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monday is list day : Toys and games edition

Two weeks in a row makes it either a trend or a tradition. Today's theme is Childhood, aka Man, I'm feeling nostalgic today - or am I just so downtrodden with the aspect of everyday adult life that I'm feeling wistful? Inspired by Beth.

Best toys from my childhood:

Toys from my childhood that would cause caniptions today

Toy I'm suprised you can still get:

Your turn.

[If you have other toy topics you'd like added on to this list, just say the word - my brain is on auto pilot today and I could use all the help I can get. ]


Yep, I had a banana seat bike. It was pink with a white sparkly seat.
Funny story:

I got the bike on my Communion day. I wanted so badly to take it for a ride, but my mother said that I couldn't because I was still wearing my Communion dress and not only would I ruin the dress, but the neighbors would say "just look at that girl riding around on a bicycle in her dress, the horror!" Right, mom. Like anyone would care.

So when she wasn't looking, I took the bike for a spin. Sure enough, I came upon Mr. Bontempi, who shook a finger at me and said "look at you, riding around on a bicycle in your dress, you should be ashamed!"

Update again: Let me add Trouble, because someone brought it up in the comments. We had so much fun playing that game as a family - I can hear the plastic popping noise in my head right now - we used to do all kinds of weird good luck dances to try to get a 6. The best was landing on someone and sending them back home right when they had their fourth guy in front of home base.

I bought it for my own kids when they were much younger, but I hid it when they used the popper just to annoy each other.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference monday is list day : Toys and games edition:

» Of Toys and Boys from Rox Populi
ASV's michelle has made a list of her favorite childhood toys. Among my favorites was a baseball mitt I put to rigorous use for several prepubescent summers and a microscope I appropriately got for Christmas the year I figured out [Read More]

» Toys in the Attic from The World Wide Rant - v3.0
Or, uh, in some garbage dump somewhere, for the last several years. Poor, poor toys. However, Michele said make a list, so here you go: toys from my glory days. Man, we had it good back then. The Six Million... [Read More]


I remember a Creepy Crawler maker-thingy where you poured gloop onto a metal die, then used some flimsy tongs to put it into a heated pan where it would set up. Inevitably, 2nd-3rd degree burns would ensue when the die was removed due to the stupid tongs. File that one under Category 2.

Oh, yeah, we had one of those things where you could make your own plastic cowboys and indians (horses even!) and get permanent scars from the burning. I think those were promoted by Plastic Surgeons of America. :)

[b]Whizzers - [/b]
because mom scrubbin the kitchen floor because of the marks made is love.

That and you could give a wicked skin burn to your younger brother if you held the top and pushed the tip into his skin.

Just sayin'

Klackers were great! There was some serious status in the younger grades if you could get them going and keep them going.

The Creepy Crawler things were fun. You could always scare someone with the fake spider. And the bizarre variation: Incredible Edibles which were the same thing only you were supposed to be able to eat the goop after it cooked. Actually trying those things was our childhood version of Fear Factor.

Ker-Plunk! (exclamation point mandatory)

Superjock football -- you know, the little dude who you would bash his head in to kick field goals. Who knew causing spinal cord injuries could be so much fun?

What was the name of the toy that spun paper around as you poured paint into it, causing it to splatter 'a la Jackson Pollock? That thing was cool.

Spin art!


Was it Paint 'N Swirl? A name to strike terror in the hearts of neat-freak parents everywhere.

That's it, but I could swear the original was called Spin Art. I can't find it anyhwere, though.

My personal favorite was Mattel's Vertibird.

One of the greatest toys of all time!!!!

Sorry for the comments crossing in the mail - "Paint 'N Swirl" was a long-running joke between my sister and I after she got it as a gift for someone's daughter, since upon immediate reflection we realized the name indicated it might not be appreciated by the mother in question.

Hot wheels, except they kept flying off the track. I always wanted one of those five speed banana seat bikes (such as the Pea Picker or the Orange Crate) but my overly protective mother was afraid I would kill myself, so I was stuck in one gear throughout my childhood.

Little Kiddles (the precursor to Polly Pockets)
marathon Monopoly games
Lite Brite
Play-Doh (and getting the little kid down the street to eat it!)
Let us not forget the coolest bike ever...a Schwinn with the metallic sparkle banana seat and back bar! (mine was gold, my brother's was red)

How could I forget my talking Mrs. Beasley doll?

Nothing like playing mumblepeg with metal tipped lawn darts

Check out this new version of a classic toy!



Hungry Hungry Hippos, at least until we lost our marbles.

A lot of the M.A.S.K. toys were pretty cool. I had 3 of them: Thunder Hawk, Switchblade, and the bike that became a helicopter.

A state-of-the-art (at the time) water gun that had a pretty good stream on it plus real-live machine guns sounds.

Some board games:

  • Dark Tower - This game had 4 parts that connected to make a circle around this black tower that was motorized. I never won a game as I was too enthralled with the tower in the middle.
  • BattleTech - Not a game for your avg. 9-10 year old, this was one of those miniature games with pretty complex rules for things like determining to-hit numbers and how far a unit could move per turn. However, as I feel that every red-blooded American boy should develop a fascination with 30 meter tall robots bristling with lasers and missiles, it kept me interested just fine.

