The Flashy Flickers Magic Picture Gun was produced by Marx who were based in New York, USA in 1965. They were primarily sold in retail stores such as Sears Robuck, Montgomery Ward and JC Penny.
Marx toys company was founded by Louis Marx and his brother David Marx in New York, USA in 1919. Both brothers were ambitious business men, understanding that the key to toy manufacturing success was, in their words, “familiarity, surprise, skill, play value, comprehensibility and sturdiness”. With this savvy business sense the brothers were millionaires within two years. During the 1920’s, Marx toy company sold about 1 Million Yo-Yo’s.
Even through the Great Depression Marx toys company flourished, mainly due to its extensive line of lithographed tin plate, and wood related toys. In 1937, a London newspaper declared Mr. Marx was the “Toy King of the World”. By 1938, Marx toy company employed over 4,500 workers. By 1955, Marx toy company became the largest toy manufacturer in the world. In 1946, Fortune magazine declared him “Toy King”. In 1955, Marx toy company was featured on the cover of “Time Magazine” and proclaimed again, as “The Toy King”. Marx toy company was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame, again proclaiming him the “Henry Ford” of the toy industry.
By 1959, the demand for American toys had become a billion dollar a year business, and with plants all over the world Marx toy company was already in front-of-the-game. During the early 1960’s Marx toy company became a leading player with the new era of plastic toys. In 1972, the Marx toy company was sold to the Quaker Oats Company (who also owned Fisher Price at the time) for $54 million, over $350 million in today’s dollars.
The plastic ‘Gun’ shaped toy is a battery powered picture projector, which once a roll of film is loaded at the top of the projector gun, a picture is projected via an internal light.
As you browse through the pictures, the roll of pictures then spools at the bottom of the projector gun. The focus of the projected image can be adjusted via the black end of the projector gun by twisting it left or right.
The toy was produced in two countries. One was produced in the USA and the second in the UK.
There was a total of 3 different Phantom associated Flashy Flickers sets, the standard USA version, the UK version and a USA Mail-Order version. Small differences exist in the packaging and the projector gun itself.
This particular Flashy Flickers Magic Picture Gun set was never sold in retail stores but exclusively only purchased through mail-order. The more commonly seen set was opened at the top where the carry handle was present. This set came with no carry handle and was opened at the side of the box.
Phantom images are present on a film reel, which also contains images of Hi and Lois, Blondie and Prince Valiant. The images of the Phantom are actually a color comic strip of the story ‘The Mysterious Island’, shown over 29 slides.
Although the projector gun came with 4 picture reels, additional picture reels could be purchased separately containing a variety of comic characters, including Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Blondie, Prince Valiant, Johnny West, Gnibble, Pony Tail and Tomahawk.
Phantom Film Reel Slides
Thank you Christopher Smith for assisting with images and information.