The Neighborhood Archive Forum

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood => Toys => Topic started by: Neighborhood Archive on May 29, 2011, 10:38:36 PM

Title: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on May 29, 2011, 10:38:36 PM
I have no problem making one of the first posts on this message board an APB for any information on the 1977 Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset produced by Ideal.

(http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/merch/toys/nom_playset77/DSCF1364.JPG)

While some sources suggest that this playset is just hard to find, other (more reliable) sources have suggested that it was never actually mass-produced in the first place. Any information on this playset would be wonderful as it is one of the handful of Mister Rogers memorabilia pieces that I am beyond curious about...
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on May 29, 2011, 11:51:18 PM
It wouldn't be the first time Ideal advertised a toy and then didn't actually release it. In 1966 Jim Henson shot a commercial advertising three Muppet puppets manufactured by Ideal: Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, and Snerf, a monster character. But Snerf was never actually released.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on May 29, 2011, 11:57:20 PM
That's good to know as all signs are pointing towards this playset never being made to begin with.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on May 30, 2011, 12:03:22 AM
But...so what are these figures from that you found over here?

http://mattandtimfunny.blogspot.com/2010/08/neighborhood-of-make-believe-playset.html
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on May 30, 2011, 12:10:41 AM
Quite honestly, that's the one thing that makes me hold on to hope that the set was actually produced. Everything else I'm hearing suggests that it was an item produced as a prototype and advertised but never made available on a large public scale.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on May 30, 2011, 12:34:51 AM
I wonder if it might have appeared in a catalog. That's one of the pieces of evidence about "Snerf" never being made; Kermit and Rowlf appear in the 1966 Montgomery Wards Christmas catalog, but not Snerf.

I suppose it is possible the playset was never mass-produced. You may have the actual figures that appear in the photo!
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on May 30, 2011, 07:34:18 AM
That'd be really cool but I have seen these figures elsewhere so these certainly aren't one of a kind. It's the playset itself that seems to have been wiped from existence (if it ever existed to begin with).
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: earnhardtfan4life on May 30, 2011, 07:52:37 AM
Maybe a lot of the MRN merchandise was regionally produced or locally produced.  And that might be the reason why it's so hard to find.

I wonder if WQED provided gifts of MRN merchandise (during the 1970s) for those people that donated money for the program.  That could be another reason why they are so hard to find.

Mike 
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Degeneration X The Owl on May 30, 2011, 01:03:49 PM
Fred was never a fan of marketing anyways even though some toys were released for funding reasons.  He was a extremely strong activist for creative play.  Which is why he always tells children to "use a shoebox as the trolley" and other safe household items for the NOMB.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 16, 2011, 09:03:23 PM
X has been found!

http://neighborhoodarchive.com/blog/?p=1068
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on June 17, 2011, 10:41:27 PM
Very cool! But you think it's possible that these figures were actually a part of another toy? It seems odd that the figures are slowly drifting in, but not a single piece of the actual neighborhood playset.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 23, 2011, 04:43:43 PM
These are definitely the figures from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe set. The only other toy (other than the puppets) that it may have come from would have been the Musical Trolley (the Trolley came with the Lady Elaine and Daniel Tiger figures).

Based on bits and pieces I've put together, the best I can determine is that this playset was planned but never mass produced. My guess is that the figures were made but production was halted for whatever reason before the rest of the set was done.

Of course, this is all just speculation. If anyone knows any details about this playset, please chime in.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on June 23, 2011, 10:25:53 PM
It is my new obsession! All comes from a profound childhood longing for the "playset" Mr. Rogers had on the show, I suppose...

What is the source for the photo and drawing you have of the playset? Are they from the packaging of the Ideal trolley and puppets?
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 23, 2011, 10:40:01 PM
The photo above is from the packaging of the three puppets put out by Ideal in the late 70s. The drawing comes from the box for the Ideal Musical Trolley also put out around that time.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on June 23, 2011, 11:17:55 PM
I did an "enhance" on the photo, enlarging, straightening, sharpening, brightening, etc.:
(http://www.grundoon.com/mrnombplayset.jpg)

Granted it can't actually reveal any detail that wasn't there in your photo, but I've found that it can make it "easier to see" what's there. I was thinking that trying to analyze it might make it easier to spot the playset -- or some part of it -- in a flea market or yard sale or wherever. I have a bunch of questions, which might spur some answers or observations from others:

So it seems that there's a hinge of sorts between Henrietta's house and the castle, where it would fold back and close to contain the accessories. Is there another hinge between the tree and museum-go-round? Maybe the museum folds into the tree, which then folds back to meet the castle?

What are the "20 accessories" that are mentioned? I count the King, Queen, Prince, X, Henrietta, two thrones, a purple riding horse for Tuesday, a telescope, a rocking chair, an airplane, a letter or postcard (in front of Henrietta), and four cards in front of the castle. That's 16...what are the other 4? What is the red object next to the telescope?

