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Mike Kraus

MOLD-A-RAMA

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It's a wee bit off topic but:

Recently a friend and I indulged in the joys of mold a rama goodness. This at the Central Florida Zoo. A place with several mold a rama machines. As a nostalgic soul, fair fan, and lover of instant toys made of hot wax: I couldn't pass up purchasing a few small, plastic, animals. It seemed to me with those purchases, and those I've made at the Henry Ford in MI: that the current plastic used in the machines produces a much thinner shell. Something, I've learned, crumbles very easily.

The fair dino's (of which, like many of you, I have a few) seem of thicker stuff and seem more durable.

Is this my imagination? Has the years of dust on my fair dino's somehow accumulated so thick as to make a thicker shell?

Simply wondering as to differences between today's mold a rama models and yesterdays (including those of the fair)

...and, Randy that Vatican mold a rama is extraordinary. Although, like any child, I'd have gravitated to dinosaurs, the catholic school child in me might have thought a tiny vatican pavilion a worthy souvenir. (and it's remarkable my grandmother didn't think in the same way. She, brought home a candle shaped like the Pieta.)

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You're not imagining things Rose. The current owner of the company (now located in Tampa) confirms that several years ago there was a major change in the material formulation. Not only does it result in a different product (with the result somewhat "shinier" than the old formulation even when produced by the same mold), but those with keen noses say it also doesn't smell the same when coming out of the machine "hot". That smell is quite possibly the number one aroma memory for kids who visited the '64-65 NYWF, just as powerful as the Small World tune being the #1 audio memory. That smell is gone forever it would seem.

By the way, last time we crossed paths a few years back, you and your sister were thinking about relocating to Florida if I remember right. You now mentioned Central Florida- are you living down there? I ask because there are rumors of a mid-Florida PTU get-together in the not-too-distant future. Ray has relocated from California to Tampa and there are quite a few other regulars spread across the middle of the state from Sarasota to Orlando. If you're down there, we sure wouldn't want you to be left out!

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You're not imagining things Rose. The current owner of the company (now located in Tampa) confirms that several years ago there was a major change in the material formulation. Not only does it result in a different product (with the result somewhat "shinier" than the old formulation even when produced by the same mold), but those with keen noses say it also doesn't smell the same when coming out of the machine "hot". That smell is quite possibly the number one aroma memory for kids who visited the '64-65 NYWF, just as powerful as the Small World tune being the #1 audio memory. That smell is gone forever it would seem.

By the way, last time we crossed paths a few years back, you and your sister were thinking about relocating to Florida if I remember right. You now mentioned Central Florida- are you living down there? I ask because there are rumors of a mid-Florida PTU get-together in the not-too-distant future. Ray has relocated from California to Tampa and there are quite a few other regulars spread across the middle of the state from Sarasota to Orlando. If you're down there, we sure wouldn't want you to be left out!

Holy Moley!! A Worlds Fair get together that I might actually be able to get to? I'm in!

Yes, my sister and I did, eventually, re locate to Florida. She, after a short stay, decided to move back to MI, but I remain in the land of sunshine and giant rodents. I'd, most certainly, if it is at all possible, be interested in a SIP (maybe a theme P, if anyone is thinking that way) or other such get together.

...and in regard to the mold a rama...it is shinny-er. It's also incredibly brittle. After posting, here, last night; I saw a reference that Marc made to his Henry Ford mold a rama plunder. His waxy goodness crumbling over a season. I wouldn't blame the cold for that...it's as if the toys molecularity is that of a stack of cards in a strong breeze. The mold a rama toys are, now, doomed to fall apart at any second.

There is some smell...but not that heavy scent that is reminiscent of melted crayon. I had actually sniffed the toys...a foolish thing, one that I truly had to explain to my companion...but the scent, was, a part of it all. After putting in the quarters; I anticipated one scent of childhood. It, isn't, there, anymore.

Mold a ramas are still wonderfully nostalgic looking. They evoke a nostalgic feeling from me. I'll always put in a few quarters and be happy with the result...but like so many things, the experience with them has changed.

Thank you so much for responding!

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Like the "sizzle" sold steak, the smell sold moldarama dinos.

My mother's nursing home activities with aromatherapies codified my own experience, and I know I'm not alone, with memory explosions triggered by the whiff of an old baseball glove, chlorinated pool water or mimeograph paper.

To add insult to injury I bet the change came about by some earnest technician's attempts to "improve" the product by getting rid of that pervasive smell lest they be sued by imagined "toxic -shock syndrome" victims inhaling the plastic second-hand.

