Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Toys 2!

I'm still convinced that the toys of today stink.  They just STINK.  They're WAY overpriced, and so cheaply constructed.  Plus, the accessories that come with various play sets are usually so tiny, that it's nearly impossible NOT to lose them.  Then the kid is left with some half-shell that's supposed to be a fairy house, but all of the fun stuff that's supposed to go in it is GONE. 

Another problem I have is that every doll has to be UBER STYLISH, and wears 50 times more makeup than I did back in the 80's.  Yeah, I thought I was totally wicked when I matched my orangey brown eyeshadow to my orangey brown lipstick when I was 13.  Then I headed off to the roller rink with my super feathered hair. 

But we're not talking about bad 80's style, we're talking about TOYS!  Mostly we're talking about toys, because my sister (who is something of a toy ADDICT), didn't get her fill the first time we gabbed about toys (Toys!).

If you have young children, chances are you have a house full of toys.  You have toys under your couch right now, a few on your dresser (grrr!), in the bathroom, on the kitchen table.  There are probably some forgotten friends under your deck (if you have one, and scattered around the yard, black and filthy from being out there all winter.  I'll bet you have a box down the basement filled with toys--some of them with the battery panels permanently fused on thanks to corroded batteries that you forgot to take out.  You probably had to buy something that looked like a piece of furniture for your living room, but is actually a secret toy box, because you gave up a long time ago on carting those toys back to the kid's room every night. 

Blech.  See?  You HATE toys now too!  But you didn't USED TO HATE TOYS.  No, they used to be awesome!  Remember:

Fisher Price Little People

Remember those lovable little peg people?  They fit so comfortably in your little hand, and their over-simplified shape was so pleasing to the eye.  Plus, they rolled down the ramps of their carports with such clunkety goodness, and they could be fired like little missiles at your siblings.  And they had so many fun places to live and hang out! 

image from HERE

Image from HERE

image from HERE

remember the "bratty" little people?


Did you have the Sesame Street set too? (image from here)

Did you have the houseboat, the carport or the school house???
Weren't the Little People of way back then AWESOME?  Don't you love their pleasing, armless/legless shape? 

And then, they RUINED THEM!  They?  Was it Fisher Price, or was it US--the new generation of super paranoid parents?  You know--our generation who did away with teeter-totters at parks and probably decided that the old fashioned Little People were the perfect size to plug up a wind pipe?  Or maybe someone at a board-room table decided that they weren't exciting enough for the kids of today, so they tried to cutesy them up.  And then this is what we have now:

what?!?  They're not fun little peg folk anymore!  these new little people SUCK!!!  (sad image from HERE)
Bah.  I have nothing more to say about the modern Little People.  I have a few sets gathering dust in the basement that neither of my kids particularly gave a crap about. 


image from HERE
Did everybody get this as a present back in the 70's/80's?  It seems a bit lame now maybe, but it was super cool then.  You got your set of coloured pens, you stuck them in, and whirled your way to geometric art bliss.  Good times!

Strawberry Shortcake

Follow this link for more Strawberry Shortcake toys!
image from HERE
I don't know about you, but I actually salivate when I look at this vintage 1980's Strawberry shortcake.  Do I salivate because she smelled so yummy-nummy?  No, I salivate with the kind of itching greedy need that only a former doll lover, and nostalgia enthusiast can.  This doll made a reappearance in toy stores this past Christmas.  I didn't buy one.  And then they almost immediately DISAPPEARED.  Sniff! 

Strawberry Shortcake was super popular.  She had her own (horrid) cartoon series and everything.  She and her adorable, giant-head friends all smelled fantastic.  They were cute and charming, and had some pretty fun play sets:

Image From HERE
The Berry Bake Shop!  I TOTALLY HAD THIS.  Look!  Look how fun!  Even if you're a guy, surely you would have loved to get in there and make your own plastic berry pies?  Pretend to grow some strawberries?  And then, when you were all done playing, you could just fold it up and turn it back into a giant Strawberry.  Genius.

