Thursday, December 31, 2009

Retro 70's Christmas Toy Spectacular - Danger Edition

About a year ago, I blogged about some of my favorite toys from the 70's. There are a lot of toy geeks (like me) out there who read that post, so I've decided to do it annually. This year I'm going to focus on toys that would never be sold in our "It could kill you!" safety-obsessed society. Ah, the good old days when kids could ride bikes and skateboards without a styrofoam orb on their heads and without parent supervision and arranged "play dates". Sure, I'm almost blind in one eye from a skateboard accident in 7th grade, but I'm still alive... right!?!

Clackers - Excuse the obvious reference to the male anatomy... These menacing heavy plastic balls on strings were made to hit each other above and below your hand in a circular motion. They were hard to get going, and usually hit your arm or your face with deadly ninja-like blows. Clackers were also a medieval weapon perfectly suited for close combat with your brother or sister. These were pulled from stores for obvious reasons!

Thingmaker - What do you get when you mix liquid plastic, aluminum toy molds, and a blazing hot mini oven!?! Thingmaker! I really enjoyed this toy. You could pour plastic goop into the forms and make a variety of toys. The little cooker got incredibly hot and I remember getting burns from both the metal forms and the lava hot plastic. People who fear current PVC toys should not investigate the Thingmaker! There was also an edible version of this toy that made plastic gummy treats.

The Power Shop - I've been a compulsive woodworker since my Dad let me drive nails into a playhouse we built in our backyard. The fine folk at Mattel knew that all kids craved a tiny lathe, drill press, and table saw to create fine woodworking masterpieces. Sure, it would be hard to do serious damage to yourself with these - but they did cut real wood!

Ice Bird - Delicious treats were always a priority for children of the 70's. Ice Bird promised a shave ice like experience in your own household. The only problem is that your hands would slip on the ice block and Ice Bird would become Slice Bird! Seriously though, one of the most catchy toy jingles every created - I dare you not to sing this all day.

Electro-Shot Shooting Gallery (by Marx!) - Although this toy was not dangerous it featured a machine gun that fired ball bearings at various targets. The electro-shot captured the blood lust of pre-adolescent youth. Plus it was much safer than our bb gun and dirt clod fights outside. This game definitely damaged the ears, though. It made a huge whirring sound and the machine gun of bearings created cacophonous glory! Click on the picture to unlock the original violent commercial via YouTube...

Lawn Darts (a.k.a. Death from the Sky) - This post would not be complete without a reference to one of the most dangerous toys of all time, Lawn Darts! These little missiles were mighty fun unless you threw them straight up in the air. Your chances of a skull piercing brain injury became very real. Interesting enough, these babies were not banned in the U.S. until 1988. They were very popular at bbq's and campsites up until that time. I must say that the replacements are so boring compared to the satisfying flight path of these danger missiles.

Have a safe and happy holiday!


Anonymous said...

Um, hello...what about bb guns? The ultimate danger toy. Or the smokin' woodburning set. I think I branded my brother a few times with that gem. Stay tuned, I have an upcoming post about Anders's ultimate danger acquisition...

Anonymous said...

I can just see Hank LOVING all those toys! It is difficult to find a toy that little boys would really love anymore. You had me laughing out loud again, Scott. I don't think christy is the only Writer in your family.