Magic Marxie
Marx Twistables title
The Marx Twistables line was released around the same time as Marx Disneykins, in 1961. Twistables were large plastic figures ranging from 5 to 7 inches tall which featured bendable "posable" pipe-cleaner-like arms and legs and real clothing.
Twistables were sold in three packaging formats: Individual boxes; bags with header cards; and themed "Gift Boxes" containing three figures. Twistables were also marketed under the name "Twist Toys" by Marx in England and possibly Western Europe. These types of figures are also sometimes referred to as "bendies."
Size by ruler
A few of the figures came with plastic accessories. The Jiminy Cricket Twistable came with a plastic umbrella, while the Babes in Toyland figure came in three variations: with either a plastic rifle, bugle, or drum.The Ludwig Von Drake Twistable came with removable glasses, a book, and Herman the Beetle - a Disneykin-sized figure that is frequently misdentified as Jiminy Cricket. (Note: the store display on right is missing all accessories with the exception of Ludwig's glasses.)
Herman the Beetle's origins can be traced back to one episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color entitled "The Hunting Instinct" from 1961. The episode was released in theatres as a short film in Europe, which may explain this somewhat-obscure character's elevated status.* (Note: the store display is missing most of the accessories mentioned above.)
The Twistables line proved to be so popular that the competing Ideal Toy Company was soon marketing their own version, called "Twist-n-Pose" toys, using the popular Hanna Barbara cartoon characters of the day.**
1961 Marx Twistables store display >>>
Shown below is the original 1961 Twistables Promotional Brochure. Click to enlarge.
Also, read the story of how this display came to be "re-discovered" and "reunited." (bottom of page).
All images and text © Flubber Gallery, 2008.
All rights reserved. From the Flubber Gallery collection.
Marx Twistables Display
Brochure small

The original Marx Twistables Sales Brochure

Click to view.

There were 12 different Twistable figures, sold in 14 configurations. They are:
Professor Ludwig Von Drake
5. Pinocchio
6. Jiminy Cricket
7. Gepetto
8. March Hare
9. Brer Fox
10. Brer Rabbit
11. Joe Carioca
12. * Babes in Toyland Soldier holding Rifle
13. * Babes in Toyland Soldier holding Drum
14. * Babes in Toyland Soldier holding Bugle
* Same figure in 3 versions
For today's collectors, the rarer Twistables are the less-recognizable characters - which include Joe Carioca, the March Hare, Brer Fox, and Brer Rabbit. The figures of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are the most common.
The lineage of Herman the Beetle can be traced to a mischevious character named "Bootle Beetle" from the 1947 Donald Duck cartoon entitled "Bootle Beetle." Bootle Beetle also starred in two additional Donald Duck shorts from 1949: Sea Salts and The Greener Yard. In these cartoons Bootle Beetle appears as both a wise old beetle and, through flashbacks, his younger counterpart who more closely resembles Herman. The elderly Bootle Beetle narrarates the cartoons while giving advice to a younger Ezra Beetle, who more closely resembles Herman. In 1950, the "beetle" clan of characters were featured in print media in "Walt Disney's Comics & Stories" (the Disney comic book series) starring "Bucky Bug," a "sibling" of Ezra Beetle. An elderly Bootle Beetle also appears in the comics.
The Ideal Toy Corporation's version of Twistables were called "Twist-n-Pose" figures, and featured the following Hanna Barbera characters: Peter Potamus, Magilla Gorilla, Droop-a-long, Mushmouse, Yippee and Breezly

The Twistables Store Display's 40-Year Journey of Rediscovery:

Our display, pictured above, was acquired via eBay in two separate auctions, years apart.

The Flubber Gallery was previously not aware of the existence of a Twistables store display. But like almost every other Marx product line, a display (called a "demonstrator") probably existed, somewhere. These demonstrators were essential to selling their new products. Most often these displays were mass produced; but occassionally they were created solely for toy indusrtry trade shows. The story of how this display came to be recovered is an internet-age detective story of sorts, or just dumb luck..

The distinctive yellow cardboard Twistables sign picturing Mickey Mouse, was purchased first, (for $30) in 1996. The sign, which was a rarity in itself, came with an original Marx Factory manila envelope stamped "Demonstrator" – which indicates that the sign was intended as a store display, or was part of one. In the same envelope was a vintage printed instruction sheet illustrating how to assemble an unfamiliar multi-tiered store display -- topped by the yellow sign. The instruction sheet was the first indication that a large Twistables store display existed.

About 5 years later, by sheer chance, an odd, multi-tiered display stand with Marx Twistables glued onto it caught our attention on eBay. Without a product name or company brand, the red and yellow wooden display appeared to be homemade. However, the display bore a strong resemblance to the one pictured on the instruction sheet that came with our original Twistable cardboard sign (remember?) bought years earlier on eBay. We were intrigued, and easily won the auction. When the display stand arrived, and was set up, there was a distinctive notch on the top of the center yellow wooden pole. Our original yellow Twistables cardboard sign also had a notch, at its bottom. Amazingly, the yellow cardboard sign effortlessly slipped into the top notch, thus re-uniting and completing the rare 1961 piece - 40 years later! Now, where's the original Marx factory shipping box? - AW


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Website created by FlubberGallery, NYC, USA. All photographs by Abby Weissman unless noted.
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Last updated 7.29.08
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