Strawberry has made a reappearance on the toy shelves in the past few years, and she comes in a variety of sizes.  Let's see what she looks like now:

Image from HERE
Hey!  She's no longer cute and plucky and charming!  Instead she has to be more STYLIE (as my daughter would say) with super long hair, because noone can just look like a freaking kid anymore. 

Blech.  Let's move on.


There aren't many boys that I know, whose brains weren't LIT ON FIRE after the first Star Wars Movie came out in 1977.  The Man is still an utter fanatic for the stuff, and even has some toys in good condition down the basement.  Yeah, I loved the original movies too, but I think I only yearned for a Princess Leia out of all those toys.  Barbie, however, was queen of my heart.  Anyhow, I'm mostly tired of trying to understand the appeal of  Boba Fett, and have noticed that Star Wars is on some channel nearly constantly these days, but whatever, this ones for the boys.

Image From HERE

My brother had this Star Wars game.  It was completely confusing, and we tried to play it a few times, but never really understood what the hell we were supposed to do: 

"Um, I think we're supposed to have a 'dogfight.' now" 
- "oookay...what do we do?"
"We each have to roll these dice."
-"Okay.  Who won?"
"I don't know."

Yeah, great game. 

Image from HERE
Look! It's the big, plastic Dart Vader head that opens up to become a carrying case for all your cool action figures!  Hands up if you had a JAWA!  Anyone?  Anyone? 

Image from HERE
I was going to post a pic of that plastic HOTH WORLD playset that most of you boys had, but I felt the life being sucked out of me, and opted instead for the Princess Leia doll!  Oh, don't make that face at me!  My brother and The Man have both killed me a bit on Star Wars--ESPECIALLY The Man. 

Barbie and Her Fabulous Accessories

Superstar Barbie 1977 YO
were you lucky enough to have the camper?
 Okay, see that Barbie right there in the pink dress and boa?  THAT my friends, is SUPERSTAR BARBIE.  I lurv her.  I heart her.  I wish I had one in my greasy mitts right now. I love her chincy plastic "diamond" necklace (which would typically be lost within a week), that little diamond ring that you pop into the hole drilled in her plastic hand.  I liked her pink strappy shoes, but OHMYLORD those shoe "clasps" were impossible for little hands to master.  I love her "satin" dress.  Sigh.  She's the one who got away people...weep with me a little...


Anyhoo, there are, of course, far too many Barbies to picture here.  But how about her accessories??? 

Image from HERE

Look!  It's SUPERSTAR BARBIE again!  This, my friends, is the Barbie Superstar Stage show.  It came out in 1978, and did it also have a cheesy little record to go with it?  Well, at any rate, you clicked Barbie and Ken's legs into the holders, and they twirled and danced around the platform, getting stuck at bit in that one corner all the time, while the stage motor made this rather loud "RRRR...RRRRR...RRRR" noise. 

Image from HERE

image from HERE

Okay, could Ken technically be counted as one of Barbie's "accessories?"  Well, I had Sport & Shave Ken, and he was right on.  First of all, he was HANDSOMER, than blonde Ken, and he came with a special marker to draw a beard on his face, which you would then "shave" off with the little sponge razor.  Good times!  Not as good times as Barbie though.  I think Barbie was married to Sport & Shave Ken for a little while, but then, tragically, she had an affair with G.I. Joe. 

She-ra Princess Of Power

Image from HERE

Image from HERE

My sister had a ton of She-ra related dolls.  Incidentally, that cartoon has JUST recently returned to television--on a retro cartoon channel.  And guess what?!  IT'S HORRIBLE.  No, there are no words to convey how truly FREAKING LAME that cartoon is/was. 

"The Evil Forces of Hordak."  Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?

Okay, my sis used to have the Crystal Castle, or Crystal Palace or whatever it was called, and she was wondering if it was actually as good as she remembers it being, or if it was lame.  Let's google it...

image from HERE

 Lame or be the judge.

If you'd like to read more about She-ra, and her twin brother He-man (honestly people...does anyone else just find this ridiculous?) click HERE!

