3 Fun Vintage “Rack Toys”

Submitted by Douglas Wood November 18th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

The vintage items below are apparently called “Rack Toys” because they were sold on those revolving, metallic racks at grocery and dime stores. The first one is a pair of Wham-O Super Ball Dice from 1966. I found this at an estate sale recently for $3.00 and listed it on eBay where it sold today for a whopping $316.00. Who knew?

The next toy is from 1970 and Hong Kong– the package contains four incredibly cheesy plastic models related to the 1969 Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon. The mini astronaut inexplicably is holding a rife (“one small bullet for man, one giant massacre for mankind?”). There’s a rocket , some sort of land rover, and a launcher that resembles one of those orange cones you see when they’re doing construction in the street. The card says, “Authentic Mechanical Replicas” and “They really work,” but actually they don’t, unless you count the rolling plastic wheels on the land rover.

The third toy has Bozo the Clown on the card, but the item has nothing to do with Bozo. It’s a red plastic “Magic Spider,” which just means it has a magnet on it’s bottom. The instructions (which are printed on the card and difficult to read) explain that you simply place the spider on paper, cloth, etc., then make the spider move by moving another magnet (not provided) underneath it. A cartoon version of Sherlock Holmes says, “Fear Not! For I Can Control It!” while a little girl in yellow who looks like she’s in a ballet pose, says, “Oooh Thats Scary!” (no apostrophe in “that’s,” of course.) The upper right hand corner of the card is chopped off– my guess is this was a gift for someone, so the price tag was removed.

3 Responses to “3 Fun Vintage “Rack Toys””

  1. Allee Willis

    These are all completely wonderful. I used to religiously spend my allowance money on these cheap card toys as a kid so I spent hours and hours in front of those revolving racks, one of my favorite places to be.

    I can’t even believe that the Wham-O Super Ball Dice sold for $300+! Yay! I definitely remember playing with these. I guess there are Wham-O freaks and to find this on the card in such excellent shape must be what they’re paying for.

    The Apollo toys are great, especially because the card says that there are real moving mechanical parts and nothing except the plastic wheels move. Bringing a gun to the moon is a great touch.

    The Magic spider is fantastic. Not the least of which is because what the hell does Bozo have to do with anything? And I love that on the bottom of the card it says “Bozo the Clown and All Other Characters” as if the manufacturer was too lazy to look up their names. I also love that the spider is covering up the text. There was plenty of room to mount him out of the way.

    Did you find all of these at the same time? I love all these kind of rack toys – now I finally know what they’re called! – because they’re usually so cheaply made. Outstanding for all the reasons you state above plus the cards are all gorgeous.

  2. Mark Milligan

    Wham-0 super ball dice I love. Makes all games more lively? I would think so! Are they the same size as regulation dice? That would make for some cuhrrazzy parlor tricks…not to mention the response if they were bouncing around a craps table in Vegas.