Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mattel's Blaze Horse

It's been the month for finding horsies: first two antique wooden rocking horses, then the fab 1950s Harry the Hairless Horse ride-on, and now this: Blaze, the talking, galloping horse made by Mattel in the early 1960s. 


At first glance, Blaze looks like just another variety of the ubiquitous spring horse (the kind most of us children of the 70's remember for their tendency to flip over during exuberant riding and pinch our fingers in their springs), but he's got a few features that take him to a whole new pedigreed level.
First off: no springs! Blaze is mounted instead on an "untippable", according to Mattel, tubular steel frame. Secondly, as you ride Blaze up and down, his legs move independently in a quite realistic horsey gallop. As if this wasn't enough, Blaze also talked, courtesy of Mattel's patented pull-string technology. He said several phrases, including "How about some hay?" He also whinnied and neighed.
Naturally, the price for all this innovation was steep: $48 (that's a lot for a kid's toy now, let alone back in 1961!). Consequently, no one I knew as a child had Blaze, and I'd never seen one in the horseflesh until last week, when I found this one.

Mine no longer talks, as is typical of most Blazes found today, but he gallops great. We haven't tested the "untippable" claim, but if I crash, I'll let you know. I've installed my Blaze next to my dining room table. Guests can now pull up a chair, or a horse, as they prefer.

Blaze was heavily marketed on TV, and his original ad is now considered a classic. Click the link below to watch it, courtesy of  TV Days: it's fantastic:

And here's a print ad for Blaze, in which he apparently helps capture an evil fire hydrant:

42 comments:

  1. Tracy, Your very lucky to of found your Blaze. I was actually a kid who had one. He was My absolute best friend. I have been looking for one for years. Enjoy!

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    1. We have one for 250 you can contact me at 317-414-5282 thank you my name is jason.It also talks.

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  2. As I write this comment, my beloved Blaze is right here with me in our extra bedroom. He looks brand new but his voice string broke when I was a kid and it disappeared into the hole. I have had him now for 47 years. He somehow survived as my mom threw out virtually all of my toys as the years went by. I refer to him as the only horse I'll ever have. And Tracy, I agree, he's rather decorative!

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  3. Hi Anon, thanks for sharing your story: I love hearing about other people's toys! You're so lucky to still have your childhood Blaze!

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  4. Oh my gosh. My dad bought a Blaze for his grandson back in the early 60's. It was stored safely and I got it for my daughter in 1975. We in turned stored it in an unused sauna in our home and just yesterday took it out to let our grandchildren play with him. He is in great condition reins in tact, hand and foot grips in tact. paint without chips and he still talks when you pull the string. My nephew loved him in the sixties, my daughter in the seventies and hopefully when myh grandkids meet him tomorrow they too will love him. He is a beautiful toy...and I see that others remember him as well. Thanks for sharing your memories here online. LORI

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  5. my year old son received the same exact one last night from my uncle... on the side it says blaze 1961 mattel... there was a stain on it that he triedd to get off with some stuff called goop gone i think thats what its called.. my son loves it... i know its antique but is there any value to it

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  6. Hi,

    Mattel's Blaze usually sells between $100-300 right now, depending on the condition. The higher price would be for a mint in box example. Enjoy yours: it's a great toy!

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  7. Well, I sheepishly admit, I paid almost $500 to ship my Blaze from my mother's attic in Fort Worth, to Portland, Oregon so he could be with me in my middle age. I have hidden him from my two year old daughter who will have to have another pony for her first rocking horse.

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  8. Oh, don't be sheepish: we Blaze fanatics totally understand! Enjoy your horsie! :0)

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  9. Wow, I totally remember Blaze! My cousins had him and he was kept in their bedroom. They loved him and rode him every day well into their school age years too! I want to buy one for my grandson who is a year old now. Next Christmas might be the perfect time. However, I think I'll go for the newer improved model by Radio Flyer. There are covers over the springs so you can't get your hair caught or your fingers pinched. Even back in the 60's I don't ever remember Blaze tipping over and my cousins rode him like a house on fire!

