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The Big Parade by Louis Marx & Co. Inc. (c.1963)

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    Posted 7 years ago

    (103 items)

    Here's a toy from days of Christmas past. This is one of two Christmas gift items I still have from my childhood. The patent-pending date on this item is 1963 but I believe I received it for Christmas in 1965 or 1966.

    It was made by Louis Marx & Co. Inc. (commonly just referred to as Marx) in Erie, Pennsylvania, and is co-branded for Simpsons Sears - a Canadian department store chain - with stickers on the drum and flag.

    I have the original box, instructions, and even the Styrofoam packing! It's missing the rubber band that went around the wheel as well as the baton.

    It uses two D-cell batteries that operate a motor which drive the legs and swinging arms of the soldiers. The walking motion propels the toy forwards (or backwards) and the baton is used to tap the plastic flag on top of the drum to control the steering. It makes a rat-a-tat sound which thrills a child and annoys an adult!

    I recall attaching a string to this toy and parading a whole line of other toys strung together down the hallway!

    It suffered some damage to the battery compartment and flag pole assembly on its very first Christmas - it wasn't my fault! - but overall it has withstood years of play and the test of time after 50+ years!

    It measures 15" wide by 11.5" tall but seemed a LOT bigger when I was a kid! The drum is 5" in diameter.

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    1. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 7 years ago
    2. jscott0363 jscott0363, 7 years ago
      Very cool!!! Amazing that you still have the original box with it.
    3. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 7 years ago
      I love it!!!
    4. Kydur Kydur, 7 years ago
      The design of the box (like a toy box) actually made it very easy to keep as it's very easy to get the soldiers in and out, and MUCH easier to store them in then just lying around somewhere. I'm more surprised that I still have the paper with instructions.

      All of the similar items I've been able to find online also have the boxes included - confirmation I suppose of how useful and logically designed the box is/was. Unlike a lot of packaging today!
    5. cratedigger. cratedigger., 7 years ago
      Love ur profile pic:)
    6. Kydur Kydur, 7 years ago
      Thanks cratedigger, wish I could take credit for creating it... as far as I've been able to determine the original artwork was drawn by somebody in Asia. There's been lots of redraws that people have done, several tattoos and much copycat (no pun intended!) inspired artwork on the same theme.

      I see that your profile pic is similar but uses the real thing in a canine version - I would imagine it's much easier to get a dog to wear googles than a cat!
    7. Edwardolivier, 6 years ago
      I had one of these as a child also. I searched for years no knowing the name of the toy. I just bought one in working order, only missing a hat. I'm anxiously waiting to receive it!
    8. Kydur Kydur, 6 years ago
      Edward, I look forward to seeing a post of your Big Parade toy when it arrives! Mind me asking how much you paid for it?
    9. Edwardolivier, 6 years ago
      It was $29. And it's in working order with the box in decent condition. It was a steel.
    10. Kydur Kydur, 6 years ago
      That is an excellent deal Edward, although somewhat disappointing also to think that might be all this vintage toy is worth. :(

      Maybe it'll have more value in another 50 years!
    11. Edwardolivier, 6 years ago
      I would have paid$200. It is a sentimental thing for me. I just look at it as a slow auction week. It doesn't necessarily reflect the value of the toy. Do you have any idea of what sites I can go to, to get the missing hat. I'm new to toy collecting.
    12. Kydur Kydur, 6 years ago
      Toy collecting isn't really my thing so I'm afraid I haven't any info on where/how to track down missing parts. However you may want to find some place that has a 3D printer (I think I read that Staples has started this service at some locations) - it seems to me this is the perfect application for 3D printers: making replacements for lost or broken parts... scan a good hat and print out a copy!
    13. Yeomans9, 4 years ago
      I have spare parts to the Big Band.
      The drum unit driving the squad. Perfectly working.
      The line of men but with two of the men who lost one leg in action. rifles and helmets etc.
      if anyone is interested please contact me.
      the drive shaft is broken on the outside right figure.
      Either I would be interested in the working line of men to buy or sell as spare parts.
      If anyone is interested please contact me.

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