Marx Lane 
An Inventory of Marx Playset Figures, Structures and Accessories
Manufactured from 1951 to 1979

 
Addendum E-2 - Jungle Playsets
Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.



Table of Contents

(click on name to move to section)

Jungle Playsets
Figures
Animals
Accessories
Terrain
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Marx introduced its line of jungle-based playsets in 1957 with a set simply titled Jungle Play Set (#3705) and the Official Jungle Jim Play Set (#3706).  Based on the the Master List of Marx Playsets in the PFPC Special Collector Edition, these first jungle sets were made only for two years.  The short production time was at least partially because the sets were sold only in department stores and small catalog retailers, never in the larger mail order stores such as Sears.  As a result, these early sets are hard to find.

Two other factors must have been 1) Marx' timing of the Jungle Jim set and 2) competition from the toy company MPC.  Jungle Jim began in 1934 as a comic strip, and eventually moved into radio and film.  A 1948 Jungle Jim movie starred
Johnny Weissmuller and involved a search for a rare drug to combat polio.  Fifteen additional Jungle Jim movies were produced, the final one in 1956.  Weissmuller also starred in a short-lived television program in 1956 and 1957 (26 episodes).  So the Marx sets were introduced just as Jim disappeared from the movies and TV.  At the same time, MPC released the first of many jungle playsets in the mid-1950s (see Playset Magazine, Issue 7), which included some features that Marx playsets lacked, such as a river boat.

Finally in 1967, Marx returned to the jungle theme, issuing three versions of the Daktari Play Set (#3717, #2718, and #3720).  This set was based on the popular Daktari television show that ran from 1966 to 1969.  The show featured Dr. Marsh Tracy (Daktari is the Swahili word for doctor) and his daughter Paula Tracy, as well as Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion and Judy the Chimpanzee.  The doctor ran an animal study center in Africa; program episodes largely involved protecting the wildlife of the local game preserve from poachers and other threats.  Click here to watch the introduction to the Daktari television show.
 Marx had much better timing in releasing its Daktari sets, but they are still hard to find in today's market.

Marx jungle playsets are featured in Plastic Figure and Playset Collector magazine (PFPC), Issue 16.


Many thanks to Russian collector Denis Rylev for the exceptional photos he has provided for this page.   






Figures

According to the PFPC article, the original Jungle Play Set had 9 white hunters and 16 natives, including some duplicate poses.  The Jungle Jim and Kulu figures were added for the Jungle Jim Play Set.  In Daktari playsets, Daktari, Paula, and a driver for a jeep were added.  At the same time, according to PFPC, the woman hunter, missionary, and the top-hatted native chief were dropped.  Jungle Jim and Kulu were retained for the Daktari sets, but the names and copyright printing on the bottom of their bases was removed.  In addition, the dead tiger pose shown later on this page was included in the figure mold of Hunters, and Tamba the monkey was made in the Natives mold.

Figures were 54mm scale, made in soft plastic.  The white hunters were cream; the natives a dark or light brown.  According to the PFPC, early jungle sets had the now preferred flat-finsh figures and animals, while later sets had the less attractive waxy ones.

          Hunters (PL-807)
1.  Jungle Jim with rifle, pointing 2.  Kulu with knife and rifle
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev

3.  Daktari with stethescope and bag, and Tamba 4.  Paula 5.  Missionary with Bible
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
6.  Woman carrying rifle
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev

7.  Hunter, shooting rifle
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
8.  Hunter, standing with separate rifle
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
9.  Lost hunter, holding separate rifle
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
10. Driver
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev

          African Natives (PL-808)
   
1.  Chief in top hat
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
2.  Witch doctor wearing leopard head 3.  Walking with rifle on shoulder

4.  Kneeling, beating separate drum
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
5.  Walking with staff Meant to hold separate pole in ring hand to carry supply bundle or dead tiger 6.  Crouching (dancing?) with ring hands at waist level

7.  Standing with bow, drawing arrow 8.  Standing with ring hands, looking down left 9.  Standing with ring hands, leaning right

10.  Standing with staff, holding separate bundle on right shoulder





Animals

     Wild Animals in original Jungle Play Set (PL-344)

According to PFPC Issue 16, the first Jungle Playsets included 10 wild animals that were included in the Marx Circus Playset, as shown below.  According to Kent Sprecher's web site , these animals were made with soft plastic in red brown, light brown, and gray.  Unfortunately, this group included four animals that do not live in Africa.
1.  Buffalo 2.  Alligator

3.  Polar bear 4.  Bear cub

5.  Tiger 6.  Leopard

7.  Giraffe 28.  Baby giraffe

9.  Camel 10.  Zebra

     Animals added in place of non-African animals  (PL-344-1)

