Ten Years of PopCult

Today is the tenth anniversary of The PopCult Blog, written by Rudy Panucci. Every hour, on the hour(sort of), we’re going to bring you one of our favorite posts from the preceding decade. Some are significant “firsts,” while others are deeply touching or overwhelmingly goofy. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

While we’re posting photo essays, I had to include this one, the first of five, in fact, featuring the Marx Toy Museum, one of the coolest places in West Virginia. This one links to the other four Marx Toy Museum essays.

The PopCulteer
August 24, 2012

The Marx Toy Museum
Photo Essay Part One

Welcome to our first multi-part photo essay in The PopCulteer. As a sort of early present to our readers, just a few days away from PopCult’s seventh anniversary, we are bringing you photographic evidence of a trip we took last week to The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville, West Virginia.

It was an incredibly pleasant trip. The weather was perfect. The museum was easy to find. Francis Turner, founder of the museum and Candy, who was working as a docent the day we showed up, were warm, friendly and gracious. I’ve been reading about Francis and his amazing collection for years, and it was great to finally meet him in person.

The Marx Toy Company was, at one time, the biggest toy company in the world. One of their main factories was located in Glen Dale, West Virginia, only a few miles from the site of The Marx Toy Museum. There’s a real sense of community on display here, as so many people in the area worked for Marx. At the museum you can learn about the history of Louis Marx, his wonderful toys and the people who made them.

This photo essay cannot possibly replace the actual experience of going to The Marx Toy Museum. You can’t imagine how cool it is to see this much toy history in one place. It’s a great day trip, and I recommend it to anyone in the Charleston area. If you grew up any time before the 1980s, The Marx Toy Museum will bring back many childhood memories. You may overdose on nostalgic glee. If you’re younger, you will still find the toys of yesteryear to be fascinating.

This photo essay is broken into five parts, so that the graphics don’t overwhelm your browsers. Convenient links will be posted at the top and bottom of each essay, so that you can jump around at will.


The Marx Toy Museum Photo Essay
Part One–Meet The Museum (You Are Here)
Part Two–Marxism In The Toy World
Part Three–Playsets And Plastic People
Part Four–Girl’s Toys
Part Five–Johnny West And The Cowboys

Part One–Meet The Museum

Here we just get our foot in the door, and look around at the many wonders of The Marx Toy Museum.

Bright, colorful and happy

Francis Turner, the man behind the Museum

A legendary space playset. You will see more in part three

There’ a whole lot of Hanna Barbera in that case

Warriors of the World, UNITE!

Original package art by F. Chamberlain is found in The Prototype Room

More original art. You will be seeing much more from The Prototype Room

Lots O’ Platic, including Nutty Mads and Universal Monsters

Moundsville native, Brad Paisley, donated his childhood Marx Toys to the museum

More of the Paisley collection

One of the Marx riding toys. All the cool kids rode one of these

This one, not so much

Some of the cool stuff you can find in the Museum’s gift shop

Some of the very cool reproduction items you can find in the gift shop

More cool stuff that you can take home

Did I mention that the gift shop is decked out like a 1950s diner? Way cool.

In case the toys don’t push you into all the way to Nostalgia Nirvana, the decor will finish the job

Cool toys are just everywhere

Hard to believe, but this is just warming up

You’ll see way more of these guys in part five

Superhero toys from the 1970s

From 1965, the very first Marvel Comics action figures

On the far right is Marvel the Mustang, in the middle, a rare riding burro, on the left, a one-of-a-kind prototype of a riding camel. And a little cowboy, too.

More coolness

Part of the Military-Industrial-Plastic Complex

Ike warned us!

Check out the entire The Marx Toy Museum Photo Essay
Part One–Meet The Museum (You’re looking at this one)
Part Two–Marxism In The Toy World
Part Three–Playsets And Plastic People
Part Four–Girl’s Toys
Part Five–Johnny West And The Cowboys