Nutty Mads are popular monochromatic, injection-molded polymer plastic toy figures originally manufactured in 1963-1964 by the Marx Toy Company. Comically grotesque and minutely detailed, the series was likely inspired by the stylized Kustom Kulture graphics of Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth (whose bizarre Rat Fink character was being licensed by Revell for hot rod model kits at the time), and the vividly outlandish comic art of popular magazine cartoonists Basil Wolverton and Don Martin. The figures were reportedly based on original designs created by veteran Mad Magazine artist Jack Davis.
Marx started churning out plastic 6-inch figures in 1963-64. Many of the figures were similar to their more popular 2-inch cousins, more of a plastic figurine than an action figure. The plastic figures generally stood on a flat base and were in a fixed pose.
Amongst the Vikings, Astronauts, Soldiers, Cowboys and Indians that Marx released in the early '60s were Nutty Mads. They were maniacle creatures in exaggerated poses, similar to Mad Magazine's Don Martin's work. Donald the Demon is freak mixture of man and duck, standing on a minature hot rod with one foot while giving the thumbs-down sign to other folks on the road. Waldo the Weightlifter strains bug-eyed over a small barbell. Chief Lost Teepee sits cross-eyed on an undersized donkey. Mudder has a screaming baby stuffed backwards over her hip while she holds a frying pan.
Like many of the popular Marx six-inch figures, Nutty Mads were reissued in the 1970s using the original Marx molds by PlastiMarx, Mexico, after Marx was sold to Quaker Oats. I have also heard of an all white series that was released in the late '70s.
In the 1980s and '90s, recastings from the original Marx molds began to appear from PlastiMarx out of Mexico. These are usually (but not always) a cream color, do not carry the Marx copyright on the bottom, and are worth considerably less than the originals.
Nutty Mads were released in nearly as many different colors as their are figures. The color of the figures impacts the price nearly as much as condition. The blue, maroon and bright red figures are especially popular. You can find common figures in good shape for $10-$15. The harder to find figures in rare colors can bring over $100.
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