The color YELLOW will be played by DARK ORANGE for reasons of visibility on this page. Both colors thank you for your indulgence.
See special note at the end of this page from one of our readers!
1964 was a very good year in a lot of different ways. The Marx Dinosaur toys pretty much dominated the landscape but demand was very broad and other companies such as Tim-Mee and Ajax were on the scene with their pitiful offerings. There was room for more. The Multiple Products Corporation chose 1964 to introduce their own challengers to the Dinosaur Toys throne, led by their "mighty" MPC T-Rex. As with most of the MPC figures this was based on one of the Marx Dinosaur toys. In this case, on the 1959 'sleek' T-Rex.
(MPC on left, Marx on Right)
"You can't be serious." Oh, but I am."
Weighing In at just over one-half ounce (5/8 oz, 17 gms) and measuring 5.25 inches (13.25 cms) in length this new tyrant-king on the block was in 1/103 scale. As can be seen, it looks like a poor, miniaturized facsimile of the Marx T-Rex (we'll be doing a comparison later) and can serve as a juvenile to the adult Marx.
These were available primarily in bags, in carded sets and in larger 'playsets' competing with the very popular Marx playsets. They were not generally available in bins, as singles, and with good reason why.
(MPC "Prehistoric Monsters Playset, with Blue MPC T-Rex)
(All MPC Playset pictures courtesy of Jeff Pfeiffer, Playset Expert)
The MPC T-Rex came primarily in (several shades of) blue, in yellow(s) and in silver although I do have a pair of grape colored (below) whose coloration is somewhat unaccounted for. (See note at end of page.)
Looking at the head of the MPC T-Rex (above and left) we see a somewhat softly sculpted countenance that appears much more ferocious from the front than in the side views. The skin is heavily, if broadly pebbled (scaled?) and the teeth are well defined if a bit even in a movie-star sort of way.
The rather odd, paleontologically incorrect, head shape was based very much on the earlier Marx Tyrannosaurus Rex as will be seen in the comparison photos coming up. The eyes are set back and, overall, the MPC T-Rex has a somewhat sleepy look about him. Perhaps a little bit of a "Bing Crosby" influence.
The MPC T-Rex (above) attempted to get across that 'big reptile feel' through an exaggerated 'pebbling' on the skin. This could be considered as armored 'scutes' but we- A) do not know if the Tyrannosaurus had such a skin, B) never will, and C) I do not know that anyone has particularly espoused such a theory. On the other hand smaller, more detailed 'scaling' may have been beyond the ability (or concern) of MPC at the time.
This latter consideration is more or less born out in a look at the MPC T-Rex feet where we see a definite "club"-like appearance to the right (front) foot. (< Left and Below Left) You can also see excess 'flash' between the toes of the trailing foot.
Different playsets had different colored MPC T-Rex, here's another one (picture courtesy of Jeff) with a yellow T-Rex in it.
Comparison to the Marx sleek T-Rex is inherently unfair.
To begin with the Marx is much bigger, towering over its little rival, while
the detail on the Marx figure is far sharper and the face has a less benign look. The MPC T-Rex looks like he wants to suckle, the Marx like he wants to devour. Or at least deep-fry. This head shape may have been derived from this scene (opens new window) from the 1933 KING KONG movie.
Taking a head-on view of the two we see how glaring the differences are,
which, perhaps apart from size, is best evidenced in the detail of the feet
where the right (front) foot on the MPC T-Rex is without any detail and looks like a blurry ace of clubs while the Marx is sharply detailed down to the cuticles. The left, raised, trailing foot is somewhat better and clearly shows the Marx influence (as does the entire sculpture). Compared to the Ajax and Tim-Mee these are fairly good, compared to the Marx they are a step up from being lumps of melted plastic. But they will make decent juveniles to a Marx T-Rex.
Overall the Marx beats it every way to Sunday, but that's why the Marx is worth the big(ger) bucks. I provide this comparison solely so that you don't get ripped-off on eBay by unscrupulous or unknowledgeable sellers.
Now, back to breakfast.
Our little pack of MPC T-Rex appears to have spotted their prey...
"There it is!" "Let's get some!" "C-O-F-F-E-E-E-E-e-e-e!!"
(Leaving a trackway for the far future.)
"What is this stuff?"
Moving right along....
"What is that stuff?" "I dunno but Bob seems to like it."
"Finally, COFFEE!! Lemme at it!"
"Uh, did he say 'at it' or 'in it'?"
The MPC T-Rex, like all the MPC figures, was mass-produced in bright colors and made of a waxy/shiny plastic. Their value as collectibles is no more than that they are a part of the history of Dinosaur toys and having a complete set of them is, well, a nice thing to have if you collect this kind of stuff. The MPC T-Rex is exceptional in no way and does not garner a premium for any reason, in any particular color. I have seven (7) myself, three yellow, one blue, one silver and two suspect grape. I call them "suspect" because I cannot find any evidence that MPC made grape or purple colored figures. On the other hand why would anybody want to make forgeries of these things?
I gotall of my MPC T-Rex and other MPC figures via eBay, in large lots of Dinosaur toys that included one or two that I really wanted. In doing so I collected several full sets of MPC figures in the full panoply of MPC colors. Plus grape. In doing so I averaged one dollar ($1.00) or so a piece, including shipping costs. You too can amass an MPC collection as an aside, while finding other Dinosaur toys.
Of course some people do collect them (MPC figures) on purpose but usually in sets and with original packaging (unopened bags or cards, playsets).
(Largish MPC playset with Silver MPC T-Rex: Courtesy of Jeff Pfeiffer)
These were largely manufactured in the days when, if toys didn't have too many sharp edges and not made out of obviously dangerous materials they were marketed for anyone who might swallow them. It was up to parents to determine safety. Therefore these MPC T-Rex, along with all the other MPC figures and the Marx Dinosaur Toys do not have any governments' seal of approval, have not passed any toxicity tests (apart from chewed tails demonstrating a certain 'tested' percentage) and in general just come as they are. Having failed to slash the ranks of the past few generations of children, including myself.
They are long out of production (although rumor has it that someone with the molds may ramp them up) but can readily be found (as noted) on internet auction sites and collectibles trading centers. Sadly, at least in the United States, thrift shops and used toy stores can only sell them to adults as collectibles if they can sell them at all.
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The reason I find my grape MPC T-Rex a bit suspect is a combination of my not finding and corroboration for such an MPC color to exist (and not finding any other figures in the grape myself) and a few, very slight, deviations from my other five MPC T-Rex. Too slight to tell for sure. I fall back on "who would bother forging these things"? And relax.
Response from Reader: From Mark via our Contact-O-Saurus page:
"Love your site! Concerning the "Grape" Colored MPC T-Rex. I remember back in the early 70's that MPC released 12 dinosaurs in what is now known as cereal colors. Nabisco Wheat Honeys and Rice Honeys had a different " Prehistoric Monster " in the cereal boxes that were different colors than the ones in the stores.
The cereal colors include; purple, orange, red, dark green and dark blue. There is even someone selling the two boxes on ebay from time to time at rather high prices... $ 300.00 each! Ack!
Keep up the great work on your site.... Have a good one.... enjoy! Mark"