Author Topic: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!  (Read 426 times)

Hepcat

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An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« on: April 05, 2020, 06:23:30 PM »
Deluxe Reading which was eventually renamed Topper Toys in 1964 was the company that marketed big plastic toys through a network of supermarkets in the weeks before Xmas from the 1950's to the 1970's. The marketing program was thus little less than ingenious. Rather than requiring kids to induce their parents to take them to specialty toy stores or toy departments of bigger stores, these toys were there to be seen in supermarkets where moms went every week, usually with their kids in tow. The toys were displayed in well-designed open front boxes on TOP shelves above freezers and such. This was space that wasn't available for selling grocery products because it was out of customers' reach. Supermarkets could thus utilize normally useless space to sell even more product so it therefore made all the sense in the world for supermarkets to stock Deluxe Reading toys. But the very fact that these toys in their colourful boxes were right there in front of their eyes but still out of reach made kids want them even more!

In addition the toys were promoted by heavy TV advertising during the Xmas season. This too was effective since just about every kid watched TV, while not every kid bought comics or had access to Boy's Life magazine which were the other traditional vehicles for marketing particularly boys' toys.

Among the toys offered by the company over the years were these:

Battlewagon (Deluxe Reading)
Candy Fashion (Deluxe Reading)
Crusader 101 (Deluxe Reading)
Defender Dan (Deluxe Reading)
Jimmy Jet (Deluxe Reading 1961)
Tiger Joe Tank (Deluxe Reading)

Johnny Astro (Topper Toys)
Johnny Eagle Guns (Topper Toys)
Johnny Lightning (Topper Toys 1969)
Johnny Seven O.M.A. (Topper Toys 1964)
Motorized Monster Maker Kit (Topper Toys)
Secret Sam Spy Case (Topper Toys)
Silly Safari (Topper Toys)
Super Helmet Seven (Topper Toys 1966)
The Tigers (Topper Toys 1966)

Here's a great video on some of the company's offerings:

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« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 08:27:45 PM by Hepcat »
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Mike Scott

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Re: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2020, 11:59:28 PM »
Motorized Monster Maker Kit

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Hepcat

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Re: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2020, 09:34:22 AM »
Here's a good commercial for the Motorized Monster Maker:



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Sir Masksalot

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Re: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2020, 10:12:43 AM »
My brother had the Tiger Joe Tank. I don't remember any of the others. 'Great research, Hepcat. Thanks for the history.

horrorhunter

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Re: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2020, 01:17:54 PM »
I received a Johnny Seven O.M.A. for Christmas in 1964 (I was 5).



I had a lot of fun with it for a few years but it succumbed to the dreaded toy box wars and what was left of it mysteriously disappeared at some point in the late '60s/early '70s.

I saw another one at a local antique mall some years ago complete with the original box but they wanted $450 and refused to come off that lofty price. $450 probably wasn't too unreasonable but I couldn't swing it at the time and had to walk away. I'm not a big toy gun collector but I really miss that one.
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Hepcat

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Re: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2020, 01:57:19 PM »
The Johnny Seven OMA was a very innovative toy gun for its time. It was the #1 selling boys' toy for 1964. Here's the very cool TV commercial:



It's still so highly regarded by toy enthusiasts that it's even been accorded its own Wikipedia writeup!

Johnny Seven OMA - Wikipedia

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horrorhunter

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Re: An Overview of Deluxe Reading/Topper Toys!
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2020, 07:19:57 PM »
I had Silly Safari as a kid in the mid '60s.



I still have the board and most of the pieces, but the box was tossed a long time ago (typical  ::)).

The components are high quality and the trapping mechanism was fairly elaborate (a bit like Mouse Trap). You would poise the trap over a jungle animal, push down the gooney bird's tail which loosed the swinging monkey who kicked the metal ball which rolled down the circular flume and landed on the crocodile's head which caused his tail to fly up which made the giraffe spin and release the trap. The jungle animals have good sculpts too. Boardgames were great in the '60s.
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