Time Warp Toy Box ’09 – Part 3
For our third and final week of Time Warp Toy Box for the 2009 holiday season, I wanted to focus on some of the more bizarre playthings I have encountered in my research. Please note that all of the items shown here really were marketed as children’s toys at one time or another although I have a feeling most of them did not last very long.
Sesame Street isn’t all that strange but some of the items licensed from it have shown some, shall we say, interesting judgment. Since 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the public television series that taught multiple generations their ABC’s, I couldn’t resist tossing out this little gem for Christmas. Bert and Ernie are two of the most easily identifiable characters from the show and the dolls shown here are very nice likenesses of the duo. What I don’t get is why they were given a car as an accessory and, even weirder, why it is made of trash. I watched Sesame Street for years and I don’t recall Bert and Ernie ever living in a junkyard or driving. Now Oscar the Grouch lived in a garbage can and loved trash so maybe these Muppet motorists hot wired his ride? I would have loved to have seen young children inspired by this car building their own junk jalopies and cruising into oncoming traffic! This week’s Time Warp Toy Box has been brought to you by the letter Y and the numbers 9-1-1!
Here another pair of kid’s toys that just crack me up every time I see them. Freddie Fumble looks like he just spotted his bookie in the stands after failing to pay off on his last few losing wagers but the real star here is his pal Bean Ball Barney. This was supposed to be a skill building toy where children were rewarded with comical antics if they scored a direct hit on Barney’s hat or belt buckle. What it actually did was teach pint size pitchers the unspoken golden rule of baseball – always aim for the head or the groin! Of course this lesson could be extended outside the ball field to the playground or any other area where there were balls to be thrown and hit! I am sure there is more than one little league or mighty mites coach out there who wishes Bean Ball Barney had never been created and still has the limp to prove it!
Wow, remember how cool it was as a kid to have your very own radio? It may have only received AM reception but with a rotary tuning dial and built-in antenna, we were styling! It was a natural progression to develop portable character radios for kids and the Snoopy and Mickey Mouse ones pictured here actually look pretty cool by 70’s standards. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our old friend Bullwinkle J. Moose. It is obvious that the artist failed to do his research here. I was a big fan of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and I can tell you for a fact that, while he was none too bright, Bullwinkle did not have brain damage. He also wasn’t an avid swimmer either. The poor design must also be why he is the cheapest of all three radios.
There are a lot of times when I really miss the 1970’s but then sometimes I don’t. Take this doll advertisement that I am tossing in for the Fangirls who read this column. I wasn’t even going to include the doll on the left, but Kathy Quaalude here looks so stoned I couldn’t resist. Talking Drowsy may say eleven “sleepy things” but one of them should have been “what did you put in my milk?” This entry is supposed to be all about Cuddly Tamu, an African-American baby doll who says eighteen “modern” phrases like “cool it baby” and “can you dig it?” She also sports a stylish afro and, if you read the ad closely, a blue and yellow dress. I think the same genius who designed the Bullwinkle radio must have written this description. In the interest of upholding the lofty standards of this fine publication, I am not even going to speculate on what the other sixteen expressions this dated dolly exclaims might be but I will offer a cash reward to anyone who has one in working condition and can fill us in. Can you dig it?
Our final entry in this year’s Time Warp Toy Box may not have been bizarre but was certainly frustrating. As a kid, it seemed like a great idea to have a gas powered airplane. Who didn’t want to be the envy of everyone else on the block while flying your B-52 Bomber through the neighbor’s trees? What the ads don’t mention is that these pitiful planes took fifteen minutes to jump start off a D-Cell battery and then flew for all of about sixty seconds. Actually, they only flew in the most academic sense of the word. You had to hold them by a guide string and they would travel in a circle two or three times before they burned through the half an ounce of gas in their tanks. That was on a good day too! Sometimes they just would not start at all or they would conk out almost as soon as they did thanks to the easily clogged engine. While never mentioned anywhere in the instruction manual, most kids figured out very quickly that a lit piece of paper stuffed in a full gas tank was the most entertainment they were going to get out of these planes!
That’s it for Time Warp Toy Box 2009 but be here next week for the second annual A Very Fanboy Christmas!