Lite Brite

Image from HERE

Tell me you didn't FREAK OUT when you got Lite Brite for a present when you were a kid, and I'll tell you I SIMPLY DON'T BELIEVE YOU.  Lite Brite--its awesomeness speaks for itself.  Little colourful glass pegs are popped through the black paper to create magical, rainbow, lit-up art!  Awesome!  Or, at least it was awesome until you ran out of those pre-measured black pieces of paper  that you needed to make a truly great picture.  You tried to substitute a piece of lined paper but it never ever fit properly, and when you tried to punch the peg through, it got all rippy and...


I'm sorry.  It's just too difficult to talk about

Creepy Toys

image from HERE

Okay, who remembers The Visible Man???  I found this "educational" toy fascinating as a kid.  Apparently this is a model that you actually had to put together yourself, and then you could stare in horror and fascination through the Visible Man's clear, and see all his grody organs!  Yeah!!!  And then what the hell would you do with it?  Did the Visible Man date Barbie?  Was he displayed lovingly on a dresser?  Yeah, I don't know either. 

Pulsar: The Ultimate Man of Adventure
Dig this:

(from Wikipedia)

"Pulsar: The Ultimate Man of Adventure was an action figure for boys made by Mattel in 1976. Pulsar was a 14" action figure looked like a handsome middle aged man with short white hair. However once you opened his sweat suit top it revealed that his entire torso was clear plastic which allowed viewing of his internal organs. There was a button on his back that when depressed would make his lungs and heart pump and force simulated blood through some simulated arteries and veins in the body cavity."WTF?!? 

image from HERE

Oh well, props to Mattel for coming up with something so bizarrely unique. I wonder what the Bakugan-loving kids of today would do if they unwrapped this bad boy at Christmas.

So, toys used to be so fun. You were a kid once, and you loved toys just as much as the next kid. And then you grew up, and had kids of your own, and your house filled up with this crap, and it kinda looked a lot like this :

image from HERE

Yeah, not so fun anymore, is it?

Now it's YOUR TURN!  Tell me your fun toy memories, and which modern toys you hate the most!  Do you have a special loathing for that over-priced Thomas the Train crap?  Or, do you get all fired up just thinking about Monster High dolls?  Let's talk. 

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  1. i can totally relate to the 'furniture' that houses the many many toys! anyhooo...i loved loved loved little people when i was a kid. i got the castle for christmas one year, i liked it so much,that my mom had to try to convince me to open more toys!unfortunately my bratty younger cousin got ahold of it and scribbled all over it in marker,oh the horror! i am still slightly mad at her to this day!of course barbies rocked my world too, my faves were "golden dream"barbie,she came with a plastic curling iron,so you could curl the hair that was infused with gold wire. those were the good old days!and yes i was an only child so i did get the camper,i loved that too,but it took 3 adults like 7 hours to put it together,by the time i got to play with it, it had lost some of its wow factor!i,ll let someone else write now.

  2. Paula--wonderful memories! I had forgotten about Golden dreams barbie--and I even had her! Remember when Barbie came out with her own pet dog...what was that dog..oh yeah, an Afghan! Aren't they supposed to be on the bottom of the list, intelligence wise?

    ooo...I would have been upset over the castle defacement too.

  3. Toys. I was never lucky enough to have little people, but, I played with the neighbor kids.

    I played with them til I was 10 years old.

    My favorite was dolls though. I loved dolls.

    I had a tea set that the coffee in the coffe pot disapeared when you tipped it over. I was dumb enough to bring the set to the "fort" across the street and ran home to get something and the neighbor kids stole it and when I came back she was gone with my coffee pot set.
    I spied on her through her kitchen window playing with it.

    When I went to the door to tell her parents she stole it, the burly scary biker looking dad told me she didn't steal nothin.
    I said I saw her play with it through the window. Then he slammed the door in my face.

    I was devasted. My mother could have cared less and did nothing.

    Those crummy people moved away with my coffee disapearing set...and I am devasted to this day.

    I had a huge facination with the baby bottles that had disapearing milk too.

    I may have had rotten parents, but, they felt guilty enough to shower me with awesome toys. At least my dad did anyways.

    One year I got a cool red and white typwriter that was real and worked. I usually got everything I asked for...

  4. Hey Karen it is me melissa I accidnetly signed in under my kids satin sashes.

  5. Oh--Melissa! I was wondering if it ws Paula's son typing that up for a minute...

    What a tragic story! Jerk neighbours!!! How is it that some people are SO BRUTAL?!?

