Barbie

Barbie doll

Perhaps the best word to describe the iconic children’s toy, known simply as Barbie, is “invincible.” In the battle waged to win the hearts and minds of little girls (and more than a few boys) everywhere, the toy battleground is littered with thousands of battered beauties, all whom failed to knock this iconic princess from her lofty pedestal. In name recognition alone, real people like Princess Diana and Mother Theresa don’t hold a candle to Barbie, a doll that, for over the past five decades, always seems to emerge unscathed and ready to show the world why she is the queen of style, the princess of fashion, and the most beloved toy that perhaps the world has ever known. Continue reading...

Barrel of Monkeys

Barrel of Monkeys

All games would like you to believe that they are oodles of fun to play, but only one can boast that it is as fun as a barrel of monkeys? In fact, it is a Barrel of Monkeys! And for over four decades, kids have played with these interlocking primates for hours on end in this endearing and enduring game that tests one’s patience and coordination like no other. Continue reading...

Baseball Games

arcade baseball games

More than a half-century before anyone would ever know what a video game was, pinball games reigned supreme in the local arcade and enjoyed a long and colorful history that continues today. But another game emerged back in the 30s, one called a “pitch and bat.” Unlike traditional pinball, these games operated by firing a ball from the center of the machine. Players would hit the ball with the help of some mechanical apparatus and “bat” the ball back towards a plethora of targets and indentations within the playing surface. Continue reading...

Batman

Batman

There have never been any shortage of superhero-based shows on television, but none are quite as fondly remembered as Batman, which debuted in 1965 on ABC. Endearingly campy, and filled to the brim with colorful characters, handy gadgets and impressive vehicles, Batman provided all the cliff-hanging adventure that any comic book fan could ever hope for. Continue reading...

Battleship

Battleship Game

Strategically place your fleet out of harms way and pray that your number (and letter) doesn’t come up. In the seas of war, torpedoes are flying and coordinates barked at an ever-increasing pace. It’s going to take a little logic and a lot of luck to win this battle, all fought within the confines of dueling plastic L-shaped game boards. This is Milton Bradley's Battleship, “the classic naval combat game!” Continue reading...

Bazooka

Bazooka gum

Okay, so Bazooka gum isn’t the first commercially produced bubble gum, nor is it the first to contain a comic strip on the wrapper. That hasn’t stopped it, however, from becoming an iconic candy for well over a half century. It’s about as American as apple pie and Chevrolet, with its patriotic red, white and blue wrapper and its availability in just about every drug store for a mere penny or two. As a result, it’s mere appearance unfailingly brings back fond memories of childhood to anyone who ever took a moment to read a Bazooka Joe comic or save up a stack of the wrappers to turn them in for a prize. Continue reading...

BB Bats

BB Bats candy

Some candies are so teeth-adhesive that one wonders if a dentist invented them. And while the little rectangular suckers known as BB Bats might not have been invented by one of these white-coat-wearing sadists, they have probably made as many dentists smile as the kids that chomp into them. Continue reading...

Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper

Halloween costumes are a cherished part of childhood, transforming ordinary kids into superheroes, monsters, and celebrities for that one special night at the end of October. While many constructed their own costumes out of old clothes and face makeup, the rest of us relied on a man named Ben Cooper, who offered an entire plethora of choices, each residing in a small cardboard box which contained a plastic mask and accompanying vinyl garment to be worn over street clothes (and winter coats, depending on where you lived). For a child growing up in decades past, picking out a Ben Cooper costume at the local store was one of the most anticipated shopping trips of the year. Continue reading...

Bewitched

Bewitched

Mixed marriages have long provided fodder for sitcoms, but Hollywood really conjured up a winner when they paired an advertising executive with a sweet-hearted sorceress in the long-running sitcom, Bewitched. Debuting in 1964, this beloved series charmed an entire generation with its wonderful casting and witty storylines, and still claims legions of enamored admirers to this day. Continue reading...

Bit-O-Honey

Bit-O-Honey

Chicago has long held a reputation as the candy capitol of the United States. And, in 1924, the Schutter-Johnson Company launched a unique new chew to the windy city, one that would delight children and dentists alike. Christened as the Bit-O-Honey, it was guaranteed to give a kid’s jaw muscles a workout like no other. Continue reading...