Op-Yop Retro Toy Sales Spanned Two Decades

The Op-Yop Fad Lasted For Years.  Our 1960’s toy the Op-Yop may be a 1970’s toy craze too. The Op-Yop stayed in the stores a lot longer than we originally thought.  We recently received a letter from a young lady who told us that she worked on assembling op-yops in the early 1970’s.  She remembers 1972 and 1973 but was not sure if it continued into 1974.  She was a teenager at the time and her mother worked at the factory that molded the plastic pieces.  Her mother would bring home all the necessary components and after school this young lady and her friends would gather together and hand assemble the op-yops.  Our records told us that the molds were made in 1965.  A Time Magazine article told us they sold over a million toys in 1968.  That article also says that they are on track for another million by Christmas of 1968.  After 1968 we lose track.   We have some of the original paperwork from the advertising agency that scheduled television time and it shows the ads were on every station that carried the Soupy Sales Show. Unfortunately this is the area of the toy’s history that get’s confusing.  We thought the Soupy Sales Show from Detroit was much earlier in the 1960’s than when the commercials were made.  A lot of our genealogy about the toy is based on dates from the paperwork we received with the original molds.  One person who recently bought several for his grand kids, said his father worked at WXYZ-TV in Detroit as a floor director.  One day in the early 1970’s he went to work with his Dad and got to watch Soupy Sales make commercials for the Op-Yop.  (The young man walked away with a couple of toys with Soupy’s signature on them, which he still has today).  The commercials were then shown on stations all over the country, with a heavy concentration on New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and of course Detroit.  Based on this persons time line, the toy was sold well into the 1970’s. We thought it peaked in 1968 and died off by 1970.  Maybe our assumptions are wrong as to the time frame.  It is probable, that because the toy was made in the greater Detroit area, Soupy came to town to make commercials even though his show was based elsewhere.  It is also possible that because Soupy was such a big name in Detroit and that he regularly did a night club act there, making a commercial in Detroit at his former studio home, just made sense.

If you have any op-yop history to share you are invited to leave your comments below.

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