Mini-Toons

Page Eight of Ten Pages


Topps & Scanlens Magic Rub-Offs (PR195)

There once was a triangle of confectionery manufacturers: Topps in the US, A&BC in the UK, & Scanlens in Australia. Very often products created or licensed by Topps would then appear in local colours by the other two, although the traffic was by no means entirely one way. We've already seen that A&BC distributed the second batch of twelve Mini-Toons in 1970, & perhaps inevitably by 1974 Topps was interested in doing something along the same lines.

From the Topps archives, this "Idea" was uncovered, indicating their early thoughts on the topic:

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Since Topps had already used the term "Magic Rub-Offs" in connection with their Baseball Bubble Gum with transfers, it made sense for them to pursue this avenue. So their final product was labelled "Magic Rub-Offs — Make Your Own Mini-Toons! With 1 Stick Bubble Gum". (Obviously it was not usual for Mini-Toons to actually contain confectionery, even though they would normally be sold alongside it in sweet shops & newsagents.)

Funnily enough, we've seen the original artwork for the Bubble Gum wrapper:

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And here's one of the actual wrappers itself (note the "Made in England"):

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Not to mention the display box they came in.

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Naturally, Scanlens followed with an essentially unchanged adaptation. Here's one of their wrappers, & another (front & back) with the gum still in it. CAUTION: experience has shown that by this time the gum will almost certainly have undergone messy changes. Do not attempt to eat it, or expect the transfers to have survived the longterm proximity! (Thanks to Amit Benyovits, eBay Seller "Dr.Tooth", for the originals of these pictures.)

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The Scanlens wrappers don't mention Mini-Toons, but the cards themselves read "with Letraset's Funny Folk".

The twenty titles were taken from the second batch of twenty-four Mini-Toons, i.e., Nos.25 to 48. A couple of the titles were adapted slightly for the international market, but the main difference is that the transfer sheets are considerably smaller, with fewer figures, & the backgrounds are more widescreen, with three folds instead of two, & a smaller overall area.

Here for comparison is Mini-Toons No.26 (upper) along with Magic Rub-Off No.18 (lower) — both entitled "Battle in Armour":

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And Mini-Toons No.46 vs. Magic Rub-Off No.11 (unused — with its PR195/11 transfer sheet), "Crazy Climbers". Thanks to Robert Welk for his scans.

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From Paul Hart, a quick look at No.10 "Up the Pole" (PR195/10):

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And to round off the Magic Rub-Offs section, five more sets sent to us by Tina, who you can find on eBay under the name "rojimac".

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Picture Credit: SPLAT Scan Archives — with thanks to Amit Benyovits, Robert Welk, rojimac, & Paul Hart