May 3, 2012

I’m in Chicago, visiting the Field Museum, which means two things: Brachiosaurus (see below), and Mold-A-Rama. Downstairs from the great hall, on the ground floor, they have Mold-A-Rama machines, and I cannot resist their siren song.

The Mold-A-Rama is the king of novelty souvenirs. You can keep your stamped pennies, little pewter spoons, hand-painted bells, and refrigerator magnets. None of them is worthy to sully the presence of the awesome Mold-A-Rama. You put in two dollars, and then you get to watch as this hissing, clanking 1950s machine with tubes and wires and lights actually makes your item right in front of your eyes. A few minutes later, BAM, you’re holding a hot, smelly hunk of probably carcinogenic plastic that is so fresh from the mold that it is still a bit soft. You can’t buy that kind of authenticity–except from a Mold-A-Rama.

See that red thing, newly made, still in the bowels of the machine? That is MY T. rex!

This is my first Mold-A-Rama Triceratops. I already have a T. rex from my last visit, way back in 2005, which I can now pass on to my son. I also have a Stegosaurus, a Brontosaurus (shown but not commented on here), and a Trachodon. Yeah, yeah, I know the real animals are known as Apatosaurus and Edmontosaurus these days, but I’m not talking about the real animals. I’m talking about Mold-A-Rama, and trust me, the Mold-A-Rama critters are Brontosaurus and Trachodon. They drag their tails, they live in swamps, they’re cold-blooded and they died out from racial senescence (in about 1975, I think).

Finally, because Mike will straight-up murder me if I post from Chicago without it, here’s your friendly local not-quite-fully-mature mounted holotype specimen of Brachiosaurus:

14 Responses to “MOLD-A-RAMA”

  1. 220mya Says:

    The Chicago Tribune had a great article on the Mold-A-Rama a few years back:

  2. ScottE Says:

    Oh, I love Mold-a-Rama. I still have most of mine from a visit taken in 2000, I think, though the Triceratops needs to be glued back together after an unfortunate mega felid synapsid shelf attack.

    Instant toys. Brilliant.

  3. Mark Robinson Says:

    Me want. I’m a sucker for anything-A-rama. Or -O-rama, even. I think if there was a machine that sculpted turds out of real excrement for $2 and it was called Poop-O-Rama, I would buy one.

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    Me want. I’m a sucker for anything-A-rama. Or -O-rama, even.

    Truthin’. According to the newpaper article Randy linked to, there’s a Mold-A-Rama at the Museum of Science and Industry that makes submarines. I covet one of those.

    I think if there was a machine that sculpted turds out of real excrement for $2 and it was called Poop-O-Rama, I would buy one.

    All I need is the shell of an empty Mold-A-Rama machine to hide in and a supply of frozen burritos, and my financial woes are over!

  5. Also at Brookfield Zoo. Makes, um, animals. Kangaroo by the Australia House anyone?


    Oh yeah. Here. There’s a U505 on ebay right now.

  7. saurian Says:

    That’s a stunningly composed image of Brachiosaurus and really gives you a sense of scale of these magnificent creatures whilst, at the same time, emphasising the biomechanical weirdness of sauropods as a whole – awesome!

  8. Mike Taylor Says:

    I think if there was a machine that sculpted turds out of real excrement for $2 and it was called Poop-O-Rama, I would buy one.

    Isn’t real excrement already turds?

  9. Andrea Cau Says:

    The SVPoW time paradox: What came first? This post or the first photo of this post?

  10. Stu Pond Says:

    I loved the Mold-A-Rama machines in the Field Museum a couple of years ago. To my lasting regret I only got the T. rex which still has pride on place on my shelving unit filled with, er, Mesozoic vertebrate reference models.

  11. Mark Robinson Says:

    Oh, yeah. Missed the meta-ness of the top pic.

    Isn’t real excrement already turds?
    Well, yes, altho’ I think of turds as being specifically the well-formed sausage-like* things that we are familiar with whereas excrement is faecal matter in any form, and is what turds are made out of.

    I can’t believe that I’m going to write another paragraph on this, but I meant making mini turds out of a bulk store of excrement. Matt gets it.

    *Except for animals such as rabbits where they’re more Irish Moss cough lozengey.

  12. nothing227 Says:

    ahahahaah. oh my, this turd discussion has made my day.

  13. […] That gives us three individual Late Jurassic brachiosaurids–the Recapture Creek animal, the Brachiosaurus altithorax holotype, and the mounted Giraffatitan brancai–that are almost exactly the same size in limb bone […]

  14. I like to call him – Old School T-Rex. He graced my bike at Burning Man this year

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