These eight drawings, along with one typewritten page of “Story” was all the Presentation consisted of. Yet that was enough for Kiscom to show and sell “Animobiles” to “Schaper”.
“Schaper” was a fairly modest toy company, operating out of Minneapolis Minnesota, They had come into being thanks to a boring game called “Cootie” that their founder introduced in 1950. Now in 1965 they still referred themselves as “The Cootie Company”. After Cootie came “Ants in Your Pants” and a string of other games, all made of plastic. They also branched out into vehicles, manufacturing a popular line of motorized cars called “Stompers”, and eventually they became a leader in the growing field of slot car racing. Animobiles was a big deal to Schaper. It was their first attempt at launching a licensed property.
Before they closed the deal they insisted on conducting a series of focus groups to test the concept. These took place at a testing facility in Riverdale New York, just north of New York City. Andy and I were invited to witness the proceedings from behind a two-way mirror, as a group of mothers, gathered from a local mall, and lured there by the promise of a present, were read the story and shown the 8 drawings. Then they discussed the concept. Behind the mirror a silent crowd of equal size had gathered, taking notes. One woman said "her kid would love it!"; another worried that "small pieces might stick in the vacuum cleaner". And there was one, we could have killed her, who said, "the concept looked Evil”.
With that, Andy and I thought the game was over. But, the next day, to our amazement, Schaper signed a contract that included a handsome advance and guarantee. Ultimately, that proved to be all we ever earned from Animax, apart from an additional advance from Marvel Comics. Still, it was enough to live on for a year, and then some. And we were happy.
The fastest and the strongest ANIMAX, This lion is King of the Road! He and Max Action team up to patrol and protect the highways and the byways of the ANIMAX Kingdom.
Faster than greased lightening, Turbo Tiger has won his racing stripes. This tiger tunes his engine to purr just like a kitten, but he can roar into action for high powered pursuit. Turbo Tiger will fight tooth and claw to protect his fellow ANIMAX.
He’s a workhorse and a racer, and packs more horsepower under the hood than a whole herd of his animal ancestors. Power Horse is a mobile rescue vehicle that harnesses his power to rescue disabled ANIMAX. Swifter than the wind, he races to their aid.
An armored tank-like ANIMAX that doesn’t know his own strength. This is one rambunctious all-terrain vehicle you could run into anywhere, as there is no terrain he cannot travel. He’s got the muscle to push and the power to pull. Don’t ostracize him or make him mad! He’s awesome!
Move over! There’s no road big enough for Road Hogs and you! Traveling in packs like Storm Troopers, Road Hogs push and shove anything in their path as well as each other. Their boorish bad manners and noxious bad odors offend in equal measure.
He’s fast and he’s deadly. This fire breathing hot rodder burns up the road and anyone in his path. When it comes to speed , this Dragon is never ‘draggin’!
Watch out! Bullverizer is tough and mean and ‘roarin’ to go! When he sees red, you’d better run for cover! - But there’s nowhere to hide, because this all terrain toro is a macho marauder, who can follow you anywhere! This is one bull that’s never caught ‘dozin’!
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of ANAMAX and other Products and Images created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB
When darkness engulfs the sun, you know the Obliterator, is on its way. A demonic fossil from a bygone era, his weapon system is able to exert control over the very elements of Nature and direct them as weapons against the ANIMAX. His blasters spew forth thunder, lightening, and hurricane force winds, as well as scorching flames and exploding projectiles. And then if all else fails, he rams his victims with his mighty horns.