    Ugh. Anyhow, I too had a fascination with the milk that disappeared in the baby bottles. I could not figure it out. I've never seen a coffee pot like that, but now I have to google it!

  6. i was a doll kid myself, but i wasn't allowed to have barbies for very long because i got caught taking their clothes off them & making them get busy with ken. then it was bye-bye barbie for me.
    my whole house looks like that picture of a horrible playroom some days cuz i'd rather deal with that than deal with making the girls clean it up. she's an only child who's homeschooled & home all the time, so we tend to get her too much stuff to keep her occupied at home. it works, but it's messy!

  7. yeah, messy is right, but there is something so satisfying about watching a kid in the middle of a pile of toys having a wonderful time.

    Yeah, we all did that with Barbie and Ken, didn't we. Oh, I wonder if everyone did that...

  8. Wow! Great collection on the post! - I didn't have a lot of toys, but I did have the camper.
    Barbie - not my kind of gal, just liked her ride : ). These days, there are so many toys! Lego sets? Love them. Overpriced Thomas? Yes! I love it if it lasts. Not the cheap plastic ones, the HO gauge electric or the wooden are my favorites. Barbie wasn't tough enough for me (she smiled to much, but Toy Story did a great spoof on that face!)

  9. Ooo--you had the camper! I SO wanted that camper. Ah well. Yeah, Lego is still HUGELY popular, but it's so freaking expensive! It would be hard to just do a little blurb on Lego--it would require an entire post I think!

  10. Little People!! We used to play with Little People for hours every day!!! I still have my Seasme Street house (2 of them actually) and i am a bad mom...i let my kids play it! along with the chokable "old" little people...They do have the "new" Little People...Coco LOVES LOVES LOVES Little Poeple..but it is soo expensive! Between Aim, Tam and I, we havea whole little people village! It was awesome!!! I loved the castle!
    Oh and barbies...again, another thing we would play with for hours and hours every day ( ah to be kid in the summer time!) And again between Aim, Tam and I, we had soo much barbie stuff! We use to make a Barbie house in your mom rock garden...or on your deck and use the table as the house..good times! Barbie and the Rockers were the popular ones at the time! Aim (or was it yours?) even had the MJ barbie doll..good times! I loved your Barbie collection...all the Holiday ones that you had on display on your room. I WANTED TO PLAY WITH THOSE BARBIES!!
    Another "toy" that we loved so much was Charmkins (sp) tiny tiny little dolls with a tiny little house...
    Oh and lego! e all loved playing with lego! But apparently, (according to Aim and Tam) I wasnt "good" at playing with alot of my lego playing was spent with my dad, while Aim and Tam would play with their lego on your deck...true storey! hahaha
    Or what about the Pogo Ball! What a great way to have your child sent to the ER!!! I got hurt on that thing so many times!! I believe Aims is still between our houses!! I think they are banned now...little death traps they were, but SOOOO much fun!
    But ya know what...the most fun i remember having as a kid...had nothing to do with was when all the neighbourhood kids would play hide and seek when it got dark out...or playing Devil!! Did you ever play Devil at our house?? That was a great game! I cant wait to teach it to Ben!

  11. YA see what happens when I do this at work...I get distracted!!
    She-Ra!!!! I loved Aim's castle...It was soo pretty! Looked like pink ice! I wanted to live in that thing!! I remember playing with She-ra and her gang!
    And who didnt love Strawberry Shortcake...I remember the Lemon mostly..and the dog...even the dog smelled good. Now, please correct if me if I am worng here...but teh bake shop was yours right??? We NEVER played with it when you were not home...nope we didnt.
    About 3 months ago, my parents were looking for soemthing in their basement and found...our old LITEBrights!! Complete with 1000000000 of those little pegs!! AND soem unused sheets!! So, they called Ben over...turns out...its still a hit. I went on ebay adn bought soem more sheets for it...thank you to teh peeps out there selling these forgtten things! So...Litebright has come back into my life and so fun watching my boy enjoying a simple little toy...until he spilled the HUGE can of pegs al over the place UGH!
    Stil fun! Me love toys!

