Max und Moritz is a German illustrated story written by Wilhelm Busch in 1865. The book has 7 chapters, all of them rhymed in couplets.
I knew the book, but it wasn´t until recently that I had it in my hands and I could read it a little bit (it is difficult if you are not fluent in German). The stories and the illustrations have a lot of things in common with later comics and cartoons. Max and Morizt are two naughty boys doing nasty things. The chapters are also called "tricks", and describe one mischief of the two main characters: stealing a roasted chicken from a kitchen, sawing a wooden bridge, putting gunpowder in a smoking pipe... until they meet their fate being shredded in a backery.
As many cartoons, the stories are kind of violent, at least with today's mentality, so I think, the book is not so popular anymore in German speaking countries as it was before.
But what brought Max and Moritz to this blog today is the series of figures made by Heimo in the late 70s. The series comprises 8 figures plus one variant. Just for clarification, Max is the brunette boy, Moritz is the blonde boy. Note in this picture below that the two Max figures have different hair colour: one brown, the other black.
The original 8 figures were
- Max (hands on back)
- Max (with smoking pipe)
- Moritz (hands on back, red shirt)
- Moritz (with gunpowder flask)
- Widow Bolte
- Tailor Böck (sitting)
- Teacher Lämpel
- Meister Backer
And the variant is
- Moritz (hands on back, green shirt instead of red)
The variant is not more difficult to find than the ordinary one. Heimo figures were produced massively, and even today, they can be found on ebay at relatively low prices (considering its age).
Also note that Max and Moritz were available in two different casts, the first represents them doing nothing, with their hands in the back and smiling, as they were lovely little boys. The other two versions are taken from chapter/trick 4 (Streich 4), were they fill the pipe of teacher Lämpel with gunpowder. Max has the pipe and Moritz the flask with the gunpowder. In some catalogues this figure is referred as "with inkwell" ("mit Tintenfass"), but this must be an error, since there is no inkwell in the whole book.
|Illustration taken from de.wikisource.org|
Figures are marked POLYMEDIA, most probably because they came out as a merchandise for a TV series made between 1977 and 1978. The producer was Polyphon Film- und Fernseh GmbH in Hamburg, ans was directed by Hermann Leitner and John Halas. The years would match and also the style of the figures and the colours.
As menstioned before, a nice complete set of figures, not difficult to find, nor expensive. The figures are somewhat bigger than the usual Heimo from these years, and are about 6 cm high, which makes them more attractive than other figures like those made of Wickie, Heidi or Disney.
FACTS and FIGURES:
- Name: MAX AND MORITZ
- Year: 1977
- Company: Heimo (Germany)
- Size of the figures: 6 cm