A Cavalcade of Classic Toys

07May14

I played with toys throughout my childhood and my children’s childhood. I worked in the toy industry for a few years, so I have a warm place in my heart for toys.

I was lucky to grow up in what has to be considered the golden age of toys. Never before or since have so many enduring classics been developed and produced by the nation’s toy companies.  Image

The annual Sears Wish Book was a treasure trove of exciting new products whenever it arrived. In my era, that day was a red letter day. It was a day to spend circling toys and dog-earing pages.

Toys have changed, electronics and video games rule what’s left of the industry. Most of the old time toy companies have gone belly up or been gobbled up by other toy companies. Some, slowly petered out as they desperately searched for the next big thing before their time ran out.

Companies like Ideal Toy, Wham-O Toy, Mattel, Pressman Toy Company, Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, Kenner Products Company, A.C. Gilbert Company, Fisher Price, Louis Marx and Company, Radio Flyer, Ertle Company once ruled the Wish Book.

Nearly every year the toy industry produced hit after hit. Just take a look at this cavalcade of classic toys:

1956 Play-Doh
1957 Frisbee
1958 Crayola 64 Box of Crayons
1959 Barbie
1960 Etch A Sketch
1961 Slip ‘N Slide
1963 Easy-Bake OvenImage
1964 G.I. Joe
1965 Super Ball
1966 Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
1967 Spirograph
1968 Hot Wheels
1968 NERF Ball
1969 Big Wheel

Many of these are still in production, albeit in a slightly updated form, but some are gone, and probably gone forever.

ImageI have fond memories of nearly all of these toys. I can still feel the frustration of doing a beautiful Spirograph and making a mistake right at the very end. I can vividly recall getting my first Hot Wheels cars and I could recreate my favorite track layouts right now (The one that started on the roof of the garage was awesome).

Those were the days.

Of course, someday, someone else is going to have the same warm and fuzzy feeling about Call of Duty #17…as hard as that might be to imagine.

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