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. To provide some balance, a quaint little cartoon airs each year, serving as a reminder that other aspects of Christmas might be more worthy of celebration. Continue reading...

Aggravation

Aggravation

It's always been hard to find that "family game" balance. Make it too hard, the little tykes wouldn't get it. Make it too easy, and nobody else would want to play with the little tykes. But sometimes, that rare game got it right. Take, for example, the case of Aggravation, a board game marketed by Lakeside that bore a striking resemblance to the ancient game of Parcheesi. 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...

Alpha-Bits

Alpha-Bits

Waging war against illiteracy, one bowl at a time, Alpha-Bits are the alphabet soup of the breakfast table. Introduced by Post cereals in 1958, they quickly won the hearts of kids everywhere who loved the sweet taste, not to mention the ability to spell words in their cereal bowl. 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...

Andes Mints

Andes Mints

One look at an Andes mint and it becomes clear that this elegant candy isn't marketed towards children. Individually-wrapped in green foil, these luxurious little rectangles of minty chocolate are typically found in upscale restaurants and atop hotel pillows. They almost look too sophisticated to eat, but that hasn't stopped many a curious kid from grabbing a few from the fancy candy dish when nobody was looking. 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...