Lawn Darts

Lawn Darts

Every once in a while, a toy is released with all of the good intentions of the world, and yet, no matter how popular it may become, an unforeseen safety issue arises which requires that it be removed from store shelves. Few, however, have the dubious distinction of being outlawed completely, which brings us to Lawn Darts - those popular ground-piercing projectiles that sent more than a few tykes to the emergency room back in the day. Let’s take a look. Continue reading...

Drive-in Movies

Drive-in Movies

They may be disappearing from the landscape one-by-one, but Drive-in movies certainly aren’t forgotten. Enormously popular in the 50s and 60s, there were few places that could compete with the local drive-in when it came to a great place to take a date - mainly due to the privacy that an enclosed theater just couldn’t afford. They were also popular with families, providing an affordable night out on a hot summer's night. Continue reading...

Climbing Trees

Climbing Trees

When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, explorer George Mallory famously replied "Because it is there." It's a sentiment understood by practically every kid who ever stared up at a tall tree, determined to perch among its lofty branches and view the world below. In fact, it's quite possible (though we can't prove it) that a childhood tree first inspired Mr. Mallory's lifelong interest in climbing. It seems a reasonable assessment considering this shared fascination we seem to biologically retain towards relaxing atop our forest friends. Continue reading...

Sno-Cone Machines

Sno-Cone Machines

At the end of the day, when playing is over and done with, you put your toys away and then what? You have nothing to show for it, no lasting reminder of a day’s hard work. Manufacturing something while still managing to have fun would well and truly validate your childhood. And if that something was edible, the venture would be win-win. Sno-Cone Machines debuted in 1967 and combined the best attributes of toydom. Brightly colored, shaped like a snowman, noisy, soggy and syrupy, Hasbro’s first sno-cone factory was a guaranteed hit. Continue reading...

Otter Pops

Otter Pops

At the end of the 1960s, technology was advancing at a breathtaking pace; changing the way we lived, giving us hope for the future. No, we’re not referring to the Apollo space program. We’re talking about the far more significant invention of the stick-less popsicle. You probably know these colorful treats by one of two names, Fla-Vor-Ice, or the more common Otter Pops. Continue reading...

Lemonade Stands

Lemonade Stand

The sweltering summer heat is relentless, and if you only had a little spending money, perhaps you could take refuge in a nice cool place like a movie theater. But, how to raise some quick funds when mom and dad won’t fork out a few bucks? Sure, you could take a summer job, mowing the neighbor’s lawn or delivering newspapers, but why risk heat stroke when it was much simpler to build a nice, shady lemonade stand. Continue reading...

Bomb Pops

Bomb Pops

For many a former kid, the arrival of summer coincided with the joyous ringing of faraway bells, ones that signified the approach of a little white truck, filled to the brim with frozen treats. And assuming your parents were generous with their spare change, you would soon come face to face with a vast menu of choices plastered on the side of the truck. With so many items to choose from, a great many gravitated loyally to the most patriotic of Popsicles - the Bomb Pop. Popular for over 50 years now, they have proven that they are as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. Continue reading...

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy

It is the staple food of nostalgia. It’s synonymous with childhood laughter and the days of carefree wonder. And unlike most candy aisle confections, cotton candy is indelibly linked to carnivals, the circus, and any other spectacle designed to fire the imagination of children. Continue reading...

The Ice Cream Man

The Ice Cream Man

It’s the type of conditional reflex that would make Pavlov proud – the ringing of the bells, far off in the distance, with the power to send kids scurrying to their parents in a frenzied attempt to relieve them of any spare cash on hand. After all, those bells signified that ice cream was on its way and time was of the essence. All it took was for mom not to be able to find her purse in time, and that little jingling white truck might just pass by and over to the next block, which meant you would be running your tail off for a tasty treat. Luckily, you weren’t alone; every other kid in the neighborhood had the same response, and chances were good that that the friendly ice-cream entrepreneur would be held up for a few precious moments, while every kid in the household pitched in to help mom find her purse. And, if all went well, you would have a breathless encounter with the ice cream man. Let's take a look at this history of this heroic fellow. Continue reading...

Super Soaker

Super Soaker toy

So many scientists insist upon wasting their time on the boring stuff – medicine, space exploration, computer circuitry. It is the select few, the ones who understand the importance of playtime, that truly make the worthwhile contributions. In the 60s, it was the tireless hours in a laboratory perfecting the Super Ball, simply so that millions of kids could have the opportunity to play with a ball that could bounce over a house. And in the 80s, one brave scientist would re-invent the whole concept of water warfare. Put away those water balloons, holster that measly water pistol – there was a new breed of aquatic artillery on the block and its name was Super Soaker. Let’s take a look at the origins of this terrific toy. Continue reading...