Then of course, many hours spend with my first love.

Now that's a blast from the past!

I had a blue Schwinn Stingray with black Banana seat and backbar. Not to mention that kool 5 speed "stick shift"!

Jeez, getting ready to "wax maudlin" here.....

Dressy Bessy (and Dapper Dan)

I had some weird ride-on toy ... if anyone can remember these- It was ROUND, and you sat in the middle, and there were two HUGE wheels, which you cranked with your arms (so you could just spin in place by cranking in different directions.) I LOVED that thing.


No, it wasn't Sit and Spin - because on this thing you could actually truck down the street. I wanna say it had the word "crazy" in it's name. Crazy wheel? I dunno. I few years ago, I saw something very similar in a vintage magazine - i SO wanted to buy one for the kids (but it was $$$$.)

dude. i had a huge huge huge box of generic legos when i was a kid. you know, just the blocks - none of those lame-ass round pieces with faces and such.

toys i always wanted but never got (and am still tempted to buy them when i see them around):
Lite Brite
a Green Machine (the green Big Wheel)
the Bionic Man action figure (and his enemy - the one with a plunger for an arm)

toys i had, and was amazingly satisfied with, because they seem boring:
the aforementioned legos
slot racers
army men

hm. more toy topics? how about... "Toys that you had, that made you the coolest kid on the block?"
for me?

the Atari (2600). until the Intellivision game console came out.
Coleco football - you know, the first of the hand helds, with LEDs and all.

Games/Toys I had that I have a lot of pleasant memories about:

Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars
model trains
Legos, legos, legos.
a battery powered "Bigfoot" monster truck that had gearshift levers sticking out of the cab roof. It normally took 2 C batteries (3V). I wired it up to a model train transformer (12V) and then there was no pile of crap that thing couldn't clamber over, and QUICKLY.
My first 10 speed bike. It was SO FAST compared to the other kids' dirt bikes. Of course, I was at a distinct disadvantage when everyone wanted to go riding off road and go over jumps and stuff.

There was this one toy I got for christmas. It was futuristic, and the action figures traveled in a "pod" that was supposed to travel thru air filled plastic tubes, like how deposit cannisters travel from bank drive-up lanes to the main building. I was never able to get it working and I think my mom took it back to the store.

Toys I wanted but my parents never got around to getting me one:
Big Wheel (pedal powered trike)

Toys I wanted but my parents never could afford:
Big Traxx
Atari 2600 (I bought my first video game, a ColecoVision, with money I earned from mowing yards in 1984. Cost $180. YOW!)

Oh yeah, how could I forget slot cars? TONS of fun making them do things they weren't meant to do

Trouble ("Popomatic/pops the dice/pop a six and/you move twice")


BumperStickerist - Did you ever get a Whizzer too close to someone's (or your own) hair?

Carin - It was called Krazy Kar, I'm pretty sure (and only the rich or spoiled kids had 'em)

Star Wars and Micronauts action figures and toys.

FJBill, I think you're talking about the Micronauts Rocket Tubes. I had them, and IIRC they worked for me.

It's the VH1 Blog. If Michael Ian Black shows up in the comments, I'm leaving.

Here's my off-the-top-of-the-head list:
Mattel Football. The original white one, not the woosie green Football II with passing.
Electric football, which is what actual football would be if all 22 players had severe cases of ADHD.
Atari 2600, especially the Activision sports games
Silly Putty
Mousetrap (usually we just built the Rube Goldberg contraption without playing the game)
Star Wars action figures
Baseball cards cut from the bottom of a Twinkies box
This SWAT van that had a built in CB radio
Home-made tin soldiers. These came from a kit, and involved melting actual lead in a sauce pan and the pouring the molten lead between two halves of a mold held with bare hands. Sometimes there'd be a breach in the lead containment device and panic would ensue. You were supposed to paint the little metal dudes afterwards, but this was often forgotten in the panic.
Big Wheels.

Risk - definitely has to be on the list!!! Nothing like a game of world domination.

Battlestar Galactica action figures
Star Wars action figures
Hot Wheels
Bouncy Balls - they never lasted long before you lost/got them stuck/hurt someone with them

I can't remember what it was called but I remember a game where you push the bottom in and set a timer, then you have to take all these different puzzle shaped pieces and fit them in the right spot before the timer ends and the table pops up spewing the parts everywhere???

Masterpiece! damn, i totally forgot about that game.

OK, i mean this in all seriousness, but half of my "culture" came from Masterpiece. the other half came from Bugs Bunny. (sorry, but Barber of Seville isn't an opera - it's the Bugs Bunny episode where Bugs rubs his hands and feet on Elmer Fudd's head, and flowers grow)

another toy i always wanted but never got? that vibrating electric football game.

oh! who remembers "Trak Ball"? man, i totally wanted a set of those. especially, especially after the movie "Tron" came out (there was a scene in the movie that was pseudo TrackBall/Jai Alai).

