Cavallo Galoppa (Gallop the Horse)
A new toy which saw the light of day after many months of experiments and hard work, was known as “Cavallo Galoppa” (Gallop the Horse), initially called “Cavallo Accidenti”, as it was originally supposed to throw the cowboy off its back thanks to a movement of all 4 legs, instead of just two, as in the case of White Feather.
In actual fact, the project took a different turn, and developed in the direction of a spring-powered wind-up steed, which could run along the surface it was placed on via small wheels. In this version, the rider could only fall off accidentally. At first, and only for a short while, the rider was completely provided by the Lenci company in Turin; later on, in order to cut costs, only the head and coat were produced by Lenci, whereas the legs were sown personally by Alessandro s sister with other less expensive materials.
The shaping of the rider s body was assigned to the sculptor Giovanni Taverna (Alluvioni Cambiò 1911, Turin 2008), a pupil and later collaborator of Leonardo Bistolfi and the author, at the time, of many renowned works of art (Ceramiche Essevi). The body was divided into eight parts, two for the back and two for the front, as well as the four legs, in such a way that the latter could host small wheels. The molds for the press and the injection of the plastic were created under the supervision of the Cossato & Carozzo company of Turin, which appointed only the young Alessandro for the task, who created the molds with his own hands.
In order to hide the imperfections given by the process of glueing the eight parts together, Alessandro used a layer of black fur (flocking) in place of traditional paint. Later, however, it was replaced by paint, which did not require one to clean the hairs out of the cogs, thus avoiding the waste of materials.
There had even been an idea to fulfill the tail and ears in real fur, but this was later abandoned. And so it was that Cavallo Galoppa was born and launched on the market in December 1950, just in time for Christmas. In the end it was only possible to box a small number of these articles in cardboard, with open box and lid, with a dark lush red hue and only the Hopla logo in full view and no illustrations.
Here is what Quercetti wrote in his memoirs: “I put together about 900 horses. It was drawing near to Christmas and I hurried to sell them by going round the shops in Turin. […] However the financial result was a complete fiasco. Most of the horses would break, and the spring-driven engine would come off the body! In January I decided to withdraw all the horses, and I asked the shop owners to pass the message on to the customers who had bought it; I would replace the products. The following year, on the contrary, was an incredible, unexpected, wonderful success.”
The following Christmas was in fact definitely better; it was 1951 and in a very short time, a good 1700 toys were sold for as much as 1200 Liras each. The abundant profit acquired would prove to be most useful and allowed for the acquisition of Inco Giochi which had failed in the meantime: that same year, it was transferred to the new headquarters in Corso Casale.