Saturday, March 3, 2012



Flip•O•Vision produced back in 1949 by the TOPPS company, was a set of 60 flip 
books that each made a mini-movie. Inside each elongated 5¢ pack contained 
a booklet with 30 perforated pages folded like an accordion and a stick of bubblegum. 
The pages had to be separated and then bound together with a rubber band to be 
used as a "flip movie". The subjects featured in the "mini productions" 
consisted of various performers, famous and obscure comedians, singers, 
movie actors, radio actors, etc, all performing their various mute schtick for 
TOPPS cameras, as well as a few film clips, (Bob Hope), pulled from current movies. 
"Flip•O•Vision" was most likely the brainchild of the legendary 
Woody Gelman, head of product development at TOPPS, in an
 attempt to cash in on the newfangled invention called television, 
(a TV set is even featured on the wrapper). Unfortunately for TOPPS, 
television sort of caught on, Flip•O•Vision, which might have 
seemed like a good idea at the time, did not. They've since become 
highly sought out by collectors of vintage bubblegum cards and 
film memorabilia.

Leonard Maltin discusses Flip O Vision and adds some additional vintage Flip Books here:

Henny Youngman stars in "Fiddle Fun"

Burns & Allen
Charlie Chan Flip•O•Vision front

a Flip•O•Vision title card
Original store ads

The Flip•O•Vision box
box side view

another side view, listing some of the top stars
the wrapper
Check list
Topps publicity photo

Topps Salesman's letter promoting Flip O Vision

Harpo Marx title card, complete with rubber band.
The complete Harpo Marx "Bubble Smoke" Flip book

And watch the animated version here:

Harpo and a young Marilyn Monroe, who had a small part (with Groucho) in their then current film "Love Happy"

Chico, Harpo and Marilyn

Marilyn & Harpo pose with the Flip O Vision camera
Chico's turn with Marilyn

larger view

more Harpo with Marilyn

photo taken at the shoot...

this one in color...

and the two brothers and MM…

Kirk Douglas...
Various Flip•O•Vision fronts...

The complete "The Ink Spots" flip book

The Cab Calloway tribute blog "HI DE HO', featuring the Cab Calloway Flip O Vision, Animated:

Leo Gorcey
some additional title cards...

Billy Gilbert 

Al Schacht (and some Victor Moore) 

Ralph Byrd as Dick Tracy

the final flip book of the set


  1. Love the Marx Brothers stuff and I've animated the Harpo sheet which, if you're interested, you can see here.

    Where on earth do you find this stuff? Just fantastic to look at and such an ignored genre, especially here in the UK where I don’t believe we have much of a tradition of flip books, though I once owned (and probably still do) a flip book which was meant to teach me how to swing a bat at cricket (a sport much like baseball but without the constant ad breaks).

  2. Thank you sir! I added the Harpo video to the blog!

  3. I love these! And that animated Harpo is great.

  4. I wasn't aware of Flip-O-Vision until this minute. Wow!

    As soon as I saw the first image I thought "Hey, you could scan these and sequence them with a GIF animator." But by the time I got a few images down I saw that somebody already had the idea and followed through. You guys are really on the ball!

  5. Thanks Drew. Glad to help.

    For for my own amusement, I did the two other sheets you have here. The Chico Marx and the Kay Kyser.

  6. Excellent. I pitched a certain publisher a book cataloging non-sports, non-Wacky Pack Topps material and I've never even seen this stuff.

  7. GOSH! This is really wonderful. Thanks! And thanks for the animated gifs, Blackmonk. I love flip books. I'm making one of Lana del Ray because she's so un-animated. I like contradictions too. Someone should make a flip book of Flip Wilson--I'd buy that. Thanks again--wonderful post.

  8. Back in the 80's I pitched the then president of Topps on a series of flip books to teach breakdancing techniques, with the back of each page having information on artists, lyrics, etc. Neither he nor I had any idea that the company had done anything like it in the past. This is the first I have ever heard of it.

  9. Boy, Topps could do no wrong in the fifties and sixties. They need to issue an art book. Like Western Publishing (Golden Books, Dell Comics), they've been selling off their archived originals bit by bit on eBay for years. I just hope it's all been scanned and preserved...

    (My, my - kissed by a teenage Marilyn! But that's how he got the name "Chico," which was originally "Chicko"!)

  10. It's so funny and cool to seeing so many cards collecting together; it seems they are telling a small old story, some like viewing old movies.

    pdf to flash page flip

  11. Hey, I think this is a photo of the Flip-o-Vision camera. It has Marilyn and Harpo standing in front of it and the clothes match:

  12. You are so right! Thanks for the tip.

  13. Hi de Ho,
    I wanted to inform you that I've just published an article about the CAB CALLOWAY Flip-O-Vision with an animated GIF of the set. Of course, I've used some of your pictures and info and you're quoted in references.
    I hope you'll enjoy :

  14. The new address for the animated Cab Calloway Flip-O-Vision is:

    Thanks again for this great article.