Old Toys, old friends

factory

Toys suck these days.

They all seem to have these safety features that basically say, “Hey, we know your kid is a boob so here’s something that won’t mess him up too bad.”

Here are a few toys I’ve seen online:

  • The Dirt Devil Junior (3 AA batteries included! Serious power)
  • Aquadoodle (Ooh, fun with water! Watch out, don’t get too wet!)
  • Software
  • Softerware
  • Softestware (updated version)

Did I mention software?

IMHO, all of it sucks.
Back in sixties we had TOYS.
We had goop cookers that plugged into a wall socket, BB guns, metal that got white-hot, chemistry sets that would make Homeland Security shudder; these were unsafe, exciting and a wee bit scary but we loved them all.
Sure they could burn down your house and kill your dog but hey, look at all the cool stuff you could make.
Adult supervision? Uhhhhhh…nope.

We had toys that were so cool they could actually ‘make’ other toys.
There was the Mattel Fright Factory (similar to Creepy Crawlers) that came with a square-shaped cooker/heating plate that worked on electricity (no batteries, thanks).
If it heated up long enough and you absentmindedly forgot about it and stuck your hand on the plate—BANG!—Edward Scissorhands for you.
The Factory came with cast iron molds that you filled with this stuff called plastigoop.
After cooking the hell out of it, you would notice delicate fingers of smoke rising into the air; a monster was born.
The cooking plastigoop had this really odd, almost toxic scent to it too.
Oh, yeah, this stuff could probably kill brain cells faster than a case of whip-its but we loved it. God, I made some great monsters.
These toys taught us patience (wait until the cast iron cools down *before* you touch it), creativity (who says a monster can’t be 14 colors?) and responsibility (unplug the damn thing when you’re done or you might run the risk of burning the face of your little baby brother who still puts his mouth on everything).

The list goes on but I’m thinking you get my drift.

Girls had a similar toy called “Fun Flowers” or something like that. (thanks to my wife for the name)
It made frilly flowers but still had the awesome capacity to really mess you up if it was misused.

It was toys like the Easy Bake Oven that put me off and made me realize the toy industry was badly tanking.
A low-wattage bulb that cooks brownies? That’s just plain frickin’ stupid.
Maybe that’s the little boy in me.

I would have been interested in something called the ‘Three Mile Island Super Bake 5000’, an oven equivalent to that of a 1,500 watt microwave.
Hey, this thing could blow up a tomato in like 60 seconds. How cool is that?

Granted, the technology wasn’t available back then but if it was, boy, oh boy, we may have seriously screwed some folks up.
But you know what?
We didn’t and I’m living proof.
So the next time you want to reminisce and stumble down Memory Lane, open up a fresh box of Crayola crayons and sniff.
Amazing how it all comes rushing back, huh?
There I go showing my age once again.

~m

17 responses to “Old Toys, old friends

  1. I agree. Kids toys nowadays are complete junk. Nothing lasts either. You can pay a gazillion bucks for it, and by the time your average joe child has it in his little paws for five minutes, it’s broken. I’ve given up shopping for toys and would much rather buy my kids each a good slingshot or jack knife. At least maybe then they can use their creativity to keep the neighbours dogs out of our yard………..
    Jennifer

    Are you up for saying, “Be careful with that thing or you’ll put someone’s eye out!”?
    ~m

  2. So many times i’ve thought the very same thing, though i think my parents are more your generation than myself.

    Like I said, just showing my age…
    Thanks for the visit, MS.
    ~m 8-(

  3. Easy bake ovens were a joke – I had one and ate many batches of brownie mix since the oven is still trying to heat up.
    But even the non-complex toys were cool – etcha-sketch, slinkies, silly putty, play dough, tinker toys, legos, board games, books, transistor radios, roller skates – all good stuff.
    Toys for kids today are cell phones, software, computers and iPods. Too bad, cuz really it just encourages them to be adults when they’re kids instead of kids.
    WC

    Too bad, cuz really it just encourages them to be adults when they’re kids instead of kids.

    You hit the proverbial nail on the head. Great thought.
    ~m

  4. M,,,,I can just see you with your easy bake oven,,,LMHO
    We had the Estes Rockets guess we aspired to be like Goddard.
    Built our rocket kits even launched a mouse as a passeger in one of our payload rockets and watch him drift back to our friends yard
    under his parachute safely in his little capsule

  5. Well, I’ll admit, I can smell the crayolas. I can still recall the smell of Play-Doh, too. Jacks! I stepped on one of those once and had to go get a tetanus shot – that was when I was running around all summer bare-footed. I don’t think kids even do that these days. Do they climb trees? (Not in West Texas, they don’t!)

    I used to eat play-doh. No lie. ;)
    Jacks were for girls (and sissy boys)
    But stepping on one? Ouch! I’m wincing as I write this.
    ~m

  6. Oh yes, give me the old time toys – when children had to brave the elements to play. Today’s market of toys is so pathetic it’s embarrassing.
    sarah

    Today’s toys aren’t even toys.
    And yes, they are pathetic.
    Sad and tragic.
    ~m

  7. and whatever happened to kids being out on the street christmas morning to compare what they got with the neighbourhood kids? we were on the street shouting about it before the sun was up…these days they’d need a 70ft extension lead to show off their new x box 360!…just seems to lose something in the translation from when it was roller skates or hoola hoops doesn’t it? and what’s with people wanting to bankrupt themselves for christmas anyway..it used to be something that was about families, catching up, and celebrating but these days it’s money money and more bloody money…
    you put the bikkie tin back out didn’t you michael?..i can always tell when my comment goes beyond the size of the text box..
    *hanging head, apologising and going back to the nook*