According to Kent Sprecher, very soon after the sets' introduction, Marx replaced the four non-jungle animals in the mold (the two bears, buffalo, and camel) with a lion, baby lion, running elephant, and gorilla.  These also came in shades of brown and gray.  Animals were  not in a consistent scale; for example, the elephant is clearly a smaller scale than the other animals.  The animals were also sold separately in a header bag.
1.  Running elephant 2.  Gorilla

3.  Lion 4.  Lion cub

     Daktari character animals
 
As shown below, two new character animals were included in some Daktari playsets, which first appeared in 1967.  Both animals had significant roles in the Daktari TV show.  These two poses are extremely hard to find today.  According to Kent's web site, these two figures were added to PL-344-1 above, and the the adult lion and the gorilla in that mold were removed.
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Clarence, the cross-eyed lion Judy the chimpanzee

     Tamba and dead tiger
 
Jungle Jim sets included Jungle Jim's monkey friend Tampa and a dead tiger, both made as part of the human figure molds.  Because the tiger is generally found in cream and Tamba in brown, it seems obvious that the tiger was in the White Hunters mold and Tamba in the African Natives mold.

The tiger was made to be carried on a pole by two natives (see Native pose 5).  They could use the same pole to carry a bundle of supplies, which had loops to attach the bundle to the pole.  Tamba is 1-1/4 inches tall; the tiger is 2 inches high, from bottom of tail to bottom of feet.

Dead tiger Tamba 

     Painted animals

According to PFPC, one Daktari playset (#3720) had hand-painted, soft plastic animals that were made in Marx' facilities in Hong Kong.  Reportedly, the painting on these animals was much better than the usual sloppy Hong Kong painting.  Seven of the painted animals were in the set, along with the Clarence and Judy figures.  

A big surprise to me is that these seven figures are poses from the company's painted, hard-plastic Animal Kingdom group shown on the Animals page of this web site!  The six shown below in a group are from a set purchased by veteran collector Kent Sprecher.  These are from the company second factory-painted group, but Kent believes the seventh figure may have been the elephant from the first group.  Interestingly, Kent reports that these six animals are maked as having been made in Marx' Taiwan facilties, which he notes were opened in 1967.
Six of seven painted figures in Daktari playset #3720
Photo courtesy of Kent Sprecher

 Here are the same animals shown in individual photos included on this site's page of Other Animals, which shows animals generally not shown on other site pages.
Photo not available - your photo would be welcomed!
1.  Clarence the Lion 2.  Judy the Chimpanzee 3.  Elephant

Photo not available - your photo would be welcomed! Photo not available - your photo would be welcomed!
4.  Zebra 5.  Tiger 6.  Rhinoceros
Photo not available - your photo would be welcomed!
7.  Giraffe

     Monkeys  (PL-361)
 
Some jungle sets also had the monkeys that were first found in the company's circus sets.  I believe many of the jungle monkeys were in the light gray color shown below, as well as brown and cream.  You can also find red monkeys, which I have read came on when sold in separate monkey figure groups, but others say they were also in jungle sets.


     60mm Wild Animal Group

In addition to all that, in the early 1950s, Marx manufactured a Wild Animal group that was apparently sold only in header bags.  The group has 15 figures, including several jungle animals.  You can see them on the Animals page of this web site.  Often called the 60mm Wild Animal group, they are the most difficult of Marx animals to find today and, as a result, are also the most expensive.





Accessories

          Trading Post

The tin-plated, pressed steel Trading Post was made with the same stamping that Marx used for many of its down-sized cabins in other playsets.  Only the lithography was changed.  It is 7-1/2 inches wide and lithographed inside and out and has a "back bar" made of thick wire that connects the bottom back corners to hold the building in shape.

Today this structure is one of the hardest Marx cabins to find.
Trading Post - front
Photos courtesy of John Stengel, aka The Marx Man.
Trading Post - back
The back bar that helps hold the building in shape is missing.


          Jungle Stockade

The stockade, which is commonly called the wilderness stockade by collectors today, is slightly smaller than the stockades found in most Wild West playsets.   However, it  is better detailed than the standard Fort Apache stockade; the upright posts are of varying heights and and the molding has rope or wire that appears to hold the posts tightly together.  This same stockade was used in at least two other playsets, Boonseborough and Fort York.

The gate, which has no name on it, is 5-3/4 inches wide and 3-1/2 inches tall; the walls are 5-3/4 inches wide and 2-3/4 inches tall.  Some walls have an inside ledge that is about a half inch wide.
 
Jungle Stockade
Photo courtesy of Kent Sprecher

        Native hut on stilts

The huts are made up of seven pieces:  four legs, the ladder, the roof, and the main piece that has the four walls and floor.  Originals are rather expensive, and I have seen individual legs sell for $20.  The lighter colored hut below was advertised as original, but based on the price I purchased it for, I suspect it is a re-issue.


