About three months ago an auction featuring the largest stash of Flipper's Magic Fish I have ever seen ended. This 1966 Topps set could be their most obscure retail issue and once you see the pictures you will know why.
The basic checklist is ten heat-activated "fish" in length. A thin plastic film allowed the fish to move in your hand. Why? Well Topps was trying to pitch a regular card set of everyone's favorite dolphin in 1966, creating one of the rarest test issues of the era. I don't know if they tried to salvage the idea with these little fishies or what but the "magic" version must have had a short shelf life. So my eyes popped a little when I saw 34 of these suckers sold on eBay for a healthy price:
The fish are quite colorful and it's easy to see there are variations:
The instructions say "Place Flipper fish on palm of hand and watch it flip" which neatly eliminates any copyright or licensing provision-the only copyright belongs to Topps on the packaging. However, it seems possible to me that Ivan Tors Films and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who were identified on the Flipper cards, may have thought differently. These fish are pretty tough to find and the available supply could indicate the set was curtailed or pulled shortly after debuting.
You can see how the package is just a thin cardboard folder:
Things happen when the package is flipped too!
Given the array of colors above, it seems possible each subject had four different, for a total of forty fish varieties. I kinda like the turtle!