Friday, June 10, 2011

Fisher Price Pop-Up Kritter: Tailspin Tabby

Fisher Price Pop-Up Kritters were a line of inexpensive, novelty type toys introduced in the company's first year, 1931. They were constructed of a series of wooden beads, strung together with heavy line, and mounted on wooden paddles. Metal rings on the underside of the paddle gathered the strings together, and by pulling on the rings, the Kritter could be made to move, rather like a marionette, wiggling, flopping down, and springing up.

This cat Kritter was known as Tailspin Tabby, and was part of the first series. The earliest versions of the Kritters came with poems, and Tabby's read:

"Tailspin Tabby is my name --
Action is my claim to fame.
Who can resist my tail to twist?
To pass me up would be a shame."

The first version of Tabby dates from 1931-1939, and featured a yellow painted face with oilcloth ears (now often missing). It came on a round or long guitar shaped paddle, stamped with the Fisher Price logo. This Tabby stands just under 5 inches to the top of her head.

This later version of Tabby is from 1948-1950, and was much redesigned, with a cuter face, big feet, and more diminutive proportions. Instead of a stamped Fisher Price logo, it has a colorful label.

Their low price (.75-$1.00), pocket-sized portability, and comical movement made the Kritters a huge hit with both children and adults, and they were mainstays of the Fisher Price line for decades. The most popular Pop Up Kritter was Disney's Pluto Pup, but the range included giraffes, storks, donkeys, elephants, geese, a dinosaur, Donald Duck, and a mouse that looked suspiciously like Mickey.


  1. It's so cute!

  2. I have one like your first one only the feet are bigger and mine is dated 1926. Any ideas? Could this have been a prototype before Fisher Price became a company or did this start earlier than 1931? Vicki at

  3. Hi there!

    Check out This Old Toy, the best Fisher Price reference online, and their Tailspin Tabby pages: There are links to the other Tabbys at the bottom of the article.

    It appears the different sized/different colored feet were variations throughout the years the toy was produced.

    They report the toy was in fact patented in 1926, but produced in 1931, the first year the company, founded in 1930, released toys. It's kind of like how with Barbie, even dolls made in the 1970s still had a 1960s patent date on the back.

    Congrats on your cat!

  4. I know of seven variations the Dinosaur Looks kid of like a crane but here are the ones I know
    1.Tailspin Tabby
    2. Loop ear Louie
    3. Pleiosaur ( Spelling probably Wrong)
    4. Donkey
    5. Pluto
    6. Jitterbug ( Looks Like Elephant)
    7. Donald Duck ( Made last)
    I am unaware of others if you do know more could you pass info on I am trying to build this set thanks!

  5. Sorry email me for Pop Up variations at

    1. Hi! I recommend the book, "Fisher Price: A Historical, Rarity, Value Guide" by John Murray and Bruce Fox. It's essentially the bible of Fisher Price collecting, and lists everything ever made, along with production runs and variations.

      As far as the Pop Up Critters go, I think the list is:

      1931: Dizzy Dino, Stoopy Storky, Lofty Lizzie (a giraffe), and Tailspin Tabby
      1934: Lop Ear Looie (Mickey Mouse like)
      1935: Goofy Gertie (stork like)
      1936: Pluto Pop-Up
      1938: Donald Duck
      1939: Tailspin Tabby remodelled, Dizzy Donkey
      1940: Jumbo Jitterbug (elephant)
      1948: Tailspin Tabby remodelled again

      The book lists the number of years each item was produced; some were made for a long time. Also, there were variations to the base. There was a round base and a longer one called the "banjo" shape. There are rarity and price issues associated with these different bases.

      Another good place to find information is the online database,

  6. Thanks Tracy for a nice round-up of Tabby's history. I repair vintage wood toys and you can see my Tabby repair for a Kentucky collector @ my FB page

    I credited your phot, thanks again!

    Kevin McGuire / middlemac