Monday, 3 April 2017

FRED FLINTSTONE'S FABULOUSLY FANTASTIC FRICTION-DRIVE FLIVVER...


My very own FRED FLINTSTONE FLIVVER - snapped in my
back garden half an hour ago.  The box is for the remote-control
version, and is a reproduction I made myself from an original

It always irks me when I can't be more specific about
dates.  Trouble is, I never knew the exact dates of some of
the events from my early life, and have to retroactively work
them out from other factors, like which house I lived in at the
time, whether I'd started school, etc.  So that's why I can say
only that I got my FRED FLINTSTONE's FLIVVER in
1962 or '63.  That's as  close as I can nail it down to.

There were different versions of this toy - a remote-
control version and a friction-drive one.  Most sites show
two different-looking flivvers, but it wasn't quite as simple
as that because, as well as the two different-in-appearance
versions, there was also a friction-drive one which was in-
distinguishable from the remote-control one - except for
not having a remote-control (obviously).  All three
versions were made by MARX TOYS.

Here's the other version of the friction-drive toy.  Who knows,
perhaps a remote-control version of this one was also made?

But don't be fooled.  When I say remote-control, I'm
not talking about a modern, infra-red remote-control, I'm
talking about one that was attached to the flivver by a cord,
in the same way that TV remote-controls once operated.  I
seem to faintly remember my flivver having a remote-con-
trol, and it lay for years in a box in a cupboard long after
the toy itself had been consigned to oblivion.

Trouble is, around the same time I had Fred's car, I
also had a little race track with small magnetic cars, which
was operated via the same kind of remote-control as Fred's
'deluxe' flivver, so I'm not sure if the remote-control which
lay in my cupboard for years belonged to the flivver or the
race track.  It annoys me not being able to recall with ut-
most certainty which toy it accompanied because I'm
therefore unsure which version I actually owned.

Looking at the remote-control in this pic, it doesn't look like the one
I recall, so maybe mine belonged to my race car set.  Hold it - just
seen another one in a book about MARX TOYS, and the remote-
 control is similar to the one I remember - different colour 'though 

However, having spent four paragraphs on the sub-
ject, it's not really important to the point of this post.  I
said earlier that the flivver eventually disappeared, apart
from a few disassembled parts lying in the same box as the
remote-control, but I had the little plastic Fred driver for
at least ten years before getting rid of most of the sur-
viving toys from my childhood in the early '70s.

Little Fred used to accompany me on visits to my
grandparents every Sunday.  After tea, I'd excuse my-
self and take a walk along to my former neighbourhood,
there to gaze upon the two houses in which I (and Fred)
had once lived.  It was a strange sensation to return Fred
to his old environs, but it helped me to reconnect to my
past in a much more tangible way, even 'though it's
difficult to explain in precisely what manner.

And another look at my own toy

Little Fred saw the inside of four houses in his ten or
so years, including the one in which I now reside.  Close
to 20 years ago, I was able to obtain (at immense expense)
a replacement Fred and his flivver, and one glance immedi-
ately returns me to an earlier point in time that I'm loath to
leave.  I once re-created my childhood experience of tour-
ing my former neighbourhood with Fred in tow, although
on that occasion, it was with 'new' Fred, not 'old' Fred.
To me however, they were one and the same.

It's strange to think that I've now had replacement
Fred for nearly twice as long as his predecessor - it just
doesn't seem like it.  In fact, the near-quarter-of-a-century
gap between the two Freds no longer seems to have existed,
and it feels like I've only ever had one Fred, tucked away in a
cupboard for years before being happily rediscovered.  Some
people might think that, as it's not my original Fred, it surely
can't have the same nostalgic or sentimental draw, but trust
me, there's an odd kind of magic that operates on such oc-
casions, and, in my mind, it's the same Fred (and fliv-
ver) that I first got as a kid 54 years ago.

"Wilma, I'm home!"

The remote-control version - with a different remote-
control to the one shown further up the post

4 comments:

Arfon Jones said...

love it!

Kid said...

It's a beauty, AJ.

Arfon Jones said...

No argument here, Id love one myself. I was reminiscing about how 'RC' used to have cords on them back in the day- referring to a Bart Simpson stunt quad I had (just on the cusp on Simpsons mania in 1990-91 when there was a small hand full of licensed items available) many an hour spent playing with that- sigh.....

Kid said...

Never mind, AJ, you can console yourself by looking at the photos of my FFF.

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