Virtual MTM Tour

Action Figures

Although the majority of the Marx action figures did not come about until later in Marx's toy production, a new generation of Marx enthusiasts will never forget the hours of imagination spent playing with Johnny West, Stoney Smith, Sindy, and the many others. Unlike previous figures that Marx produced, these action figures stood 12" tall, were fully movable, and were designed to compete with GI Joe & Barbie.


The initiation of Louis Marx to action figure toys was more a reaction, than action in the toy industry. It was 1964 and Hasbro had just released the first G.I. Joe action figure. Louis Marx, not wanting to miss the opportunity to compete, released the first Stony Smith action figure. Stony allowed Marx to participate in the military action figure market. Although the Stony series was not nearly as complete as Hasbro's G.I. Joe series, children could purchase several versions of the Stony figure along with jeep and accessories.
In 1965, Marx combined the apparent toy industry shift to large action figures and his previous known success of westerns, to pursue a new direction in action figures. Marx released the Daniel Boone figure, followed by a 12" cowboy action figure. Using the same body as Stony Smith, Johnny West brought new opportunity to toy production. The introduction of Johnny West lead to the development of a complete series of western figures, horses, and accessories. These western themed action figures continued production over 10 years.
Originally in 1965, the series included cowboy Johnny West and his horse Thunderbolt, along with Indian Chief Cherokee. In 1966, Johnny was introduced to cowgirl Jane West and her horse Flame. Over the next few years, Marx introduced a number of new figures to the Johnny West series including, Jay, Jamie, Josie, and Janice.

Horses included color variations of Thunderbolts, Thundercolts, and Storm Clouds, along with Buckskin, Pancho, and Mustang. Flick, a shepherd dog, and Flack, a setter dog, along with a Buffalo were introduced to the series. Additional accessories included a teepee, corral, jeep, and trailer. Figures, horses, and accessories could be purchased separately, but also available in combination sets.
The years 1967-68 introduced many new figures to the cowboy theme through the Fort Apache Fighters Series. Figures included Captain Maddox, General Custer, Zeb Zachary, Bill Buck, Geronimo, and Fighting Eagle. Two color variations of the Comanche horse and a full-scale cardboard Fort Apache were added to the series.

Although never actually produced, many believe the Marx prototype cannon, tent, and accessories were designed for this particular series. The one-of-a-kind, original prototype for these pieces can be seen in The Official Marx Toy Museum Prototype Room.

In 1974, Marx introduced the “Best of the West” series which standardized the packaging of the figures and accessories with a "Best of the West" box style, logo, and colors. The Best of the West series introduced a travel case and a new figure, Princess Wildflower.

In 1975, after 10 years of Johnny West production, Marx introduced another new and final series to the western/cavalry themed action figures, the Johnny West Adventure Series! The Johnny West Adventure series created new box designs along with figures and accessories in much brighter color schemes. Marx released “Quick Draw” version of Johnny West and Sam Cobra in which a lever in the back would allow figures to draw their pistols. In addition, Marx introduced Jed Gibson, a black cavalry scout, which was only produced in the JWA series.

Safari Adventure


The Safari Adventure Series included Buck Hunter the leader, Sgt. Kogo the guide, and Kim the photographer. These figures are 7” tall, have cloth clothing, and a dial on their back to raise and lower their arms.

 

Safari animals include a gigantic Elephant, jar smacking Crocodile, chest beating Gorilla, roaring Lion and Tiger, and head rearing Rhinoceros. The series included two vehicles: the Pursuit Truck and a Jungle Jeep, both capable of pulling the Capture Cage. Both vehicles came with a number of accessories including winch with hook. The 24” Lookout Tower and 14” Capture Cage added hours of play value to an already unique and exotic series.
Sindy Series

The idea of a teenage fashion doll to compete with the Barbie series was first conceived by Pedigree Soft Toys Ltd. in England in 1962. Sindy was first release by Pedigree in 1963 and continued through 1986. In 1978, Marx released an “American” Sindy series, including furniture and accessories, an assortment of outfits, horse with accessories, and Sindy’s friend, Gayle!
Other series of action figures include the secret agent figures of Mike Hazard and the Girl from U.N.C.L.E, the Knight and Viking series, the All American Fighter, Archies, Rat Patrol, Astronauts, Ready Gang, Lone Ranger, etc.
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