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When was this bunny born?

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:54 pm
by spudgy
Can anyone tell me when this was first issued and if it belongs with any particular group or series? I couldn't find it in Larry's book. Maybe I'm overlooking it.
CJRabbit001.jpg (96.41 KiB) Viewed 6088 times
I hope the picture posts okay.
In case the picture doesn't show, this rabbit is standing on his back feet. It has what looks like a Greek key design around the base. It must be pretty common because I already have eleven of them.

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:10 pm
by Cyndy Boesch
I don't know when your bunny was born, but he's a beauty! I guess it's safe to say he was born sometime after the late 1940's and before the mid-70's. The local University mascot is the Jackrabbit--he definitely belongs to Jackrabbit Nation! He's is Cracker Jack. I hadn't noted the Greek key design on the base until you pointed it out. Thanks for showing him off!

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:00 pm
by dianep2
:lotsoflove: Hi, I don't know your bunny's birthday either. :|p But what a beautiful marbled coat of fur he has. I am green with envy. %|

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:43 pm
by jdnola
Your rabbit from the Plastic Molded Products Co. apparently is from 1949. Though records don't specifically indicate the year of distribution, prizes from just before and just after the rabbits are from 1949, so this is probably the right date. Nice one you have there, beautifully marbled, which seems to be a genetic trait for this particular "Greek" rabbit. The details that good scans reveal never cease to amaze me; the artists really didn't have to go to so much trouble, but did anyway. I like to think they were really enjoying exploring the possibilities of the relatviely new injection molding procress. I forgot that most of these are marked.

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:09 pm
by Jeffrey Maxwell
spudgy wrote:Can anyone tell me when this was first issued ... ?
I can tell you what I can, based on my observations, since I don't have any Cracker Jack books in front of me and haven't looked at one for 10 years:
1. This prize cannot have been made before 1946, because this prize is a screw-injection-molded thermoplastic called polystyrene, and this method of molding was developed in 1946 to mold the new post-WWII polymers. Injection-molded plastic prizes first appeared in packages of Cracker Jack in 1948.
2. It must be before 1965 because it is a CJCO prize -- Borden bought Cracker Jack from CJCO in 1964 and we can safely say that Borden did not continue with CJCO prizes once the stock of prizes on hand was depleted.
3. Based on appearance and design (see below), this prize most likely first appeared in Cracker Jack between 1948 and 1954. It is one of the earlier plastic Cracker Jack prizes.
4. While this prize is generally NOT scarce or rare, many examples I have collected or observed were thin on the edges, even incompletely molded, so the real challenge is finding perfectly molded examples in top condition.

By appearance and design, I mean:
1. The design of the rabbit itself looks like typical 1940s post-war design.
2. Earlier injection-molded plastic toys tend to use more mottling (marbleizing) in color than later. A good example of this is Alphabet Animals. You are far more likely to find mottled colors in Type I Alphabet Animals (which are the first to be used in Cracker Jack) than you will ever find in Type II Alphabet Animals which NOSCO produced in vastly larger quantities -- one of the reasons I didn't sell my Type I Alphabet Animals.
3. The meander border (Greek key) in the base is a remnant of the Neo-classicism movement in the arts (basically a resurgence of Greek Revival design style of 100 years before) which was popular from the end of WWI to post-WWII, which lends to the argument that this prize is probably closer to the beginning of plastic injection molding.

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:49 pm
by jdnola
It is so good to have you back, Jeffrey. You always did have a wealth of information to share.

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:52 pm
by spudgy
To JDNOIS and Jeffrey:

WOW! You guys amaze me! When I asked my original question, I never expected such a wealth of information. THANK YOU!!!

I have to tell you, that little bunny just earned a special place in my collection. Who would have thought that a rabbit could be such a good teacher?

One thing I've noticed about these rabbits; the majority of them (at least mine) are darker shades of brown. It makes me wonder how or why certain colors were chosen for a given series or shape. I wonder why some things were produced in translucent or marbled plastic and others were not?

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:58 pm
by Jeffrey Maxwell
@JD. I didn't notice your post before I wrote mine. But I am kind of glad I didn't since our answers correspond nicely with each other. It makes me kind of proud that I got the ballpark on the date. (I was going to say 1948 to 1952, but I hedged a bit and put 1954.)

