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...

Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation

So, you’ve made it through the last day of school, signed all the yearbooks, said your goodbyes to friends and teachers, and taken your last bus ride home. It doesn’t quite hit you until the next day: it’s summertime and the livin' is easy. Continue reading...

Cereal Box Archive

Cereal Box Archive

Through half-opened eyes and a cloud of sleep-deprived fog, we stared at them intently every morning while shoveled their contents into our mouth. That box of breakfast cereal greeted and enthralled us each day. And yet, take a walk down the cereal aisle today and only a handful of favorites from yesteryear remain – and most of those are barely recognizable. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a place to go, where you could revisit the glory days of breakfast cereal boxes? Continue reading...

Smokey Bear

Smokey Bear

With World War II raging away, natural resources needed to be protected at all costs. A forest fire could be devastating in terms of lost lumber. The government handed a very special bear the task of informing the public on the dangers of forest fires and the need for watchful vigilance. And for over 60 years, he has proven himself worthy of the task. He is Smokey Bear and his contributions to the war effort and beyond have made him a legend. Continue reading...

Polaris Nuclear Submarine

Polaris Nuclear Submarine

If you were a regular reader of comic books in the 60s and 70s, you probably couldn’t help but notice the recurring ad that offered you your very own kid-sized Polaris nuclear submarine – all for the low price of about seven bucks. Perhaps the pictures above will bring you back in time. Continue reading...

Field Trips

Field Trip

A good field trip could bring otherwise deadly boring classroom lessons to life, or at least provide students with an opportunity to play a little hooky. Often tied in with lesson plans, educational field trips brought us to museums, parks, nature conservatories, zoos, aquariums, the theater, even space centers and planetariums. What better ways to learn a subject than getting to see it first-hand, or at least as close up as a school budget would allow. Continue reading...

Wall Posters

Wall Posters

Once upon a time, there was no more fitting way to show your loyalty to your favorite teen idol or rock star than to adorn your bedroom wall (or ceiling) with a full-sized image of their smiling mug - staring at you lovingly, as if to say “You are the only one for me.” And if celebrity worship wasn’t your thing, perhaps you just wanted to ogle your favorite automobile, sports team, or a cat hanging from a pole reminding you to “Hang in there, Baby!” And if you happened to own a black light, there were hundreds of psychedelic scenes just waiting for their fluorescent colors to be vibrantly illuminated in your darkened room. Today, we take a look back at the iconic artwork that many of us spent hundreds of hours staring at through the course of our adolescence. Continue reading...

Wacky Packages

Wacky Packages

In the 70s, there was hardly a store that didn’t have a proud display of Wacky Packages right next to the cash register. Sold in the same packaging as baseball cards (which was no surprise since a company named Topps created them), they were literally irresistible to darn near every little kid with a few extra cents in his or her pocket. And the appeal was very simple – wonderfully demented versions of product art that every kid knew from the grocery story aisles. They were funny, they were completely politically incorrect, and much to the horror of every parent, they were backed with an adhesive – meaning that not only could they be affixed to school folders and lunch boxes, but also every square inch of wall, door or furniture within their path. Continue reading...

Staring Contests

Staring Contests

While many cultures frown upon direct eye contact, it's long been seen as a symbol of honesty, integrity, even dominance, in the western world. And, although children are generally taught that it's rude to stare, that hasn't stopped them from engaging in a time-honored childhood ritual known as the staring contest. Whether in a classroom, on a playground, or any other place children congregate, it takes neither strength nor wits, just pure concentration. Continue reading...

Marco Polo

Marco Polo pool game

Ask your average kid to name a famous 13th century Venetian explorer and you are likely to be met with a blank stare. Instead, ask the same kid what their favorite swimming pool game is. More often than not, the answer will be Marco Polo. For generations, whenever a group of children (of all ages) gather for a swim, they inevitably end up playing this addictive little aquatic game of tag. Continue reading...