One of my favorite playsets as a kid was the Sears Happi Time Civil War playset by Marx. Her's a picture taken Christmas morning 1965 with my new-born nephew propped-up against the box.
When I switched from HO scale trains to 3-rail tinplate and started buying toys to populate a portable layout a very odd thing happened - a flood of nostalgia hit me and slowly but surely I started remembering all the cool toys and playsets I used to have. This one here was one of my all time favorites but I have to take issue with some of the observations the "experts" have. All the "experts" claim this set had no falling rider (a superb sculpt of a horse falling upon its front legs with a shot rider falling with him, hands upraised) and no Ambulance Wagon. I'm sorry people but my set had them both!!! Don't ask me why, I was just a kid back then and couldn't tell you but those two pieces are some of my most vivid memories of the set - along with the Mansion, character figures, and exploding bunker. The falling rider was one of the coolest scuplts in playset history and even as a kid it impressed me. The wagon impressed me for other reasons. Although it was a really cool design, quite frankly it was a pain-in-the-a _ _ ! That darn top wouldn't stay on for love-nor-money, and just try to hook on the barrels or other accouterments to the sides and still try to keep the top on. Just didn't happen. More often than not the top was put off to the side and the toy used as a regular wagon.
***********UPDATE Apr 7, 2014************
Well, time to eat crow - better cook mine first. I owe the 'experts' an apology. Ya see in a moment of 'Boy, do I feel dumb' a heretofore forgotten detail of my youth struck me and happened while pouring over some Sears Christmas catalogs. Yes I did have a falling horse and rider and yes, I did have an ambulance type wagon, but NO they were not a part of the Civil War playset. They were a part of the Sears large Fort Apache playset!!!! My folks were big Sears fans and most of my playset's were from there and I sure did have that beautiful Fort Apache set. Clearly shown in the ads for the set were the wagon and falling horse and rider. I feel better now and hope I didn't mislead anyone - too badly.
I know what you "experts" are thinking, "Oh his mother bought him bags of Marx toys or other playsets with theses pieces in them." Nope. I got the playsets at Christmas or birthdays and throughout the year would have gotten header bags from MPC, Rel, or whatever but there were no additional Marx sets.
Time passes on and I'm all growed up and now start to collect stuff, so I'm thinking how nice it would be to try and gather up this playset again. Boy, was I in for a shock. The prices on these original pieces now command a king's ransom, waaaay out of proportion to the income of a pauper, but occasionally pieces become available that aren't exorbitantly expensive. I got the box relatively cheap because the top is separated from the remainder of the box. Unfortunately Marx made this in a more flimsy cardboard than they did for their other sets and they have a hard time weathering the years, but for me the artwork, and memories are priceless! Enjoy