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  10. I had Blaze when I was little. I didn't weigh enough to make him rock for years, so I wold sit on up on his head (where the posts stick out) and hold onto his ears to make him rock. Mine was passed down through the family. I would love to find one for my daughter (who is 5) He was my favorite!
    PEte
    acousticelticore@gmail.com

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  11. Those are great stories, thanks! Hope you find a Blaze of your own soon!

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  12. I've had my Blaze since December 1961 (I was 11 months old). My younger siblings loved him, some cousin's and friend's kids, and I still have him. Could never part with him!

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  13. The neighbor down the street just gave my daughter an old Blaze. She loves it. I thought Id see if it was worth anything because it was so old. I guess the fun/making memories value outways the monitary value.She told me to get on it today so I gave it a gallop, and I have to admit, it was fun!

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  14. I just bought blaze at an auction last week for $8. I had no idea that they are worth much more. I also didn't know it had a string for voice. Where is it located? I will have to see if that part still works. It's in great condition! No missing or broken parts & has the original stand too. Plan on selling it at a vintage toy show.

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  15. Congrats: that's quite a deal! The pull string was located on Blaze's left shoulder, just in front of his saddle.

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  16. I just discussed giving my Blaze to my son and his new wife for their merged family; I actually started crying at the thought. I got him for Christmas when I was 5, and I just turned 55, so he's been with me 50 yrs. My son used to stand on his back and rock wildly when he was 2, so I can attest to the no tipping stand; it never once went over. It seems a shame to let Blaze sit in the empty back room when my son has 2 horse-crazy children to play with him. So why am I crying ??...lol.

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  17. Well, you could always keep him, and have the grandchildren come over to play with him: best of both worlds! :)

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  18. Thanks for the memories- I have a pic standing on the horse as 2-3 yr old horsecrazy girl. I didn't remember the name & all details...though I did remember the whinnying. Great toy!

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  19. I still have mine that I got for Christmas when I was four. He voice is broken but everything else is intact. Someone would have to offer me some ungodly amount of money to pry him away from me. My parents had to put him on lay-away and make payments to afford him, but apparently I had a complete meltdown in the store over him.

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  20. The voice in my Blaze does not work. I pull the string, the string recooils, but no voice. Is there a way of accessing the voice box so it can be repaired and replaced?

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  21. We found our beloved Blaze at a garage sale for $10. He is in amazing condition, no scratches or anything! We found the pull cord for it and instead of saying anything it kind of just roars with a faint horse whinny underneath the roar. My two year old daughter LOVES the this horse and un no time at all she has mastered it (but we have real horses and she has her own miniature pony she can ride so she had some previous skills)
    She also loves that she has the only rocking horsey in the world that roars like a dinosaur :)

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  22. Wow: that was quite the garage sale find! Good job!

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  23. I just purchased one of these on Ebay BUT we are having trouble disassembling the horse for packing (and, as/is they said it would be over $200 due to the width to ship it!) Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to break it down for shipping (this model has a rivet rather than a bolt holding the stand so it might have to be drilled out and replaced with a bolt for reassembly?) Any tips for shipping safely and inexpensively? it appears that others have shipped this for around $45...

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  24. You could try contacting Joyce at timewarptoys.com...I think she sold one recently. Other than that, I have no ideas, sorry!

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  25. I, too, still love my Blaze that I received December 1961. He has given rides to children as recently as yesterday. His voice string broke in the late 60's, but everything else works. The reins split, but still have them. Wouldn't sell it for any money. Can't wait for my own grandchildren to be born and enjoy this remarkable toy.

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  26. I still have my Blaze! My dad managed an Otasco store and got toys at cost. Blaze has been with me for 43 years now. He doesn't talk and his belly is full of quarters, because I loved sticking money in the slits where his voice output is. He's been through me, my nieces and nephew, both of my sons and now my grandson is enjoying him. I'll never get rid of him. :)

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    1. What a great toy story: thanks for sharing! And how wonderful that your Blaze is still entertaining family today.

