Christ, am I really almost 30?
December 12, 2005 8:09 AM   Subscribe

What the heck was this random thing Filter: In the early 80's there was a popular children's toy called the Fisher Price Magic Show. (Here's a picture.) The kit included a magician's wand with a silk flower that would pop out of one end...

It also included a plastic chicken cup where a child could appear to change a red foam ball into an egg, some other little toys, and - most importantly - a plastic crate/trunk apparatus for performing magic tricks. Can someone please explain to me what this crate was and how it worked...

I remember, and it is verified in the picture, the crate had several doors on the front (red, blue, yellow, and black in the center?) I think it also had a seperate box that slid into the side of the crate. I think the crate could move the little red foam ball and make it disappear? Is that right? Does anyone remember exactly how this toy worked?

I know it was a pretty popular toy at the time. While I didn't have the set, I remember a number of my friends did. My husband (same age) remembers some of his friends having it too. Anyone? This thing appears to be unGoogleable.
posted by peppermint22 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total)
I did have it, and you're right--one of the sliding doors on it had some sort of fake bottom that would make the foam ball disappear, as best I can recall.
posted by availablelight at 8:13 AM on December 12, 2005

Response by poster: More info:

This website says the Fisher Price model number was #999 and describes the trunk as:

Black plastic magic box that has sliding panels, false doors, secret compartments, and an area to store all of the accessories.

I would just like to know exactly what tricks the crate did, and how. Yes, I realize this is a totally random question.
posted by peppermint22 at 8:14 AM on December 12, 2005

I'll stop by my parents' later today and have a look around - they saved a lot of that stuff for the inevitable grandkids (plus, besides LEGOs, it was one of my favorite toys EVAR). i'll see if i can figure it out.
posted by notsnot at 8:16 AM on December 12, 2005

Quick Google brings up things that don't directly answer your question but may bring you closer on your path towards confirmation: Fisher Price Magic Show Ad auction, and an auction for the real deal, at least from Australia. (The kit on eBay is apparently incomplete, though.)

More information, and much closer to an answer to your question exists here.

Naturally, you could just buy the Australian one and see how it works for yourself, if you happened to be that curious...
posted by disillusioned at 8:17 AM on December 12, 2005

The site peppermint22 linked to is by far the best FP collectors site on the web, and the folks behind the website also wrote great book on FP toys. I'm betting they have one in their collection. I wonder if you email them (, right on their front page) if they could get you the info and perhaps even send you a scan of the directions that came with the set.
posted by anastasiav at 8:19 AM on December 12, 2005

My middle link is the one you just posted, so it won't be of much help to you. And it looks like a US auction for it just ended. Shame, really.
posted by disillusioned at 8:20 AM on December 12, 2005

The little yellow box had holes on each end. The big black box had a plastic spike that would insert into the holes. Inside the yellow box were actually two compartments that were moved by the spike - you would only see one compartment at a time through the top of the yellow box.

The big black box did some other tricks too, but I don't remember them as well. I think maybe you could magically move things between the three multicolored doors?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:33 AM on December 12, 2005

On looking at the picture, there was also a black door that opened on the crate. This was for disappearing things, It was basically two doors arranged so it looked like just one. You opened both, put the ball in, closed it, then opened just one and the ball was disappeared.

I also seem to remember that you could make balls fall from one of the top three doors into the yellow box on the bottom.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:35 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: My younger brother had this. Here's a run down on the tricks...

The three doors at the top were used to make the red foam balls 'teleport' using thumb operated sliders hidden from view. The sliders controlled the position of two boxes which could move back and forth behind the doors. You could put something in the blue door and shift it to the red or the yellow using the thumb sliders. You could also 'squish' the red balls between the sliding walls making it appear to totally vanish.

The middle door with the rainbow was used to make things dissapear. The door had a fake bottom/back that when closed could be held inside the box making the object seem to vanish. The fake bottom was an 'L' shaped bit of plastic which would rotate backwards to make the underside of the bottom appear the same as the back.

