pilots. This marvelous device let you scan the skies by using a projector that was built into the console that projected six moving "enemy" planes on wall at six different levels. The spring activated Rocket launcher fired rubber-tipped "rockets", and the control stick button made a "rat-a-tat" machine gun noise, while I hit and "shot down" enemy aircraft. Tracking radar scope flashes red warning light when you stray off course. Gauge on lighted instrument panel shows "air speed," has bank, turn indicator. Vividly the toy captured the actual flight and combat conditions of the modern jet age.

I restored a rare Ideal Sales Film aired live on Channel 5, local New York City station in 1959. Highlighted the Steve Canyon toy line. The charater was a long-running American adventure comic strip by writer-artist Milton Caniff who inroduces the toys. Launched shortly after Caniff retired from his previous strip, Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon ran from January 13, 1947 until June 4, 1988, shortly after Caniff's death. Caniff won the Reuben Award for the strip in 1971.