Friday, December 21, 2007

Steven Toys - Hermann Mo.

Steven Toys
104 Industrial Dr
Hermann, MO 65041
Phone : (573) 486-5494

Mixed Up Zoo Animals on Flickr

A recent Google search revealed a few Mixed Up Zoo Animals photographed by a collector on Flickr

Check them out - she has a few other kooky toys as well!

Wow - $75.00!

A recent eBay auction for some really rough MUZAs sold for a whopping $75!

The auction started at $19.99 and with an undisclosed reserve. Personally I thought they were crazy and that they'd never even get one bid. Boy was I wrong! Good for them!

MUZA collectors unite!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Complete Set (so far)

About a year or two ago a complete (to my current knowledge) set of Mixed Up Zoo Animals was sold individually on eBay. This auction brought up two points:

1) Contrary to what I was told by the employees at Steven's about a packaged assortment, I also recall purchasing the Rabbagator individually as a child. Each figure in this auction has a tag around it's neck suggesting they too may have been sold individually. No packaged images have yet surfaced.

2) The Kittiorse I have was molded in black plastic, however the one in this auction was molded in grey plastic. The Rabbagator is also apparently a lighter tan than the one I had obtained (and more in line with my memory of what color the figure from my youth was molded in.) This suggests possible multiple color combinations for all or most figures, which could have each been molded in different colored plastics.

NOTE: I did not win these auctions nor are these my animals, the images are borrowed from the (now long ended) auction. However, since the auctions borrowed my info to identify the toys, I think it a fair trade ;) ...and dig that funky wallpaper!

They are (from left to right, top to bottom)

Dachsheer (note the "15 cent" price for the individual figure)
Rabbagator (lighter plastic than the one I own, more in line with the one I remembered.)
Kittiorse (grey plastic, not black like the one I own)

Sunday, October 7, 2007


For years, all I had was a memory.

A small plastic figure, with the head of an alligator and the body of a rabbit. Purchased in Santa Maria California sometime around 1978 and last seen in West Jordan Utah sometime around 1984.

That's all I had. I remembered exactly what it looked like, and had the name "Rabbagator" in my head (but was that the name of the toy? Not sure.) That's it. Oh, and that there were others in the "series," similar mixed up animals. That's really all I knew.

I can't say I really "looked" for the Rabbagator after that, but I did look, at yard sales and antique stores. I looked through thousands of toys (being a toy connoisseur) and never found it or anything like it. For over two decades.

Then came eBay. Again I "looked." I started seeing lots of plastic toys. Piles of the old figures I had buried in the bottom of my toybox for years. Dinosaurs, army men, farm animals. I started to look really closely, seeking the familiar Gator head. Yes, now I was really looking.

I had nothing to go on. Ebay searches for "rabbit bodied gators" didn't get me far. I tried everything I could think of at the time, but still the best solution was to look. "Lot of plastic animals" was my best bet. Look through the pictures of piles of plastic figures.

Finally a breakthrough. An auction for two strange looking plastic with the head of a cat and the body of an alligator and ONE WITH THE HEAD OF AN ALLIGATOR AND THE BODY OF A RABBIT! There he was! But better still, the auction details were the "Rosetta Stone" that made everything fall into place: "figures labeled "Steven Mfg. 1972" - I had the manufacturer information and date! Success!

I didn't win that particular auction (surprisingly it ended at over $20 for only the two plastic figures!) but armed with the information presented, I began the proverbial Google search. Nothing. I contacted toy sites and antique sites. Nothing. Nothing until I contacted Steven Mfg. of Hermann Missouri.

I got through to two friendly ladies (who clearly thought I was crazy); Janet and Debbie.

I discovered that Steven Mfg. was initially producing normal plastic zoo and farm animals when a developer thought kids would love it if they were to offer toys of "mixed-up" animals. They didn't know the complete dates of the series' run, but the figures had been dated 1972. The figures were designed in Missouri but produced in China (Hong Kong to be precise.) They are solid plastic and about 2-3" tall. They were packaged in an assortment and titled "Mixed Up Zoo Animals" with the Item #1753. The ones I had discovered on eBay were indeed called the "Rabbigator" and "Catagator." Janet and Debbie did not know how many different figures were made, but they estimated 12-24.

Armed with this knowledge (and eBay) I have since identified the following figures:

Rabbagator (Rabbit body Alligator head)
Catagator (Cat head Alligator body)
Chickow (Chicken head Cow body)
Dachsheer (Dachshund body Deer head)
Giraphant (Giraffe head Elephant body)
Kangaboar (Kangaroo body Boar head)
Sealag (Seal body Eagle head)
Ostraphant (Ostrich body Elephant head)
Liolope (Lion head Antelope body)
Kittiorse (Kitten body Horse head)

And soon won an auction for a Catagator, Kittiorse, Dachsheer, and yes, my "Rosebud," a Rabbagator.

Portions of this entry have also been published at

It begins...

Grandpa loved the Swap Meet. In truth he loved getting out of the house and being left alone for a while. Sometimes he took me along.

These special times together are the most vivid memories I have of Grandpa. He and I would leisurely peruse the wares at the local Drive-In/Sunday Swap Meet. Me in my orange vest reminiscent of a boater's life preserver and he in his Alpine hat-with-a-feather-on-the-side.

Each trip also meant that Grandpa would be buying me a toy. Of course that toy usually had to "do something", but that wasn't always the case. Apparently Grandpa had mellowed through the years.

I can vividly remember the Pinochio marionette, the Ostrich marionette and the tumbling Jester (akin to a slinky - it somersaulted down an incline). I still own the Jester, boxed away and buried in the garage like so much pirate booty. The marionettes have long since tangled beyond repair and faded into oblivion. But my most precious, my "Rosebud" was none of these. My favorite Swap Meet toy was a simple plastic animal figurine.

Not just any animal figurine mind you. This figurine was unique. It was a "Rabbagator." A mixed-up zoological wonder with the head of an alligator and the body of a rabbit. I was in three year old awe. What an awesome concept! There were many to choose from, the Catagator, the Chickow, the Ostraphant. No thank you, I'll take the Rabbagator please - no need to wrap it.

I loved that freakish creature for years, and still think fondly of my Franken-toy. (I no longer possess my original Rabagator, but thanks to the magic of eBay, I was able to replace him; along with three friends - more on them later.)

But most importantly, I still posess and cherish the memories. They are more precious than anything tangible.