The yellow drawer on the side had a secret compartment inside that would slide to one of three positions, left, middle and center. You would preload the drawer with say two balls and then turn the chicken into the two balls by pushing the drawer into the box, which would shift the secret compartment into view, revealing the two balls when pulled out. Then you could push the drawer in again and again move the compartment to reveal the drawer empty.

The wand had a hidden flower. The scarve changed colors using an inside out scarve for half and finally, the chicken, well I can't remember what the chicken did.

Hope that helps.
posted by DragonBoy at 8:36 AM on December 12, 2005

yes i had this as well! unfortunately I think mine was a hand-me-down so I probably didn't have everything. But what TheOnlyCoolTim said reminded me, I do remember being able to move things between the 3 multicolored doors.
posted by freudianslipper at 8:38 AM on December 12, 2005

Damn, I also just turned 30 and had totally forgotten about this thing I had. I recall it functioning like DragonBoy described. Thanks for the memory!
posted by teddymac at 8:40 AM on December 12, 2005

Oh, and there's an auction for an ad for one on ebay. It contains a description, but it's a little hard to read. Check it out.
posted by teddymac at 8:43 AM on December 12, 2005

"...the chicken, well I can't remember what the chicken did."

There were three parts to the chicken. The top was the chicken. The middle had the top half of an egg, and the bottom was the stand. The trick was to make the chicken lay an egg. It started by displaying the bottom piece empty with no egg. In your had, you had the chicken and the egg, as they were stackable. You put the chicken on the stand, wave the magic wand, and presto! The chicken laid an egg, because you lifted the top off and left the egg behind.

I loved this crate. I still think it's in my parent's basement.
posted by RobbyB at 8:48 AM on December 12, 2005

The chicken sat on the empty egg cup and laid an egg. The egg was actually just a thin disk with a diameter to match the egg cup, topped with a white plastic dome that fit up inside the chicken (hot!) and when you removed the chicken from the previously empty egg cup you'd leave the "egg" behind.

posted by crabintheocean at 8:51 AM on December 12, 2005

Oh man... I totally had one of those too. I specifically remember chewing on the flower from the wand a lot (the soggy material memory is extremely vivid, weird). THIS is why I love AskMe, so many random things that are completely useless, but interesting.
posted by antifuse at 8:55 AM on December 12, 2005

Man, the late-70's/early-80's loved some freakin' rainbows.
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:57 AM on December 12, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks DragonBoy - that is exactly what I was looking for.
(I love the internet!)
posted by peppermint22 at 9:04 AM on December 12, 2005

Oh wow, antifuse, same here. And even more intensely, the horrid odor that the flower got after being put away wet. Like nasty feet. Yuck! But still this kit is a favorite memory.
posted by CaptApollo at 10:37 AM on December 12, 2005

The main thing I remember is the satisfying sound & feel of sliding the wand open & shut. The feel of the flower's fabric compressing into the plastic cylinder with a little "shunk" was strangely tactilely satisfying. (For some reason, it reminds me of the satisfying click of the battery door on a TiVo remote. For some people [myself included], it's almost impossible not to slide that battery door back and forth with your thumb until the tiny plastic catch snaps.)

Actually, now that I think about it, this getting a little too weirdly Freudian.
posted by designbot at 10:53 AM on December 12, 2005

I had one of these! Like designbot, I remember many happy hours spent idly sending the flower into and out of the wand. shoop... fip... shoop... fip... I hadn't thought about it in years, but it's all coming back now. Up to, and including, the chicken. The squishy red balls smelled weird, too.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:34 AM on December 12, 2005

Had one too. The simplest trick you could do was to make one ball into two, since they were easy to conceal in the palm of your hand.
posted by evilcolonel at 2:25 PM on December 12, 2005

I'm auctioning a set on ebay now if you know anyone who's interested:



posted by jdcb42 at 6:37 AM on January 7, 2006

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