@Spudgy. Post WWII was the biggest boom in America for consumer goods. And cheaper plastic materials developed during and after the war made a great contribution to consumerism. Manufacturers could easily change the color of their products each year to match the latest trends. I cannot say whether or not CJCO ordered prizes in specific colors, but I suggest that for some sets they did, and for others they probably didn't specify. In the cases when they didn't specify, it is likely that whatever plastics company that molded that set used whatever was on hand or available the cheapest. Of course it makes sense that the most popular colors of the age would be the easiest and cheapest to obtain. When CJCO got into the plastic prize business, plastic manufacturers were still trying to make cheaply made plastic items seem more elegant and not so cheap. So they used rich colors and marbling (or mottling) to make the product appear to be made of something more expensive.

The fact that your rabbit was made earlier in the era of modern molded plastic is a very good reason why the colors are dark. Many sets of earlier CJ prizes were made in darker, richer colors. Later 1950s prizes can be found in an array of popular colors of the times, including seafoam, turquois, corral, and chartruese. In the 1960s, you will find that the colors (even the "solid" colors) become more translucent (meaning there isn't as much depth of color) and you will find more primary and secondary colors were used as a standard in the toys.

In Alphabet Animals for example, I have only one complete set of one color in the earlier Type I Alphabet Animals (yellow), but I also have examples of over 100 different colors, many with marbleing. I collected complete sets in single shades of red, green, blue, yellow, white, ivory and almost a complete set in turquois in the later Type II Alphabet Animals. So I would infer that NOSCO had become a little less artsy, and was producing mostly a limited number of standard colors by then -- a cheaper way to make large amounts of plastic toys. The Type II Alphabet Animals were the same molds as the Type I Alphabet Animals that had been ground down in the center to use less plastic, so NOSCO was always looking for ways to economize their processes so they could crank out more millions of prizes and keep costs down.

The bottom line is that you will find that plastic followed certain trends. And we know that Cracker Jack was frequently right up with the trends. What you might find in Cracker Jack at any given time, regardless of the material used for prizes, often strongly reflects what is going on in other areas of consumer manufacturing and design. Any given set of colors in plastic Cracker Jack prizes often reflected colors in other products, even other toys, of the time.

:offtopic: Unfortunately, it is my belief that Cracker Jack prizes still reflect the current times with their multi-ply toilet paper roll prizes. I am surprised that Frito-Lay actually puts something in the package nowadays. Look at other products today. You don't get little basketball cards in Sugar Daddy anymore, instead you get your Butterfinger candy wrapper and take it to the computer so you can type in the code to enter a contest. Most "prizes" these days are "virtual", where you go to a website to download free music, or whatever. So I guess we should be happy that FL still puts a prize -- whatever it is -- in every package of Cracker Jack. But now I have traveled a long way away from your lone little bunny, haven't I?

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:26 am
by gizmojack
Hi Guys,
This rabbit sure is a "USDA Choice" example if I've ever seen one and I'm sure I have a few marbilized ones as well but, I have a question relating to marbilized prizes that maybe Jeffery can answer (or anyone else for that matter!).
I have tons of marbizied prizes in many different series', however I don't think I've ever seen a "put-together" plastic prize that's truely marbilized. Why???
The closest thing would probably be the p.t. race cars with the names on them, "Buick Racer", "Jordan Playboy", etc. but I would call those metallic colored, not marbilized.
Then, there is the cars with black wheels and different color body & the 2-pc CJ Semi-truck that were molded in two colors but still not marbilized.
Now, I have well over 300 unassenbled p.t. and more than I care to count in assembled state and not one is marbilized and it's keeping me up at night (install confused imodicon here but it won't go?)
Can anyone help me get some sleep?????

Re: When was this bunny born?

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:01 pm
by gsullivan
:lol: I could take your put-togethers off your hands for you so you wouldn't have to worry about them :lol: :mrgreen:

Seriously, there are marbled put-together prizes, but you don't see them very often. I'm going to attach a couple images of some posted in other forums. I don't know if you have seen the forum in odds & ends for "Show me your marbled prizes," but there are many beautiful examples there of marbled prizes.