MUSEUM FOUNDER AND CURATOR FRANCIS TURNER DEMONSTRATES THE ORIGINAL MONKEY ON A STICK
THE 2014 HONDA ACCORD CARRIED US TO THE MARX TOY MUSEUM
By Vinnie Richichi
On this edition of The Sunday Drive we step out of the box by a day…but our destination today is so cool and brings back so many memories that we thought it okay to feature a place that is CLOSED on Sunday.
Jumping into this week’s Drivetime Road Test vehicle, the 2014 Honda Accord EX we head south and west to Moundsville, West Virginia home of the Mound, the WV State Prison Museum and The Marx Toy Museum …just down the road from Glen Dale where the Marx Toy Factory was located.
It is the kind of little stop that brings back big memories and the joy of childhood. It makes you think about that day in the fall when the biggest thing we cared about was the Postman bringing the Sears Catalog because that meant that Christmas was not far away.
At one time Marx was the biggest toy maker in America. Chances if you got three toys for Christmas or Channukah that one of them was a made by Marx. Many of the toys were associated with TV shows so not only is the memory of the toy but of the TV show that went along with it.
Pay the admission and walk inside and the memories just start flowing as the walls are lined up not just with toys like "The Big Wheel", "The Daniel Boone Play Set" with plastic figures, "The Sears Allstate Gas Station", "Hoss’ Bonanza Range Pistol", and the toy every boy in PS 152 wanted… the “Rock-em Sock-em Robots”. As an extra added treat, in many cases the original boxes…the ones we played with on our birthday instead of the toys much to our parents frustration …are displayed as well! Memories just gush through your mind as you are taken back to a more innocent time.
On the day we stopped in, Francis Turner the founder and curator of the museum and who’s collection is featured at the museum was actually there in person and did a toy demonstration that included some 20’s and 30’s vintage toys including the Original Louis Marx creation…the “Monkey on a Stick”. There were also two short films featuring the history of the Toymaker and an AFL-CIO produced film that featured many of the workers at the companies Glen Dale plant and gave an excellent look at how the metal toys were painted, stamped out and assembled.
Transportation toys, dolls, action figures, trains, mechanical toys, space stations, toy soldiers, cars that you can ride and wheels that were big. They all may be memories of a simpler time or images on a page as you browse Ebay but in Moundsville they are alive, their boxes aren’t crushed and thrown away and you can show your kids just how much better “Marvel the Mustang-The Galloping Horse” really was than that Xbox you can’t seem to get your kids away from.
TWO OF MARX MOST POPULAR TOYS: THE ROCK EM SOCK EM ROBOTS AND THE BIG WHEEL ON DISPLAY AT THE MUSEUM
COOL STUFF LIKE PLANS FOR A NEVER BUILT BIG WHEEL TOW TRUCK ARE ON DISPLAY
TV SHOWS AND TRANSPORTATION TOYS ARE AMONG THE MOST POPULAR IN THE MARX LINE. THE MUSEUM ALSO INCLUDES A DISPLAY OF COUNTRY MUSIC STAR BRAD PAISLEY'S CHILDHOOD TOYS. PAISLEY IS FROM GLEN DALE