1955 Saw the Introduction of the Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex
(The Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex & friends) In 1955 the Louis Marx Toy Company introduced their new Dinosaur toys to America and the world. Previous to these the only Dinosaur toys readily available were from SRG (Sell-Rite Gifts) and then only found in museum shops. (I got mine from the American Museum of Natural History in New York.) For the first time accurate looking, plastic (rubber?) Dinosaur toys, were available in toy stores and general merchandise shops all over the country.
Leading (or stalking) this "Gang of Fourteen" was the Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex! It was the second largest of the series and apparently based on the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the famous Rudolf Zallinger mural, "The Age of Reptiles", in the Peabody Museum at Yale.>>>>>
As can be seen in both the Pot-Belly T-Rex and the Jr. Varsity Allosaurus a rather largish stomach combined with protuberant spines running down their backs are features similar to the mural. At the time the mural was, in fact, the height of our knowledge about how these creatures looked. Marx created the Pot-Belly Tyrannosaurus Rex to be as fearsome as possible, giving him huge fangs in his partially opened mouth. He would be scary even if all he wanted to do was shake your hand hello....
The Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex came in a basic green and gray, but with the introduction of the first playsets in 1957 a new, Silver version was introduced as a special "prize", placed randomly in some of the playsets. These are quite rare and highly prized members of the Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex family. Interestingly enough they weigh one-eighth of an ounce less than the standard Pot-Belly does. One and three-qurters ounces (1.75 oz) vs. one and five-eighths ounces (1.625 oz). They are both ~five and three quarters (5.75) inches from tail tip to snout. Of additional interest is the relatively static pose that the Marx Pot-Belly is found in. Despite the head being cocked slightly to the right side, all-in-all he is just standing there, not doing much of anything. And not looking as if he were about to, either. The right arm (both arms are way too large for a Tyrannosaurus Rex anyway) is held out, as if to ask for a dance or hold a cigarette, while the left is molded up against his ample belly. The Marx Hadrosaurus (also from 1955) is in much the same pose, only sitting back on its haunches. Surprisingly the inside of the right claw is just flat, with all "detail" ending at the wrist. This is the first mass-production T-Rex and while I find its overall quality a surprising departure from Marx's usual high standard it still is the first and that must be worth something. More on that, later.
The real question, however, is "did the Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex work and play well with others?" So whether asking mother SRG Trachodon out on a date, or trying to eat
her daughter...or threatening neighborhood children and being threatened in turn by their angry parents our little Pot-Belly Bully fit in well with those that came before. As for his own kind there were some who pointedly wanted to have nothing to do with him
and others who he found more to his taste. The Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex was largely replaced in 1959 with the introduction of the Revised Mold Group and a completely new T-Rex. The story goes that the Pot-Belly cooled and released from the mold a few seconds more slowly than was ideal for mass production. This made no difference when these were sold in bins but with the increasing popularity of the Playsets those few seconds made a crucial difference in the rate of production. Post 1959 the Marx Pot-Belly T-Rex became an endangered species, produced in greatly reduced numbers, and has become one of the more collectible (along with its mold-mates, [original] Brontosaurus and Kronosaurus) of the Marx figures. It is being sold for ~$25.00+ for the green and gray and $35.00 for the silver.
My friend Joe sent me this via the "Contact-osaur-Us" form and I am adding it to the page, as follows: "Our pot-bellied buddy and his two friends also came in a metallic green, gray swirled or marbled, and "chocolate" brown colors. These were, like the silver version, randomly placed in a playset, are rare and difficult (and can be expensive) to find. Love your site and your sense of humor."
Marx of Mexico has resurrected the original mold and is selling re-issues in brighter, waxier colors in shades of blue and green. Even these can go for as much as $15.00+. Where can you find them? Such online venues as ebay and other auction sites, flea markets, estate sales and garage sales if you get real, real lucky. Good Luck!
(A Pot-Belly T-Rex wants to add a small SRG Triceratops to its girth.)
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