Politically Incorrect Vintage Toys You've Never Seen Before
Written by Amanda Mannen
The modern toy industry sees its fair share of controversy as we start to think harder about what messages we really want to tell our children, but back in the day, we apparently never gave it a second thought. Either that or we assumed children would be delighted to spend their precious playtime hours psychologically and sometimes physically injuring themselves, with varying success. Those politically incorrect times resulted in some very politically incorrect toys that will drop your jaw all these years later. Let's begin our horrifying journey, shall we?
The Nutty Mad Indian is one of many controversial toys from the Marx Toy Company
The name alone seems highly suspect, but Nutty Mad was actually an entire line of toys made by the Marx Toy Company in the 1960s and not a comment upon the "Indian" himself. Based on the designs of Mad Magazine artists, the figures were intended to look grotesque, featuring ghoulish expressions and bulging, bloodshot eyes. Vikings and soldiers were counted among Nutty Mad's original series, so they could proudly claim that they didn't shy away from skewering anyone, no matter how revered the figure, but some of them give the modern consumer certain pause. One, called Mudder, is an aging woman with a pendulous bosom and a baby slung casually by the waist over her hip while she ominously clutches a frying pan. Another, called Donald the Demon, is a terrifying man-duck hybrid. The Marx Toy Company apparently saw no reason not to extend this treatment to indigenous peoples.
The Nutty Mad Indian With War Whoop features the signature swollen, reddened eyes of the toy line, but he's also smiling, with his tongue hanging out in a caricature of stereotypical Native depictions. The tongue actually vibrates when the battery-powered toy is activated, while emitting the most melodious "war whoop" this side of Peter Pan. It sounds more like the song of a pretty little bird than a fearsome call to violence. At the same time, it beats a drum in what can only loosely be called a "rhythm."
Nutty Mads are considered collectibles these days, and while most of them only fetch around $10 or $15, the Nutty Mad Indian With War Whoop sold for $120 in 2018. It's not clear why they're so rare, but they're not listed among the Nutty Mad original series, so it seems that Nutty Mad was all too eager to discontinue and disassociate from them. The Nutty Mad Indian With War Whoop wasn't even the only Native figure that Nutty Mad produced, however. Chief Lost Teepee, of all the possible names they could have gone with, sits cross-legged on top of a skeletal donkey, which seems like a very easy way to find yourself soon not sitting on top of a skeletal donkey. He wears a more placid, Jim Varney--like expression, but features the same cartoonishly crossed eyes. He sells for considerably less.
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