    You go Mum.
    Anytime you feel like ranting here, go for it.
    If I strongly disagreed with you that would be one thing but you seem to think much like me.
    Using the advice of a dear friend I talked to one of my daughters last night regarding Christmas.
    She feels badly that she doesn’t have $ to buy nice gifts for family.
    I told her it’s ABOUT family not gifts. Christmas would really blow if say, I was on my way home on Christmas Eve and got in a bad accident. So much for thousands of dollars in gifts. They mean absolutely nothing.
    Hey Mum, you think there’s another post here?
    Thanks for the wonderful comment. Use my bikkie tin any damn time you want.
    ~m

  8. REAL toys are few and far between…I’ve made an effort to get back to basics with Zoe – A bike, a hula hoop, a magnifying glass. All things to encourage her to get outside and open her eyes.
    Kelly

    Opening the eyes is a wonderful thing for a child.
    Good for you, Kell.
    Zoe is a lucky one to have such a smart Mum.
    ~m

  9. ryc: If you’d like to link to my site, i’d like you to do so. If not, that’s cool too.
    As for what’s happening: i’m bipolar. And not doing well right now. Not well at all.

    Linking is done and yes, it’s all good with me.
    Take care of yourself, MS.
    Feel free to email me, ok?
    ~m

  10. there is another post in what you say AND in what i say…i try really hard not to do the grinch thing because i love christmas itself and refuse to let the bastards get me down and enjoy it as it’s meant to be enjoyed…with family, friends and presents that mean something as opposed to trying to go one better than those who seem determined to turn it into a circus…
    from where i sit your girls are very lucky to have parents that appreciate christmas as it’s meant to be..if more kids had parents like you and pam i wouldn’t be so fearful for the world that my grandchildren will have to live in…..did it again huh??? :lol:
    bloody tin…..

    Thanks, Mum for the nice, warm comment.
    And yes, my wife and I both try very hard.
    As does, Kell…
    ~m

  11. I never had an Easybake Oven, but my friends did, so we’d cook up a storm there. My favorite toys were Growing Rocks…very weird, and now I totally wonder what that was all about. Oh and Sea Monkeys…now that used to freak me out! I think they were brine shrimp, but to a kid, it’s a freaking Sea Monkey! I don’t know how we all survived with the toxic waste we’d create in our bedrooms and now kids seem to choke on everything. I love these little candies called Kindereggs. You can get them in Europe or a international food store. It’s a chocolate egg on the outside with a smaller egg on the inside and it’s got this little plastic gadget to put together. Small enough for kids to choke on, but alas, there is no choking hazard info on the darned thing. I think kids in Europe must be smarter than kids in the US.

    You hit a goldmine on Kindereggs! I’ve never had them but they sound wonderful.
    As far as the Sea Monkeys, I could never figure out the fascination.
    They never looked anything like the friendly Seuss-like things on the package.
    They just looked like dirty dishwater… ;)
    ~m

  12. KINDEREGGS rock! I still buy them once in a while, munch the chocolate (isof smelling crayons) and start playing….. well….
    I don’t think Europaen kids are smarter, I don’t think it’s about the kids at all, more the parents (just to be clear, I am not saying the European parents are smarter either :-) ). Honestly, it’s our generation that falls for all these silly toys. There’s the other side of us which says “we never had nothing as cool as that when we were kids”. Anyway, all I do is look at my friends kids age 1 and 3 and they prefer Mum’s wooden spoon to bang on pots and the couch cushions to build firestations to any other fancy toy. And turn off the TV that gives them even more silly ideas…..
    I am off in hunt of a Kinder Ueberraschung – sorry Kindereggs.

    You hit the proverbial nail on the head: Turn off the TV!
    Amen to that.
    ~m

  13. Parents are why toys aren’t really toys any more. Kid gets hurt – parents blame the toy manufacturer and get some money for it. No need for actual parenting when it’s the toy company that’s responsible for keeping our kids safe. (Is a bikkie tin the same as a soap box? Because I’m feeling the urge to spout off one right now ;-) )
    PS: I survived the play dough eating too (and school glue)!

    The world we live in has all but gone crazy.
    Litigation for stupidity is killing us all.
    And yes, a bikkie tin is the Aussie equivalent of a soapbox.
    Actually, I like the sound of ‘bikkie tin’ much better…
    ~m

  14. In my day, we didn’t have fancy schmancy things like software. Pah! In my day, we used crayons to color faces on some rocks! And we only had two colors, black and white! And we liked it that way! And what the hell is an Aquadoodle, anyway. In my day I got the garden hose and gave my sisters a damn good soaking with that! And who needs an Ipod, eh? In my day we just banged a couple of rocks together. Sure, it sucked, but we LIKED it that way! Kids today don’t know what real fun is.
    Actually, a curiously moving post.

    Kids today don’t know what real fun is.

    Sad, isn’t it?
    I like the banging together of rocks. Stereo. Noice.
    ~m

  15. M….. I still remember the year Pam was wise and got on the Furby
    shopping for the girls..Mikee really liked those Furbies right Mikee
    Lucky they lived through Christmas Night LMHO

    Furby was really creepy. Possessed, actually.
    ~m

  16. I refuse to buy my kids a cell phone or an iPod, so it’s a good thing that these items aren’t on their Christmas lists. Last weekend, my mother asked me to put some gift ideas for them on my Amazon wish list. I posted a movie and a video game for each kid, plus the popular Blokus game and a kit for building your own electronics.

    The electronics kit sounds wonderful.
    Bravo on nixing the cell phone/Ipod.
    Sounds like your children know you well.
    ~m

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