1935 Marx Tricky Fire Chief "Where's The Fire" in Original Box

1935 Marx Tricky Fire Chief

This is for a complete Marx Tricky Fire Chief set which includes the wind-up clockwork Fire Chief Car, its matching lithographed tin base, original key, its original box, plus original insert. Marx produced many versions of their tin litho clockwork "Tricky" automobile for 25 years. However, it was only during the first year of production that their Tricky Taxi and Tricky Fire Chief cars were accompanied by a lithographed tin base. The box which held the car and base was also available for just that one year. 

The condition of the toy and original box are phenomenal. Fantastic overall near mint with excellent+ to near mint box. Altogether this is the highest grade example the toy with it's original box I've found. 

The Fire Chief car is a deep, crimson red with black trim and chassis. The trunk includes the early style Marx logo as well as patent information and a "LM" (Louis Marx) license plate. The clockwork motor provides power to the two rear wheels which moves it forward. A third moving wheel in the center of the chassis turns perpendicular to the rear wheels which enables its to make random right or left movement. In addition, set into the chassis between the front wheels is a socketed steel ball bearing. It works like a "track-ball" allowing the car to make super quick pivoting turns. The front wheels are dummies.

The lithography on the base is unusual in that it tells an adult theme story. It shows the chaotic turmoil at a busy city intersection where fireman and policemen are attempting to locate the fire. Pedestrians on the street, on roof tops, and in windows wrongly direct the fire fighters in several different directions. The fire is isolated to one building, but the smoke is coming from three other directions. 

Punched into the center of the base is a 1/8" diameter hole which was was used in conjunction with one of the many tricks suggested by Marx. To do the trick a wooden match would be inserted into the hole (I used a metal nail to show the position of the hole; see 2nd photo). Notice that the right rear axle on the car extends out slightly more than the left axle. While it's moving the extended axle will line up with the match. As the car continues to run it'll stay in position against the match revolving continuously around it. Few collectors know of the function of this little hole. 

The original box was finely illustrated in red, white, and blue. The left half has a graphic representation of the toy moving in random direction over the base. The inference is that it won't fall off the base, or a table top. The "Tricky Fire Chief" title appears in huge block letters on a badge above the graphic. The right half shows the Chiefs car turning through a busy intersection (meant to represent the cross streets lithoed onto the base).  The second part of the toy name "Where's the Fire" appears above this street scene. Silhouettes of fire fighters line the edges of the box. Both the front and rear side panels, plus both end flaps advertise the toy's "mysterious" ability to avoid falling off a table top and to do tricks. It has its original rectangular open-end plain insert box. It's the first I've seen for this toy. 

 Size: Car 4" long. Base: 10" x 5½". Box 10½" x 6" x 1½". 

Sold: Apr. 2009

Price Sold: $ 766


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Subject: 1935 Marx Tricky Fire Chief "Where's The Fire" in Original Box

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