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Mattel Toy Factory in the 1950s

by Mattel

This is a 1950s film that shows the inside work involved in the planning, design and manufacture of Mattel’s Jack-in-the-Music-Box toy. This film depicts how it was in the days when simple things like this were made in the USA. It is both educational and fun to watch. Although this is a public domain film, it has been edited for length and content. The beginning of the film shows various products made and assembled in other factories. Of course, we are more interested in the portion of the film that contains the manufacture of toys. Consequently, we show the Mattel Toy Factory here. In the film, factory workers assemble and test Mattel’s Jack-In-The-Music-Box,
pictured on this page.

1950s Mattel Jack In The Music Box toy

1950s Mattel Jack In The Music Box toy

We have one of these Jack-in-the-Music-Box toys. Ours shows stock number 507 with patents in Canada from 1951 and 1953. The outside of the box boasts: MATTEL INCORPORATED, LOS ANGELES, CALIF. Also on the outside, credits are given to the music arranger, Ted Duncan, and to Louis Song for the decor. Unfortunately, the film is in black-and-white and does not do justice to the brightly-colored panels of red, yellow, blue and green. Check out the picture here.

Ebay searches prove this item is not currently (as of 2011) selling for much. If you can find one in decent shape, expect to pay anywhere from $5-20 for one of these small pieces of history. To us, it’s still a bargain at $20.

Credits go to the Film Associates of California, produced by Paul Burnford. This film is part of the Prelinger Archives, founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, the Prelinger Archives grew into a collection of over 60,000 “ephemeral” (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. In 2002, the film collection was acquired by the Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Prelinger Archives remains in existence, holding approximately 4,000 titles on videotape and a smaller collection of film materials acquired subsequent to the Library of Congress transaction.

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