What is the thin spiraling column visible inside the castle?

I don't remember the airplane from the show...whose was it?

I'm not sure if the photo is appearing above at full resolution, but I have it posted here as well:

http://www.grundoon.com/mrnombplayset.jpg (http://www.grundoon.com/mrnombplayset.jpg)
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: earnhardtfan4life on June 24, 2011, 08:53:35 AM
I think the airplane was the castle plane.  I remember something about Yoshi Ito piloting it.  That was back in the pre79 era.  The spiral thing looks like it has a knob on the top of it to turn something.  That is a weird looking Museum Go Around. 
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 24, 2011, 11:25:26 AM
The plane was Yoshi Ito's. She was the pilot of the plane in several NOM stories back in the 70s.

I'm stuck on the 20 accessories as well. The only thing I can think of would be that maybe the Museum Go Round is not attached and is considered to be an accessory. But still, that only brings the count to 17.

Here is a link to my original photograph taken directly from one of the puppet boxes. It's a bit larger and could offer some extra details for anyone wanting a closer look.

http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/blog/images/nomsetfull.JPG (http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/blog/images/nomsetfull.JPG)
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on June 25, 2011, 11:02:55 AM
Thanks, the original is a BIG help and shows a lot more detail!

So I'm wondering about those cards in front, or whatever they are. The top one seems to have a large brown "X" on it...anything to do with the Owl? What would you do with those cards?

Also, it's odd that the castle has a cobblestone texture on the ground INSIDE it...I wonder if the playset was supposed to "work" from both sides? And if on the other side of the castle there's Corny's factory or something, which might help explain the weird spiraling pole, and the unidentifiable object at the bottom of it.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: earnhardtfan4life on June 25, 2011, 04:02:16 PM
After staring, zooming in and out at that picture for what seemed like an eternity...

The X picture is the two birds on sticks - Memus and Trog, I believe. 

At first I had wondered if they were decals that go on the museum go round since the bottom of the museum has no decals.  I think those cardboard pictures are inserts that go on the castle.   

You really have to think outside of the box on this deal.  If the set came out in '77, the program has ceased production.  So it's 77 on backwards.

I do find it rather interesting that at least in the picture there is no trolley, Daniel's clock, mound, rockit factory, or effiel tower.  Maybe you had to purchase those elsewhere.

Mike
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 28, 2011, 09:15:19 AM
First X the Owl, and now Queen Sara...

http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/merch/toys/nom_playset77/index.html (http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/merch/toys/nom_playset77/index.html)
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: OperaLover on June 28, 2011, 10:29:38 AM
Tim,
I would have told you I had her long ago, had I known she was on your missing list.
Since all figures from this wonderful playset have surfaced, my guess is that it was produced but on a very limited scale.
It looks like such a great toy, with tons of good play value for kids.
What a lucky couple of kids that got to be a part of this advertisement.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 28, 2011, 10:51:11 AM
But the big question, which has been asked before, is what about the rest of the set?

The figures have surfaced -- a few of which I have seen multiple times -- however, I have yet to see any of the other "accessories" or the Neighborhood playset structure itself.

That, to me, is the mystery....
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: OperaLover on June 28, 2011, 11:28:10 AM
Yes, it is a huge mystery, indeed. The set looks so complete and well-thought.
But then again, that is Fred. He didn't do anything halfway. If it wasn't actually produced and distributed, the advertisement photo would have to be a prototype but it looks manufactured to me, and beyond the prototype stage.
Has anyone contacted IDEAL or even David at FCI about the whereabouts of this playset?
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on June 28, 2011, 11:51:58 AM
Ideal is no longer a company as it was sold to various companies throughout the 80s and 90s until fading away completely. In talking with the folks at the Fred Rogers Company, they were not positive but seemed to recall this was halted before it reached mass production.

Still...why are the figures out there and the rest of this set is seemingly non-existent?
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on June 28, 2011, 01:23:35 PM
I wonder if they could have been sold separately, or as a 5-pack? Maybe they had already made the figures, halted production on the rest of the playset for whatever reason, and just decided to make the best of it and sell the figures alone?
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: OperaLover on June 28, 2011, 01:42:05 PM
Maybe Mrs. Rogers knows??
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Dais79 on July 04, 2011, 09:39:56 PM
This is totally intriguing!!!  A true mystery!!  Some figures also came with the trolley that was sold at one point in the 70's, right? . . .We have the plastic trolley that plays music, but no figures.
So, a totally nerdy idea. . .we just need a neighbor who is skilled in autoCAD to mock this up, then print it on a 3-D printer- BAM!!!  Instant playset.  :)  I still dream of seeing this at a flea market.  Has anyone ever posted on Freecycle looking for Mister Rogers play items?
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on July 04, 2011, 11:29:12 PM
Right, Daniel and Lady Elaine came with the trolley. And the text on the trolley box specifies which two characters are inside, pretty much eliminating the chance that some trolleys were sold with different figures, which would help explain why the other characters turn up, yet no playset.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on August 01, 2011, 07:31:03 AM
I think we're getting closer to figuring this thing out...thanks to a recent eBay listing.