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  27. Been searching for a blaze for my 3 girls ever since I first saw him. It was love at first sight but all the ones I have found cost way more than I could ever afford :( plus they were all local pick up in other states. Finally found one an hr away from me and the old woman wanted $50 For him. The only down side is when she was moving from Ohio to Tn he got one if his back legs broken off. Even though he is missing his leg he is still the most beautiful toy in the world to me. ( next to my old tiger) just knowing that my girls will have years and years of fun with is enough for me. So what if he is a tripod. He is still one of the coolest toys ever and I hope he stays in the family for generations

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    1. That's a great story! Enjoy your Blaze!

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  28. My Blaze also has a broken leg. And his pull string was broken by my cousin the first week I had him (or so my childhood memory recalls). He also no long has his reins. My favorite childhood memory is feeding him pretzels through the mouth holes for the reins, and giving him drinks from a hose (he lived on the back porch). He still lives with me. I'm surprised he doesn't have a higher antique value. I was looking to sell mine, but after reading everyone's stories, perhaps I should save him for future grandchildren.

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    1. Does anyone know where I could possibly find a broken blaze? I would like to fix mine. His back left leg was completely broken off and his right ear is broken. Was wondering if I could find an old spring horse who's legs were the same and cut it to work about the same. My girls keep trying to go after that open spot where his leg should be

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  29. we bought blaze for my daughter 48 years ago and he sits/stands in the back bed room the string broke and he broke a front leg that i repaired then put a wrap around to help keep the break protected but he still bounces/rocks and maybe he will be passed on to my grandson's new son. when we bought blaze he only cost $33. curious has anyone ever seen the blaze that had a sulky attached and was on wheels you moved it by peddling as you sat in the sulky, only saw it once at a Firestone store in Pensacola and it cost $124

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  30. I inherited Blaze from my father and I have passed it down to my son. He's seen a lot of action, chipped off part of his ear, is a bit faded, the pull string broke off long before I was born and his reins broke off on one side but I wouldn't dare part with him. My son loves feeding him grass and leaves. Is there any way of getting to the voice box for repair? I know my father would like to try to hear it again.

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    1. I'm sorry: I don't know of any way to get to the voice box. Anyone else have an idea?

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  31. Hi! I found a spring horse similar to Blaze at a thrift store. The markings are similar, black and white, but it's not the same horse. It seems to be a primitive, older than Blaze. It has the same type of spring rocking mechanism, a cross pattern rather than the four corner springs. The horse is made of a rubbery type plastic. You can bend the legs slightly, they aren't rigid. I have been searching the internet for several months and still can't find anything like him. I know he's really special! Have you ever heard of anything like this?

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    1. Hi! Your spring horse sounds like a fascinating find, but I'm sorry: I've never heard of anything like him before.

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  32. I actually have Blaze since I was a child and the voice box still works great, all the sayings, very clear. I have not found one yet that still works.

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  33. My sister and I had one of these. He was more fun to ride than the one you had to put money into at the 5&10 store.

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  34. I had one as a child in the 60's too. I remember pulling on the string and hearing Blaze whinny and I also remember him saying, in a Mr.Ed type of voice, "How 'bout some hay!"

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  35. I am very interested in finding a Blaze for myself. If anyone has one for sale, please contact me at 580-762-8697 or 580-749-5350. I have seen two of these in my hometown in the 1990's and earlier and one was in a backyard and I knocked on the door and asked if they would sell it and they wouldn't. I left my name & number but never heard from them. The other someone buried it in the front yard flower bed with him above ground and I tried to buy it also. No luck. later the house burned down and I guess he died also. Please help. I want him to look great and work, the voice doesn't have to but would be nice. Email toyladyt@gmail.com

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