Trolls

Trolls

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Troll Dolls have seemingly been around forever. Modern generations can thank the retro-crazed 90s for the resurgence of a more-brightly hued version of the little lucky toys, while older generations can thank Thomas Dam, a Danish woodcutter who, as legend has it, simply didn’t have enough money to buy his lovely daughter a toy. Rather than put on a sad face over the whole matter, Dam delved into Nordic fairy tales for a bit of inspiration and carved up a troll doll for his daughter. She loved it, dressed it up and showed it off to anyone that might take a look. Slowly but surely the ugly little doll won a spot within the hearts of the townspeople and thus, the beginning of the Troll Doll. Continue reading...

Trouble

Trouble

Sometimes the simplest of challenges are the ones most frustrating, which pretty much encapsulates a little board game called Trouble. Introduced by Kohner in 1965, it brought out the competitiveness in everyone who played, sometimes raising their stress levels to the point that the game maker thought it wise to protect the lone die behind a globe of plastic, lest it get flung across the room. Continue reading...

Twister

Twister

Few games have the risque reputation associated with Twister. Then again, few games have ever asked you make body contact with your opponents as you practice your contortionist skills. Competing toy companies have tried to paint the game as nothing more than a precursor to sexual activity, but that hasn't slowed the popularity of Twister one iota, a family friendly game firmly entrenched in pop culture ever since it arrived on the scene in 1966. Continue reading...

AntFarmFinal

Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm

Today, we take a look back at a true classic, an educational toy that lives and breaths and burrows and scurries. For over fifty years, kids have stared intently through the clear plastic walls of their formicarium (the scientific term for ant farm), as their new ant friends labor intensively to construct a sand-tunneled utopia. Granted, anyone can build one of these observation instruments with a handful of easy-to-obtain supplies, but we have long put our trust into a man named Milton Martin Levine, known to millions of kids as Uncle Milton, to supply us with his special Ant Farms (ants included). Continue reading...

Uno

Uno

Nothing brings a family together like a nice game of cards. But many games are either too complex for the little ones to get a handle on, or too simplistic for the older crowd to enjoy. Then, along came Uno - a card game that could be learned in a few minutes but proved addictive enough to keep families playing until the wee hours of morning. This balance of simplicity and challenge has made Uno one of the most beloved card games of all time. Continue reading...

Vertibird

VertiBird

Some toys are forgotten within months of their initial release; others linger in the memory banks for decades after their demise. In the latter category resides the coolest helicopter to ever hit the scene, the one-and-only VertiBird. For anyone who ever had the pleasure of piloting one of these perpetually-circling choppers, it was an experience you wouldn't soon forget. Continue reading...

View Master

View-Master

Sure, there have been plenty of technological breakthroughs over the years that make something like a View-Master seem more than a bit antiquated. But there is such a simplistic charm to this little plastic box that allowed the young mind to travel to faraway lands, once visited or never before explored, and see them in all of their three-dimensional splendor. Everyone who has experienced the pleasure of a View-Master distinctly remembers the little lever and the clicking sound it made when advancing to the next frame. And any tourist of earlier decades can remember a time when seemingly every destination, not to mention every department and toy store, displayed racks containing hundreds of little discs. Today, we look at the history of, and our fascination with, the View-Master. Continue reading...

Wacky Wall Walkers

Wacky Wall Walkers

In the 80s, it wasn’t an uncommon sight to see a rubber octopus slowly make its way down a wall - a slimy and slithering slinky of sorts. The critter retained its hold, thanks to its remarkably sticky eight legs which adhered when thrown, then methodically walked towards the ground under the merciless forces of gravity. The Wacky Wall Walker would become a toy fad that gripped the entire nation like no other, to the astounding tune of a quarter of a billion of the wiggly beasts being sold in a few short years. Continue reading...