Colección Lucia Contreras

- UNITED STATES -

The United States, always eager to join any cultural movement coming from the Old Continent, also tried to make its own productions, although toy theatres never achieved there the same level of popularity. The first one to be made commercially available was the “Selz’s American Boys Theatre,” published by Scott & Co. of New York, in 1870. It was a reprint of minor works published in England by the magazine Boys of England.

In 1883, Singer, another New York publisher, printed a colour theatre that included European fairy tales and folk tales from American history, such as “Pocahontas” or “The Battle of Bunker Hill.”

Years later, the prestigious publishing house McLoughlin Bros produced good-quality plays and numerous paper cut-out toys. They kept selling their toys until after World War I.

At the same time, the magazine Delineator offered with its issues some very simple stage fronts with two sceneries, as well as other parts and characters designed to be cut out and fitted into a shoe box.

There were other similar productions that were more inspired by Hollywood and its stars than by the theatre. Walt Disney became interested in this type of toy, and his magazines featured several individual plays, including a “Snow White Theatre” designed by the Disney factory, which had the same mounted front design as the English Pollock stages.

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FAIRYLAND THEATRE



This toy can also be seen as a book theater. The form of house curtains and the system allowed the narrator to go removing cartons numbered with the scenery and characters in front and behind the written text. This one presents the story of Little Red Riding Hood.


Editor: unknown
Year: 1900
Provenance: USA.

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AMERICAN THEATRE



This one consists of only a facade with two ribbons on the back for hanging and power represent. It becomes obvious where they came by the eagle and the American flag displayed on the front. The box that contains it is also very interesting because of the delicacy of its stamping and beautiful floral decoration.


Editor: Mc. Loughlin Bros.
Year: 1920
Provenance: New York, USA.

 

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DIXIE’S CIRCUS



Halfway between the diorama and the role of theater, this allows teatrito play with the characters recreating a circus. It was printed as an article advertising to promote a radio program on CBS, "The Circus of Dixie."


Editor: CBS
Year: unknown
Provenance: North Carolina. USA.

 

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MINIATURE THEATRE

 


Despite its name, this is a mid-size theater with orchestra in the pit and the public proscenium. There is a mixture of styles in the decoration of the facade and inside there is decorated in a forest. I have not succeeded characters, or data on date and provenance, though the previous owner placed in the United States, 30 years.


Year: 1930
Provenance: USA.

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PLAYETTE THEATRE

 

A new format-book scenario. This toy was assembled as any American cardboard box. He had several stories to fit into the fund through a simple mechanism and the narrator told the story (here, Three Little Pigs). At the top of the box can be read "look, listen, learn and play."

Editor: Playette Corp.
Year: 1942
Provenance: USA.

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MOVIE THEATRE


Curious cinema-American theater. The box is made of tin and its interior, through a simple wooden roller mechanism was possible to insert and advance a strip of bullets. By turning the rollers the child could tell the story as it appeared the sequence in "screen" of the box. This strip has the adventures of "Betty & Bobby in Africa".


Editor: Louis Mark & Co.
Year: 1932
Provenance: New York, USA.


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PUPPET PARADE


Year: 1943
Provenance: USA.

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All images and texts© 2008 LUCIA CONTRERAS FLORES.