Friday, July 17, 2020

Marx Brontosaurus

This 1959 plastic Brontosaurus made by Marx Toys reminds me of the Sinclair dinosaur.  




The Sinclair Dinosaur statue was a staple of gas station road trip stops when I was a kid.  I haven't seen one in a long time, but they do still exist around the country. Stamped on the plastic dinosaurs underside is "Brontosaurus 70' Long".

The Brontosaurus is the Pluto of the dinosaur world.  Or maybe Pluto is the Brontosaurus of the Solar System. In either case, the name has gone in and out of favor among paleontologists.

I won't go into the complete history as it's rather complex, but when initially discovered by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1879, he gave it the name " Brontosaurus excelsus" and designated it a separate genus from the previously (1877) discovered Apatosaurus.  In 1903, it was decided the Brontosaurus was not in fact a separate genus, but a member of the Apatosaurus genus and the Brontosaurus name fell into disfavor with paleontologists, although it remained in the popular vernacular as evidenced by Fred Flintstones' Brontosaurus burgers.  Adding to the difficulty in determining its genus is a Brontosaurus skull has never been discovered.  For display, a skull was sculpted based on a Camarasaurus.  In 2015, new research reversed previous thought and bore out Marsh's original contention that Brontosaurus was a different genus from Apatosaurus, although skeptics in the paleontology community remain.

And now enough with the egghead stuff.  The thing I also like about this piece is it reminds me of Clifford's (Martin Short's) toy dinosaur "Stephan" in the self-titled movie.  Not many people liked this movie and to be honest, most people hated it. Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs down.  But I saw it the day before I was starting my first "real" job, over which I was incredibly stressed.  I saw it in the theater and it was the perfect mindless deterrent I needed.

While Martin Short is noticeably NOT a 10-year-old boy as cast in the movie, I find the dynamic and interaction between  Short and co-star Charles Grodin to be very funny.

8 comments:

  1. Still got my Marx brontosaurus, though the tip of his tail bears my youthful teeth marks.

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    Replies
    1. You took that Brontosaurus burger thing a little too far.

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  2. I had a situation similar to yours - I saw Super Troopers the night before starting a new job (not my first), and it too helped alleviate my anxiety and apprehensions. Alas, I haven't found a goofy comedy that's able to erase the two-year nightmare of toiling in that snake pit.

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  3. brontosaurus forever, apatosaurus never!
    it just doesn't sound the same if fred flintstone orders an apatoburger.

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  4. We have two Sinclair Dinosaurs out on Manitou Ave in front of our Sinclair station.

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    Replies
    1. Cool. We had one nearby until about 15 years ago. I hope to see one on a road trip again at some point.

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  5. did you happen to see this writeup of Clifford over that the AV Club?

    https://film.avclub.com/this-box-office-flop-is-the-only-movie-that-let-martin-1844420243

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't, but now I had. Nice to see it's getting some love in retrospect.

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