Author Topic: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset  (Read 7630 times)

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Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« on: May 29, 2011, 08:38:36 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.


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...

galenfott

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 09:51:18 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.

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 09:57:20 PM »
That's good to know as all signs are pointing towards this playset never being made to begin with.

galenfott

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 10:03:22 PM »
But...so what are these figures from that you found over here?

http://mattandtimfunny.blogspot.com/2010/08/neighborhood-of-make-believe-playset.html

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 10:10:41 PM »
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.

galenfott

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 10:34:51 PM »
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!

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 05:34:18 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).

earnhardtfan4life

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 05:52:37 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 

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 11:03:49 AM »
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.

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 07:03:23 PM »

galenfott

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2011, 08:41:27 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.

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2011, 02:43:43 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.

galenfott

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2011, 08:25:53 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?

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2011, 08:40:01 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.

galenfott

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Re: Ideal Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2011, 09:17:55 PM »
I did an "enhance" on the photo, enlarging, straightening, sharpening, brightening, etc.:


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