TAKE ON TOPICS
Sometimes we got some cool boy toys such as U-Haul trucks and trailers, these were great for when Barbie wanted to move. One year we got huge plastic Greyhound buses. They weren’t meant to ride on. We rode them anyway. The buses were so much fun speeding down the driveway ramping the ditch!
I thought I would share what some of the popular toys over the years have been. You may be surprised at how long some of our favorites today have been around.
In the 1920s there was the introduction of the Teddy Bear, the Raggedy Ann Doll, and Crayola Crayons. Die cast metal cars and airplanes were mass produced as toys. The yo-yo was first put on the shelves in 1929.
In the 1930s the depression had started and there were few who could afford something new and expensive. But dozens of toys and games were still developed. Forbes Magazine named the 3-D view master the biggest toy of the decade. This was also the golden age of Comic Books that exploded in 1938 with Action Comics and Superman. Tons of x-ray glasses were sold and hand held radios. These were advertised on the backs of comic books. In 1939 the Scarlett O’Hara doll was made by Madam Alexander. It was the first movie character made into a doll. Monopoly, Sorry, and Scrabble were all invented in the 1930s.
The 1940s saw more board games such as Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and Clue. One of my all time favorites comes from the 1940s and it was an accident. A General Electric engineer was trying to create synthetic rubber and ended up with a strange substance that bounced and stretched. It was of no use in engineering but what a great toy, Silly Putty. I remember rubbing it on the comics in the newspaper pulling the pictures off onto the silly putty. The Tonka Trucks boomed onto the scene in the decade.
The 1950s saw something new and it was television advertising. As television grew in popularity and more homes purchased them, the programming expanded to include children and family style shows.
In 1952 the first toy advertised on TV was Mr. Potato Head. It made four million dollars in the first year.
There was an Australian exercise ring made of bamboo that a small toy company called Wham-O saw. Wham-O made the hoop out of plastic and introduced the Hula-Hoop in 1958. It was an instant success. The Ant Farms (1956), Frisbees (1957) and the Barbie Doll (1959) hit the market and have never stopped.
In the 1960s toys started including electricity and more complex parts. The Easy Bake Oven was released in 1963. The board game Operation was developed. Etch-A-Sketch made its debut in 1960 and the party game Twister in 1966. First released in 1964 was the GI Joe doll, it was one of the biggest successes of the decade after military operations and the Vietnam era.
In the 1970s the Rubiks Cube baffled and confused children and adults. It was one of the all ages friendly toys and another one was the skateboard (1975). Girls still love Barbie dolls but now they could add cars, fashion clothes and much more. Other popular toys were Crissy and Velvet Dolls, matchbox cars, slot car racer kits. The early electronic game of Pong started making the rounds.
The 1980s saw what can only be described as a mass hysteria for new toys. In 1983 there was a shortage of Cabbage Patch Dolls, it was one of the biggest pop culture crazes of all time. Trivial Pursuit appeared in 1983 and is still played today. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was also a huge craze. After a failed start by Atari, the Nintendo home video game console took off.
The 1990s we saw Roller Blades, Beanie Babies, Tickle Me Elmo, and the Nintendo Gameboy sold millions of units.
In the 2000s kids were dominated by technology with Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Handheld consoles like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS meant kids never have to be without their game fix, while the iPods and mobile phones have taken over the kids eight and up.
Only time will tell what this decades top selling toys will be. I am willing to bet it includes some major technology.
Until next week…