I was reading @burghbaby’s post the other day about 80s toys and how they have led to many failures in life and my first thought was “I’m old”. No really. Because I didn’t have toys in the 80s – I had toys in the 70s When 80’s kids were playing with Strawberry Shortcake, we 70s kids were taking drinking beer in a barn somewhere. When 80s kids were playing with Cabbage Patch Dolls, we 70s kids were taking the SATs. When 80s kids were playing with Transformers, we 70s kids were researching birth control (by which I mean NOT researching birth control – teens are notoriously stupid). And while 80s toys may have caused failure, 70s toys were known to maim and kill. For instance:
Click-Clacks (or Clackers, Klackers, etc):
They were 2 hard acrylic balls on strings that you would hang on your finger. Then, you’d move your hand up & down and they would “clack” against each other loudly. It was quite fun until you hit yourself in the face with them and broke your orbital bone.
This one was only dangerous when you inevitably got it in the carpet and your mom lost her mind.
This was one of my favorite toys as a child. It was two long nylon ropes threaded through a football-shaped hard plastic ball. At the four rope ends there were handles that each player would hold. You would spread your hands apart, which would send the ball “streaking” towards the other player, who would them send it back. The object of this game seemed to be to get that thing going as fast as possible and catch your opponent off-guard so it would slam against their hands and hopefully break some fingers.
This was a snow cone maker. You froze a block of ice and then used a bird with a scary ass grater on the bottom to shave the ice. I don’t know about you, but I have shaved off my knuckles a ton of time while grating cheese, etc. Cheese is soft, and this grater was strong enough to grate ice.
Suzy Homemaker Oven:
This was similar to the easy bake oven, but it was more awesome, because instead of sliding the cake in a slot, it opened up like a real oven. This meant you could cook whatever you wanted – not just those little bullshit easy-bake cakes. This toy wasn’t super dangerous in and of itself (other than the fact that an oven for children = burns, but it became dangerous when my friend Sue and I cooked up one too many nasty-assed concoctions and my grandma started making us eat them. That? Was deadly.
Oh how I loved my Creepy Crawler maker (I had a thing for a lot of “boy toys” – I had about 5 slot car sets). This was a toy that allowed you to make your own rubber-like bugs, by pouring a liquid “goop” into die-cast molds. But see – the metal molds on this thing heated up to approximately 23 thousand degrees. I think I still bear scars from that toy.
These were the same as the creepy Crawlers, only you could eat them. Burns on the hands AND mouth.
This was a plastic paddle that you took in the car. It had different messages that you could flip around and “talk” to other cars. The toy itself wasn’t dangerous, but showing the “Same to You Turkey!” or “Get Off My Tail” to the wrong person could get your ass kicked. Not to mention that the rest of them where in the “You’re Cute”/”Hot To Trot”/”Let’s Park” vein and could get you molested.
That shit had to be toxic.
I loved this with a passion. You sat in the middle and “pedaled” with your arms. This definitely wasn’t as dangerous as some of the other toys I owned – it didn’t heat up, or explode, or shoot your eye out, but you sat so low to the ground that no car could ever see you. And it had no brakes, so riding it down a hill pulled your arms off and sent you crashing into the neighbor’s bushes. Not that I’d know anything about that.
It’s like they wanted us dead. Irwin Mainway would be proud.
But as dangerous as the 70s toys were, it was even worse for the 60s kids. My Aunt Cee, who is a few years older than me, got this for Christmas one year:
That, my friends is a real, working grill. To cook burgers on. Somehow my aunt managed not to get 3rd degree burns or set the house on fire. But that may have been because she never really “got” the toy. It was intended to be a Christmas present, but she went snooping and found it before Santa could put it under the tree. Then she proceeded to open it, head down to the fridge for some ground meat, and cook up a burger and eat it. Then, being a child, it never occurred to her to clean the thing before she put it back in the box. Needless to say, when Santa was doing the wrapping, he smelled the telltale smell of cooked meat and got suspicious. Strangely, the box never appeared under the tree.
I could go on forever listing these – like the one I can’t remember the name of which was a silly-putty like substance in bright colors that you would throw against the wall and it would stick. My family was dangerous with that stuff – things got broken, people got beamed in the head. Good times.
Tell me – what was your favorite 60s-70s toy? And was it dangerous?