Jan 4, 2008

Campus Cuties

Starting in 1963, Marx toys brought out a line of plastic army men in a 6 in. size. The figures were released individually and originally sold for less than a dime. Like all soft plastic soldiers of the time, they had no articulation but the attention to detail set them apart. Faces showed emotion and you could see things like individual feathers in an Indian headdress. These new big figs towered over other plastic soldiers but they were to cool to pass up & kids began collecting these giants in plastic.

To get the girls as interested as the boys, Marx introduced "Campus Cuties" a series of "mod" female figures in fashion outfits and poses. The cuties were the same 6 in. size and sold individually like the soldiers, but the marketing behind the figures was a little different.

With Marx soldiers, you were lucky if they came with the Marx name or logo on the bottom but each of the cuties had the the name of the figures pose stamped in. In a time when toy companies were branding every doll with some cute individual name, it's interesting that Marx decided to ignore names and define the figures by their poses.

There were two only waves of cuties ever released and both were in 1964. There were eight figures in each wave with the names below.

Series 1

Dinner for Two
Lazy Afternoon
Lodge Party
Nitey Night
On The Beach
On The Town
Shopping Anyone?
Stormy Weather

Series 2

A Touch of Mink
Belle of the Ball
Bermuda Holiday
Day at the Races
Night at the Opera
Our Girl Friday
Saturday Afternoon
Twist Party

While the alliteration in the name is kinda clever, it is fun to point out that there is very little school activity going on. Not one of the figures is carrying a book, teaching, or learning in any way. They aren't playing a sport, cheer leading, or even pledging. If Marx had waited a few years, they could have had cuties with names like "Sit-in", "Bra Burning" or "Woodstock". Maybe someone could revive the series with "Campus Cuties Gone Wild". Sorry, that was the caffeine talking.

If you're interested in collecting cuties, you should know the first series is much easier to find than the second. There are also color variations. All the original figures were a sort of silly putty pink. In the 70's, Marx was sold to a faceless clueless multinational conglomerate who moved many of the molds to Mexico. Since then, the cuties have appeared in a light yellow and a cream color. The only reason any of this matters is economic. If you're paying more than 6-8 bucks each and they
aren't pink, keep looking.

Yes the cuties do have a web presence and thank you for asking. Matt Hinrichs has a Campus Cuties webpage here. with pix of all the cuties & other cutie stuff.

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