  12. Peter had the bestest toys!!! Me and Diane both remember how much we loved playing with all Peter's little people sets. He had it all!! Your mom was the best at buying. He had a few different series and I can still see them in his little room on the main floor!! Oh good days. My mom never bought the stuff to go with Barbie I had to be creative and use things from my room. I remember you had a lot to go with Barbie like a tub that filled with water...which i overfilled.
    Thanks for the memories Karen. My Sam would have loved Peter's little people sets!!

  13. is it just me, or was everything in thw 70's grungy looking? the boxes the toys came in look kind of gross. yes barbie and ken were always gettin'it on at my house too!

  14. **confession**
    Barbie adn Ken (or the MJ doll) were getting it on when too...I am pretty sure that how we taugh our younger friend about horrid is that??
    So, not too long ago, my husband and i were shopping and found in the toy dept "Barbie and Ken Together at last" dolls...for $5 both Barbie and Ken...I was going to buy it for my niece for her birthday...but then thought...hmmm...I dont want my sweet little neice to do dirty things with them....i put them back on the shelf.

  15. Gee Steph--I can't remember if I ever played Devil, but I certainly remember hide n seek! Those were great toy memories you provided. I totally remember Barbie & the rockers (and the super gay song that went along with it). I also remember Jem (Gem?) and charmkins! I wanted to fit charmkins in there but I felt like it was getting to be a long post!

    Yeah, I loved setting up a spot in the back yard as Barbie's or some other doll's house. I used to plunk my little people A-frame down beside a young cedar tree, so it looked like The A-frame was in cottage country.

    I guess that's why they got rid of those little people: fear of choking. I wonder if that was a problem...

  16. Yes,the berry bake shop was mine. That thing was awesome. That's great that you found your old lite brite! It's even better that you managed to find more of those black sheets of paper!!! Otherwise, lite brite sucked.

    I remember for Jen's b-day party one year (were you born yet??? must have been a baby), I picked out a "Sandy Seaweed" doll. Or was it Sandy Seawee...anyhow, she was a little mermaid who fit into her own "lily pad" sponge. I was sooooooooo wanting to keep that present. Then my mom bought me my own.

    I think I remember pogo ball! Death-trap toys!!

  17. yes Pam--if only we still had them! My mom was NOT one for keeping stuff!!! I didn't have a lot of proper Barbie furniture--just stuff I scrounged from here and there, and a crocheted couch my Aunt had made that always fell over when you tried to sit a doll on it

  18. Paula--the 70's was a grungy era: all brown and green and earthy, with staticky hair and an itchy sweater.

    Hey--say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MATT for me. He's sworn of technology, and I've forgotten how we used to send birthday wishes way back in the olden days. Har har har

  19. yeah but Steph, maybe every girl does dirty things with Barbie and Ken...Still, Ken was a necessity, even if he was slightly lame, and nobody ever wanted to buy new outfits for HIM

  20. SANDY SEAWEWD!! OMG! Yes i was born, but i was little...not to little to remember wanting to play withit in the bath tub! My mom..or maybe Grandma ? bought me my own...ya know what??? Sandy Seaweed is still kickin around...thier hair is a bit...well...gross...just down right gross....and thir tails, no longer have color, but they are still in the box of small toys!! (my mom NEVER throws anything out!)
    Thats awesome you remembered that you got that for Jenny!! I had no idea...did the baby mermaid come with it...or did that come separate??

  21. the baby mermaid....maybe it did come with it! I know the Sandy I got for Jen had red hair, and the one I got was blonde. That is fantastic that your Mom kept that stuff! It must be a total treasure trove for your kids! Can't believe you still have it!!!