The assembled hut stands 4-1/2 inches tall.
Native hut and ladder
(Stilts are missing.)
Photo courtesy of Kent Sprecher
Native hut - complete
re-issue
Inside floor of hut
Cut out at left is door, with two insets for ladder
Leg posts for hut
re-issue
Ladder for hut
2-3/8 inches tall

      Round native hut

Although this hut might be seen as some sort of native meeting hall, it is not much bigger than the other huts.  It is in three pieces, the roof and two circular walls.  The walls are each about 3-1/4 inches wide, leaving not only the front doorway opening by a large gap in the back.  Perhaps this was to save the cost of extra plastic, but it also allows items to be placed inside the hut, similar to many of the company's tin litho buildings that have open backs.

When assembled, the hut is about 4-3/4 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall; the walls are about 3-1/3 inches wide.  Like the huts on stilts in the previous section, it is hard to find and rather expensive today.      
Round native hut
Hut walls - outside (top) and inside views
Wall at right is missing one tab.


      Small accessories (PL-837)

Small jungle accessories were plentiful, far more than in many playsets.  Many, however, were very small.  The small drum shown below, for example, is 7/16 of an inch tall.  The large pot -- which is just about big enough to put in one of the great white hunters! -- is about 1-1/2 inches tall.

The group was originally made in red and gray hard plastic.

Photo not available - we could use yours!
1.  Cage trap
Hooks at each end of cage top have been broken off
2.  Dugout with outrigger
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
3.  Tree snare 4.  Spike trap
5.  Campfire 6.  Large 3-legged pot
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
7.  Raft 8.  Poles for raft

Photo not available - we could use yours!
9.  Large drum 10.  Small drum 11.  Stretched animal skin
Photo not available - we could use yours!
12.  Square bundle 13.  Rectangular bundle with hooks for pole 14.  Machette
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
15.  Water trough 16.  Plates (three types) 17.  Small pot

      Accessory sprue (PL-809)

Jungle playsets were one of several Marx sets that came with small accessories attached to a plastic "sprue."  For the jungle sets, this sprue included
One sprue contained more than one of some items, as shown below.
Photo not available - we could use yours!
Accessory sprue

Two type of spears from sprue
longer spear is about 3 inches long


Daktari Play Sets included a jeep, made using a similar mold as jeeps in such playsets as Roy Rogers and Yogi Bear.  The Daktari jeep is about 4-1/4 inches long, a half inch shorter than the Roy Rogers jeep.
Daktari jeep
Photo courtesy of Kent Sprecher
Jeep with driver
re-issue



Terrain

        3-piece cave-arch-pond terrain

This attractive piece was first included in the company's prehistoric playsets.  It was added to the jungle theme for the Daktari playsets. 
As you can see in the photo, it is made in three pieces.  Marx provided two plastic clips to hold the pieces together in the back, but these were usually quickly lost by us kids and are hard to find today.  I was fortunate to grab a couple cheaply in an Ebay auction, probably because not many others knew what they were.  However, the three pieces will stay together on their own unless touched, or make-shift clips can be created easily.  The pond piece can be swiveled 90 degrees if you need to display the piece in a corner.
 
Although the piece can vary a bit in size depending on how it is placed, it is about 16-1/2 inches wide, 5-1/2 inches deep, and 6 inches tall.  The backs of the three pieces are open and hollow.


Small cliff with ladder and cave
Small cliff with lake
Arched land bridge Connector clips
Combined cliff and lake pieces

        Trees

Marx included palm trees and ferns in some jungle playsets.  These were in two or three pieces with the top parts in a soft plastic green, and the bottom trunk part a hard plastic brown.  Tops of palm trees are interchangeable among the trunks.

Mold numbers for the plams and the ferns below are PL-760 for the tops and PL-761 for the bases.  These items were used for several other Marx playsets, such as Zorro and Captain Gallant.  Rather nice re-issues exist in slightly lighter colors than the originals.
Large single palm tree Large double palm tree Small double palm tree
Many thanks to the late Rob Colwell for providing original palm trees and ferns for photos.

Fern  with three leaves Fern with four leaves

      Jungle fences

Daktari playsets included a rather high mesh barbed wire fencing.
  About 5-1/2 inches wide and 2 inches high, this fence had first been used in Marx Untouchables playsets and was included in some military and space sets.

This is my favorite type of Marx fence.  It is sturdy, and fence pieces hold well when attached to each other.  Each piece can be attached either in a straight line or at a 90 degree angle.

Mesh or anchor fence
Front side on top, back side on bottom

      Jungle flags
 
Flags for Jungle and Daktari Playsets
Flag for Jungle Jim was same as the Jungle flag, except it had "Jim" added after Jungle.
Photo courtesy of Kent Sprecher
 
Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours! Photo not available - we could use yours!
Jungle Flag Jungle Jim flag Daktari flag

      Daktari playmat

 
Photo not available - we could use yours!
Daktari playmat




Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.