He-man figures. For many years, my brother and I would get one or two whenever we got gifts. They're all currently in a big box at my parents' house.

The first comment on this entry already named Creepy Crawlers (links in my entry are not working). Lite Brite, Etch-a-sketch. Transformers were always high on the list, as well as stupid games like hungry hungry hippos, operation, and connect four.

I also can't forget good ol' Matchbox Cars, a little dirt, and a spoon from mom's kitchen to carve out roads.

JFH - you are a MASTER - yes, that was what it was. I used to spin myself in that thing until I got sick! Krazy Kar I SO want one.

My wife and daughter still have "bake-offs" with my wife's old easy-bake oven, and I collect 1960s cap guns. They're great fun at parties, and you can find lots of good working guns cheap on e-bay.

Shawn - are you sure you lost the marbles to the Hungry, Hungry Hippo game? Or did your mom "lose" them for you? God, that game was annoying to listen to - I so regretted buying it for my kids when they were little!

Fred - Ditto on just setting up the Mousetrap game - that's where the fun was. There was also a game that involved cages and jungle animals that had an elaborate set-up...I loved that thing.

I'll add:
- Etch-A-Sketch
- Skateboard (60's version)
- A cute doll that you send away for off the back of a box of Cornflakes - she came with jeans, blouse, white rope belt and white sneakers, and a calico squaredance dress...I loved her more than any Barbie/Francie doll.
- Paperdolls - Barbie ones were great, but I also grew up with the Betsy McCall page from the magazine.
- Shirley Temple doll (you could see her teeth) - sure wish I still had that one
- Mr. Potato Head...I still remember when what you got was just the eyes, nose, etc to stick into a real potato.

Boy, do I feel old now.

Best Toys

SSP Racing Cars
Generic Plastic Toy Soldiers
Britons Upscale Painted Toy Soldiers With Metal Bases
Glass Marbles (for toy soldier combat resolution)
Johnny Lightning Racing Set
NHL Table (Slot) Hockey (Bruins vs. Blackhawks)
Planet of the Apes Action Figures and Treehouse
Matchbox Cars
Big Yellow Metal Tonka Trucks
Plastic Water Pistols (manual action)
Balsa Wood Gliders (rubber band motor optional)
Monogram Plastic Model Airplane Kits
Clear Plastic Insect Containment Facilities
Paper and Pencils

Caniption Causing Toys:

Cowboy & Indians "Toy Soldiers"
Realistic Toy Guns

I Can't Believe You Can Still Get:

The Game of Life

Ekephant Man: I just noticed your Vertibird Post. Outstanding! I had the Police Rescue Chopper. I never knew you could get a Star Trek Enterprise, damn! I always wondered why there was no Cobra Gunship model -- Vietnam, maybe? But even so, sometimes my Vertibird got pressed into service for some armed recce in the basement...

MP - THANK YOU!!! I've been racking my brain all day trying to remember the name of this toy: SSP Racing Cars!

I loved these, especially when they came out with the ones that were meant to crash together with parts that would purposely fly off.

MP...paper and pencils - right on! or maybe..."write on"....

Plus who can forget the thrill of pulling out the first crayon in a freshly opened box....coloring oh-so-carefully in a brand new coloring book and vowing to do every page, no matter what, without making ANY mistakes? And the riches of getting the BIG box of 64!

Paint-by-number kits were cool, too.

My brother was big into model airplanes and battleships, too - he had a metal camp table set up in his room that always had a work in progress on it. I was never allowed to touch but he did tolerate my presence so I could watch.

How about Operation?

My top 10 childhood toys (in order, as best I can remember)

Star Wars action figures (duh)
Lego (specifically, the "astronat" line)
Slime (unfortunately, the version with "worms" wasn't as cool as it sounded)
Connect 4 (cos none of my friends liked to play chess and I didn't want to scare off the few I had)
Shogun Warriors (me and my brother only got one each cos my parents complained they were too expensive)
Sucker Man (Remember the commercial where mome and dad scream because that ugly looking guy got thrown on the window? That never got old.)
Slinky (the metal won, not that plastic monstrosity that never worked)
Stretch Armstrong.
Duncan Yo-Yo.
Play-Do (My elementary school teachers tried to convert us to the "home made" play-do, but it wasn't the same -- it didn't taste as good, for one thing).

estes model rockets
visible v8 engine
pet rock
guns that shot little rubber pellets or disks
gi joe with the kung fu grip
johnny lightning race track
indian bow with suction tipped arrows
first pong game followed by atari game with tanks and planes
army men and my dads stash of firecrackers

I can't believe I didn't mention.....

Major Matt Mason: Mattel's Man in Space action figures and accessories!

When I was a kid, Major Matt and his crew beat those pesky russians to the moon every time!

Then Major Matt's alien foes started appearing......


Perfection - that was it!!! Thanks Michele, 'cept mine was some godawful shade of white that didn't age well. I think I actually still have it somewhere.

What about Billy Blastoff? I L-O-V-E-D that toy and the commercials for it (circa 1965-1970) but since I was a girl I never got one.