  22. yes! the mermaid had red hair, and then we have a blond one too (that must have been the one that was bought later) The sponges had long bit teh dust..but we still have 2 mermaids adn one baby left...the other baby has been lost for awhile now...perhaps i should your sister as she had thing with stealing my babies hahahaha (she TRIED to steal my baby Charmkin) too funny.
    It is a nice treat re-discover the long lost toys...Ben is the only one old enough to really enjoy the whole storey of it for now...but what a blast we had going through the pile of junk...i mean toys! I am thinking though that perhaps my mom could be a bit of a hoarder? Still have all of my Barbie stuff, al of my Little People stuff....and loads of old games...I dont remember teh name id it but it was a game that was yellow with a red "game board" on it and you set a timer and you had to put together the puzzle (?) before the timer went off...when the timer went off, teh red baosrd would jump (yaaaa!) and al of your pieces would end up all over the place...yup, we found that one! that what its called?

  23. Steph isn't that game called "Perfection?" I just bought that for my kids a couple of Christmases ago, and then they lost all the pieces in record time, and broke the timer. That game used to scare the crap out of me!

    Ha ha--is your mom a hoarder, or is she just really sentimental???

  24. Thats it!! i was going by my emotions i guess!! It used to scare the snot of me too! So, they still sell this game?? Huh...who knew?
    As for my mom...a bit of both I think...whats even worse? The apple doesnt fall too far from the tree :(

  25. Well, you could be like me, and occasionally go on the odd, rage-filled, RUTHLESS CLEANOUT RAMPAGE...and then regret chucking out a few things months later.

  26. What a great trip back to the 1970s. Thanks.

  27. But dbs--you didn't share what toys you had then! I need to know if Pulsar was your fave toy of your childhood! Ha ha...I kid..I'm really hopped up on coffee right now.

  28. Pulsar: Man of Ultimate Adventure...

    Ultimate indeed. That handsome middle aged man both turns me on and creeps me out. Could be a beautiful relationship!

    Toys rule. I mean, seriously. Others loved were My Little Pony and My Little Sea Horse! I especially loved how over time with playing with the seahorse in the bath it would eventually squirt out black sh** from it's neck seam.

    And Charmkins! I wish Steph would give me all her old toys. :(heheh

  29. Jem and the Misfits! I had a Jem doll! She was a fair bit larger than barbie and her earings flashed when a button was pressed.

    Barbie and the Rockers. LOVED all that makeup caked on her face.

    I had a Michael Jackson doll.... For some time I LOVED him. Didn't he have gold sparkly pants Steph? And a black jacket? LOVED him... until I one day I decided I didn't like Michael Jackson anymore and thought he wasn't so cool. So then he became the bad guy in our games and he did mean things to Barbie. And then one day some neighbour boys came over to play and they took Michael Jackson and kicked him over the fence and I never saw him again. And I remember feeling sad about it but had to play it cool.

    Steph probably remembers that.

  30. Stephy! Good posts!

    DEVIL! The game we INVENTED. We always sabotaged the game so Tammy lost and was devil. hehe Very mean.

    Karen, I just thought of something. You should do a blog about the mean things little kids do. Am I on to something? anyhoo.

  31. Almost forgot about My Little Pony...Coco has a few now! Love them!!
    Yes, Aimee, MJ had gold pants and some kind of jacket...however, I dont think I ever knew the storey of what happened to him...bummer...I knew you lost him...but thats just mean :( I guess no meaner then us ripping the ribbon out of Tammy's New Kids tape...Karen, if ya do a blog on mean things kids do...Aimee and I *could* do alot of confessing ;)
    I seem to remember your Jem doll...but ya know what i LOVED the most?? Your Barbie Heart Family...with the Mom and the Dad and the 2 kids and the Grandma and Grandpa!! Love them!
    hahaha about the black sh** coming out of your bath toy...well, its not very funny, but mae me laugh....happened to me too!

  32. LOL, sister, LOL. Neck seam! Pulsar love! AH HA HA HA HA HA! wonderful!

    Another huge LOL @ your MJ doll too. Poor Michael.

    Yeah, that would be a good post idea. I'll search the memory box..

  33. Steph! The HEART FAMILY! Another fine memory! Okay, well if you're dying to confess your sins, I'll add that topic to my think pad :)

  34. Thank you for posting a picture of Superstar Barbie from 1977. That was my first Barbie.

  35. Thanks for posting a picture of Superstar Barbie from 1977. It was my first Barbie, and I love seeing her again!

    1. No problem, Sheena! Thanks for reading :) That stupid Barbie made such an impression on me!


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