c.1956 TPS Magic Fish In Original Box

c.1956 TPS Magic Fish In Original Box

T.P.S. (Toplay Ltd.) produced their popular mechanical fish eating "Hungry Whale" toy around 1965. This "Magic Fish" toy was designed using the same concept, but was produced much earlier and is completely different from the "Whale". In fact this is the first example I've seen of this toy. It's also not documented in Bill Gallagher's book on Japanese T.P.S. toys, but was definitely produced by them. Plus the original box is awesome!

The toy is basically one fish swallowing another smaller fish. The two are connected by an automatically retractable clear fishing line which, if rubbed repeatedly over the lower lip of the larger fish will eventually fray and break. However, this example looks to be barely used. A system of metal rollers inside the larger fish allows for quick gulping of its prey.

It's an easy toy to use. 1) Open red fish mouth. 2) Stick fingers inside of mouth (the fishes mouth that is). 3) Grab the smaller fish. 3) Pull the little guy out. But caution is advised. As printed on the box "Do not Pull Out The Small Fish More Than Eight Inches". 4) Holding the big fish, release the little fish and 'da big fish sucks and swallows the small guy. Mahvelous!

The toy is all tin litho and rolls on polished tin litho wheels. The later Hungry Whale uses a plastic whale with tin mouth and rubber wheels. The transparent line was replaced with a black cord which loops in front of the small fish for easier pulling. The cord is stronger than the fishing line but it's less realistic because it can be easily seen.

The original box is fantastic. It shows a huge smiling catfish bearing down upon a helpless little blue and white fishy; all ready to chomp him down. The remaining panels advise against pulling it out too far. The endflaps were printed with the toy name. In contrast the box for the Hungry Whale toy is rather drab.

There are no manufacturer's marks on either the toy or box. "Made in Japan" was lithoed onto the tale section of both fishes. "Japan" was printed on the box.

Size: Big Fish 6". Little Fish 3".

Date Sold: Jan. 2011

Price Sold: $ 57


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Subject: c.1956 TPS Magic Fish In Original Box

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