The listing includes the Musical Trolley with its original box along with two figures -- Henrietta Pussycat and King Friday. According to the seller:

I am the original owner as this was bought for me when I was a child in 1977. I remember this was bought at a auto parts store back when some chains sold toys.....The package shows that a Daniel Tiger and a Lady Elaine figure is included. Mine did not come with those two even though they were pictured on the package. Mine came with King Friday and Henrietta the cat. I believe these were meant for a unreleased Land of Make Believe playset and were packed as replacements for whatever reason.

Interesting. Sounds like we've found our answer as to how these Playset figures found their way into the market.

Here's the auction listing if you're interested:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320736970108&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_1361 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320736970108&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_1361)
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: OperaLover on August 01, 2011, 08:47:20 AM
Tim, I think this is the most revealing information ever disclosed.
Though the box states certain figures would be included, there were substitutions.
I am starting to believe that the only NOMB set that was ever produced, was in fact a prototype that we have seen only in photographs.
It must have ended up with someone!
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Dais79 on August 01, 2011, 08:55:59 AM
Tim, that is definitely good information!!!  I wonder how the seller knew that about the figures being substituted from another set?  Like, did he open the box in 1977 and say, "Hey, these are the wrong figures!!!" and his mom called Ideal and asked about it???  So intriguing!  I love a good mystery :) 
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: galenfott on August 17, 2011, 10:33:44 PM
Frankly, I suspect the eBay trolley seller found this very thread and read it! I earlier brought up the idea of substituting the characters in the trolley, although I figured that couldn't happen because they were named on the box. Clearly I was wrong!

At the very least, they HAVE to have seen some of Tim's postings about the playset somewhere on the Internet.
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Degeneration X The Owl on August 18, 2011, 11:35:20 AM
Anyone here put a bid on the trolley yet?
Title: closed Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: NeighborLaura on August 23, 2011, 01:31:35 PM
closed
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on August 23, 2011, 05:25:48 PM
Thanks for the images, Laura. It's nice to add a shot of the Henrietta figure that actually has a face (unlike the figure I have). Here are two of the images that Laura shared with me that I added to the Archive site.

(http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/merch/toys/nom_playset77/fgr_hp3.JPG) (http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/merch/toys/nom_playset77/fgr_hp4.JPG)
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: OperaLover on September 02, 2011, 04:28:47 PM
Laura, that is such a cute Henrietta.
I wish that I had a double to offer as a trade, but I certainly would love to purchase her if you are up to that.
I wonder if I have something else you'd take as trade if you are not looking to sell her outright.
I will check to see what I have in doubles if anything at all.
And my email is Xenakiddle@yahoo.com
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: NeighborLaura on September 03, 2011, 01:38:59 PM
OperaLover,
   Thank you sooo much for checking if you have any doubles of the figures. Talk to you soon!
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: OperaLover on September 12, 2011, 03:29:57 PM
Neighbor Laura,
I've only just now found your email dated on the 8th! I am so sorry! If not for me wondering about the Henrietta, I never would have found it! I remembered your name and did a quick email search to write you to ask about the toy only to be surprised to read the actual email instead.
I will gladly resend you the payment including any fees Paypal may have charged you.
I hope you find my emails soon because I feel really bad that the transaction was chargedback.
I never even received a Paypal notice they had done that!
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Mr. Tibbs on October 01, 2011, 10:08:32 PM
Hi all,
I signed up recently because I accidentally stumbled on something which might be of interest in regards to this playset.  I was researching some toy patents on Google Patents, and found the patent for the Neighborhood of Make-Believe playset.  Even though it doesn't specify it by name (it just says Amusement Set), I recognized the structures and thought some fans might want to see it.  Here's the link:

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=-xovAAAAEBAJ&dq=marvin+glass+environment+toy (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=-xovAAAAEBAJ&dq=marvin+glass+environment+toy)

Needless to say that if you were wondering what actions the playset had, or what the back of the playset looked like the drawings in the patent should give you a hint (just a hint though as these are line drawings, and not actual photographs).

Hope this jogs some memories for previous owners of the toy.

Mr. Tibbs
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: Neighborhood Archive on October 02, 2011, 01:06:28 PM
Mr. Tibbs --- This is great! Thank you for taking the time to share it...
Title: Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
Post by: pastorscott on October 02, 2011, 02:29:56 PM
Perhaps we could track down the inventors or other names listed, and if they are still alive, we could figure out the story on this toy set!