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Wallace Toy Co. Bunny Martin Yo-Yo
Exhibit #2391
ShapeStandard (-)
PackagingBubble Carded
ConstructionOne piece wood
ConditionMint in Package
OwnerRick Brough

The signature wooden model of professional yo-yo performer Bunny Martin who is from Austin, Texas. The yo-yo--sans the step-by-step instructions enclosed in the package--is still available today (2016).

From an interview Bunny Martin did for the Texas Monthly, May, 1981:
"I'd been hooked on yo-yoing since age eleven (1946) when I skipped lunch one day and used the 25 cents to buy my first yo-yo. Back then the toy companies sent pros around to do exhibitions with yo-yos, and I followed one of them around for days to study his technique. He finally noticed me and had me do a little bit for him, and he said, 'Hey, you've got a good snap to your wrist.' Well, then I was really obsessed. I started practicing six to eight hours a day, and pretty soon I was really good."

In 1950, 15-year-old Bunny Martin defeated approximately 100 yo-yo competitors to win the city yo-yo championship in Houston, Texas. The accomplishment qualified him for the Cheerio-sponsored "World Yo-Yo Championship" in Toronto, Ontario the following year (1951). Bunny travelled with his father to Canada and competed against approximately 500 contestants from five countries. Ultimately, he won the first place prize of $2500 from Cheerio, and a Cheerio Yo-Yo plaque.

After winning the championship Bunny worked for Cheerio as a demonstrator for 18 weeks. Later, he went on to college and also served in the Army--all while continuing to captivate folks with his yo-yo playing prowess. For more than 50 years Bunny's return top performances and motivational programs have inspired a wide variety of people and groups around the country. Today (2016), at age 82, Bunny is retired and lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife, Mary Etta, whom he has been married to for 56 years.

"I have a collection of all sorts of yo-yos--some with rhinestones, one with bells, even a stirling silver one--but the best yo-yos are made of maple. I have about 250 maple yo-yos in my personal stock. Plastic yo-yos are all right, but none of them can compare with maple. It gives you the greatest control. There are thousands of yo-yo tricks: some elementary ones are Walk the Dog, Eating Spaghetti, Rock the Baby in the Cradle, Around the World--everyone knows Around the World. I can do it backwards with one hand and forwards with the other at the same time. The tough tricks are the one like Man on the Flying Trapeze, Spider Web, Reach for the Moon, Brain Twister, the Atomic Bomb, and the H-bomb. I invented the last one. I also invented a trick I call Fireworks With a Yo-Yo; I throw the yo-yo so it ignites a match held between someone's teeth. To my knowledge I'm the only person who's ever done that." (Source: Texas Monthly, May, 1981)

While the copyright date on the printed material says 1983, this package was actually purchased in the mid 1990s. The yo-yo package was either distributed by Wallace Toy Company of Wallace, Idaho, or Martin Yo-Yo Enterprises of Temple, Texas. The body shape of the yo-yo suggests that it may have been manufactured by Elfverson of Sweden. However, there is no "Sweden" stamped in the middle of either halve--an oft used hallmark by Elfverson. Also, the Elfverson website mentions creating yo-yos for various brands such as Cheerio, Royal, Union Wadding (Festival), National, Canada Games, and others, but there is no mention about creating yo-yos for the Bunny Martin brand.

The face on one side of the yo features a gold stamped silhouette of a rabbit in the center and the words “Martin Yo-Yo”. Notice also that the plastic shell directly above the rabbit is embossed with the same rabbit silhouette. The opposite side of the yo-yo is a gold stamp of Martin's autograph and World Champion printed around the perimeter of his signature.
Other Views
Package front, large
Close-up, side A
Close-up, side B
Package, back

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