A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

It’s virtually impossible to avoid the tidal wave of commercialism that accompanies each holiday season, sending shoppers scurrying to the nearest department store to empty their wallets. Perhaps to provide some counterbalance, a quaint little cartoon airs each year, serving as a reminder that other aspects of Christmas might be more worthy of celebration. A favorite since it first aired in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas has touched the hearts of millions of television viewers with its back-to-basics approach to Christmas. Its enduring success stems from its charming simplicity, endearing characters, and an infectious, jazz-laced musical score that replays in one’s memory long after the cartoon’s conclusion. Join us as we take a look back at this beloved classic. Continue reading...

Air Blaster Gun

Air Blaster Gun

When a toy is yanked from store shelves after a relatively short run, it is usually for one of two reasons – it is either unpopular or unsafe. And perhaps not surprising to anyone, the unsafe ones are often pretty popular at the time they are pulled. Such was the case with the Wham-O Air Blaster, a toy with endless possibilities, some of them relatively dangerous. Let’s take a look back at this fondly-remembered toy that came and went with a bang. Continue reading...

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Alvin and the Chipmunks

When Ross Bagdasarian changed his name to David Seville, sped up his recorded voice, and released the single, “The Chipmunk Song,” he never could have fathomed the enormous popularity that would follow. Over a half-century later, his trio of Chipmunks – Alvin, Simon and Theodore – are still going strong, appearing in feature films and delighting young audiences with their squeaky voices and irrepressible charm. Let’s take a look back. Continue reading...

Ants in the Pants

Ants in the Pants

Few wonders of nature captivate a child quite as much as the insect world, and don't think that this magnetic attraction didn't catch the attention of toy manufacturers. Beating the big boys to the punch was the Schaper Company, who practically cornered the market on bug-based games. Continue reading...

Apple Jacks

Apple Jacks

Neither flavored like apples nor shaped like jacks, Apple Jacks is similar to (and to some palettes, indistinguishable from) its more famous Kelloggsian cousin, Froot Loops. The crunchy little orange and green multigrain O's, famous for their sweetened non-apple taste, nevertheless remain a popular breakfast cereal among the all-important "children" group. Continue reading...

ArmyMenFinal

Army Men

Some say it’s hard to keep a good man down. Nothing more true could be said about Army Men: green plastic soldiers fixed to a molded base, which stand defiant in the face of oppression, tyranny, and latent childhood aggression - as they have for over fifty years. Let's take a look back at these valiant toy servicemen from yesteryear. Continue reading...

atropop

Astro Pop

The Space Age was in full swing after World War II. Swift technological progress and widespread economic growth gave birth to a culture in love with rockets, space stations, and dreams of life on the moon. Every kid wanted to be an astronaut, and every week, a new toy or TV show was there to feed that dream.Spangler Candy of Bryan, Ohio, (founded in 1906) met this demand with the snazzy, rocket-shaped Astro Pop. This lollipop, a thin inverted cone of hard candy on stick, suggested a three-stage rocket: a red cherry-flavored lower section, a dark green lime middle, and a long yellow tip of lemon. Continue reading...

Astronaut Food

Astronaut Food

Throughout most of the 20th century, it was no secret that dreams of space travel captured the hearts and imaginations of just about every tyke in existence. As the 60s arrived and astronauts started venturing out into this unexplored territory, one particular area of interest was the food that the astronauts took with them. And realizing some serious marketing potential here, numerous manufactures decided to give young consumers a taste of what these brave explorers were munching in their zero gravity environment. Continue reading...