I don't know how popular these machines are today, but I would wager that without the aroma, they will not implant the kind of life-long memories we are familiar with, and that the change in formula will share a place in the Hall of Shame with New Coke's.

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Went to Miami Metrozoo for the first time yesterday and found a blast from the past.

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A few years ago the current owner of the manufacturer (in Tampa) told me that the current formulation produces better molds with less bubbles, cracks and misforms, but doesn't give quite the same smell.

Once it's molded, the surface of the material is now somewhat shiner than the old formulation produced.

He said since new operating molds are still being made from time to time of the (Sinclair) dinosaurs from the World's Fair, from the same original master mold, you can easily tell a recent one from a 60's one because of the shine. [of course recent ones also don't say World's Fair on the side, and those words are often replaced by the name of the current location where the machine is located, such as a museum.)

It's too bad about the smell being eliminated as a side effect of the reformulation. Some of us would put the coins in the machine just to experience the smell again.

Guess we'll have to be satisfied with an occasional close-to-original-formula Belgian Waffle smell. :)

It's funny- I remember quite a few things about the one day in 1964 at the World's Fair, but that molderama smell is one of the strongest memories. Maybe smell memories occupy a portion of the brain that is very strongly wired, at least for some of us.

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This is odd, but Replication Devices' current 'stock mold' list still includes the dinosaurs- as we knew- but also includes the Unisphere!

http://www.replicationdevices.com/stock_molds.html

Have any of you ever seen a Unisphere machine (or even a molded Unisphere that came from one of the machines) in anywhere except the original '64-65 Fair location next to the Billy Graham Pavilion?

I'll bet they still have the master mold, so they list it as 'available', but nobody is interested in buying a machine to produce any.

You'd think it would be a great thing for kids in the QMA, where the actual big Unisphere is just a few feet away.

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Oh the lure of the Mold-A-Rama. Here is my modest collection. My favorite is the green Dino pulled from behind my Aunt May's sink in Jersey City some 40 years after it was lost.

Henry Ford, the Mustang and Weinermobile I made at the HF Museum in Detroit and the Rouge Factory Tour. The Mustang creation was the hardest.

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Did you buy one just for the smell-o-rama experience?

WOW! It did not even occur to me to actually buy one! I could have watched the molds move and introduced the 3 yr old with me to the machine! Must have been his beautiful mother distracting me. That is the beautiful woman who by the way has not returned my calls and email since that day after I got along so well with her son.

Go ahead. Laugh. Someone should enjoy my misfortune. Schadenfreude, you know.

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Spotted today a Mold a Rama at Bass Pro Shops Ft Lauderdale. I don't think it was there last summer. The product is a blue colored marlin. The machine looked new. I got in close, detected no smell at all.

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It's a different wax formulation that no longer produces the aroma that is so vivid in our memory from 1964 and 1965, according to our contact at company headquarters in Tampa, FL. But it does produce better formed figures (consistently) with better releases from the mold and less bubbles.

Say... Ray that's now in your territory. You'll have to pay them a visit one of these days and send us a report. See if they can show you any of the original master molds from the World's Fair in 1964.

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I remember the molding machine at Dino land and Lincoln land to be cylindrical in shape, about six feet tall with a diameter around three feet. The one shown looks more like a jute box, what memories do the rest of the members have?

In Dinoland, I too remember it being cylindrical in shape and six foot high (or so). I believe it was .25 cents and I received - still warm to the touch - a green Brontosaurus. I do not recall a "jute box" style molding machine - at least not in Dinoland. Who has a time machine?

Bruce

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Molderama update:

spent the date at Gatorland in Orlando.

There are two Molderama machines- they say Molderama in big letters, and they are classic 1960's versions with the window on the left. One was producing molds that were a bit deformed (full of bubble holes), so we skipped that one and instead got a nice alligator out of the other one. $2.00 was the price. The new shiny formula was used.

Both machines had been repainted many times, so no telling their vintage (could be World's Fair !)

Both of them had stickers on them that say they came from our friends at Replication Devices in Tampa.

I took pictures of both these machines and will post them later. They are both painted green, and I could easily envision them encarnated as Sinclair machines.

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Just had a meeting at Bad Robot, the entertainment company founded by ├╝ber-talented writer/director J.J. Abrams (FELICITY, ALIAS, LOST, The MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies, the latest STAR TREK film, etc.) And guess what he has sitting in the lobby of his office?

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