Print Putty (AKA Secret Print Putty)
We don't touch on the Colorforms brand as often as we could here at The Toy Box, but one thing is for certain, the toys that they made were a lot of fun - If not simply for the fact that so many were odd and obscure.
Much mystery surrounds who actually invented Silly Putty first, but according to Crayola, the owner of the patent, it was invented in 1943 by James Wright during World War II. Since then, it has been produced numerous times over with Crayola's own patented Silly Putty name, Imperial's Play Putty, Durham's Fun Putty, Colorform's Print Putty, and so many other various iterations. It's a toy that has lasted on shelves for over fifty years, and show no signs of stumbling in popularity any time soon.
But, what is it about this intriguing putty that makes kids young and old so attracted to it? Plain and simply - It's multifunctional. It can be shaped into a ball, and bounced about. It can be stretched out and used to mold various shapes. However, what most kids absolutely loved about it is its ability to transfer ink from comic book pages onto its surface simply by pushing it down on the comic strip, then lifting it back up.
As we said above, numerous companies have released some form of Silly Putty. Today, we're going to be looking at the 1966 era from Coloforms known as Print Putty - AKA Secret Print Putty.
Coloforms released numerous packages onto the market all at once which included; Batman, Superman, Green Hornet, Monster, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Respectively, Green Hornet and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. were released under the banner, "Secret Print Putty", while the others were just called Print Putty.
Each ball of putty came packed on its own unique card, and included a small "Secret Print Book" which contained "Magic Print Paper" - Though in truth, there was nothing magical about the paper at all as one could use the putty to pull the image off of any printed comic book or strip. Each putty ball was also packed into its own unique container, such as the skull for the Monster Print Putty and / or planet Krypton for Superman.
Most of these particular brands of putty can still be found today on secondary markets, but they're going to set you back anywhere from $40.00 to $400.00 - The cheapest being The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which is fairly common on markets), and the most valuable being the Monster Print Putty (which is rarely found on markets).
Those looking to track these items down should be careful, especially with the Monster Print Putty as reproductions have been known to surface and sell. As of now, we have not heard of anyone trying to pass the reproductions off as original releases, but needless to say, there's always a chance this could happen. Even then, reproductions are still going to set you back about $150.00.
Of course, there's really no sure way to know if you're getting the original putty in an opened version, and as such most buyers looking for these items typically seek out only sealed in package versions. Again though, you need to be careful as a lot of the reproductions being produced are also sealed in the package.
For as simple as (Silly) Putty is, it's amazing how it has managed to stand the test of time while other more complex toy lines come and go - Sometimes in what seems like a blink of an eye. We suppose that it comes down to the tried and true statement - Simple is better.
Colorforms continued to produce a format of putty after its (Secret) Print Putty line. However, latter releases tweaked the title on the cardback to be more specific to the item inside. A perfect example of this is the Space Putty package to the right.
Unfortunately the package was so simplified in terms of what was inside that it only included a ball of putty in a shaped container. Gone was the fantastic print book with wonderful artwork to transfer to the putty - Though it still had some wonderful illustrations on the package.
Though we tried desperately to find one to include in this post, we simply could not put our hands on the Spooky Putty. This particular package was a Mickey Mouse and Pluto themed release which featured a glow in the dark skull container reminiscent (if not identical) to the original Monster Print Putty container. If we ever come across one, we'll update this post with it.
Join us next time when we take a look at The Phantom!
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