Monday, April 18, 2011

Top 12 Toys From My Childhood (Part 1)

Top 12 Toys From My Childhood (Part the first)

Some days, you wake up and time has slipped away. And suddenly it's hard to find, those memories you left behind. Remember? Do you remem -  aw, hell, enough of that. If your old enough to remember that song you may know what I'm talking about here. If not, then GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN, YA WHIPPER SNAPPER!!

Anyway, sometimes I do remember the "times of my life" and some of my strongest childhood memories are of the toys I used to play with. My memory is not the greatest, just ask my wife.  I may not recall family trips or special moments but by God, I remember these damn toys! Sadly, most of these toys are just that - memories. I still have an extensive and active collection of one toy on this list, and bits and pieces of another, but most of them are long gone.

Most of these toys date from the early to late 70's my prime childhood years (as opposed to the late childhood years of my mid 40's).

Join me, if you will, on a trip down my memory lane. 

12. Marx Pit Change Charger

This toy was a Christmas present as I recall. I'm not sure if it was something I asked for or if it was just something my parents thought I'd like. Either way it was awesome. This was a toy/model kit. It was a car, a Dodge Charger, that featured a removable engine, wheels, and doors. You could also remove quarter panels and replace them with "damaged" ones, which could then be "repaired." It came a little tool chest and jack as well as an engine hoist. It was also quite large as I remember. It was fun because my Dad helped me build it. Good times. This toy is now but a ghost.
11. Star Bird by Milton Bradley

Star Bird rocked! A sleek space ship with lights and sound? Hells yeah!

Star Bird was simply made for swooshing. As I recall, it had a couple of different sounds like for firing lasers and engines. The lasers canons on the front and the canopy would light up. Also, the wing tips were actually removable fighters. Awhile back I still had the ship but no fighters. I no longer know where the Star Bird has ventured...
10. Six Million Dollar Man Action Figure

I can still here that cheesy echoey sound effect, "enh enh enh enh onh onh onh onh." I loved me some Six Million Dollar Man show so it was a no-brainer that I'd want the toy. The figure was a fair representation of Major Steve Austin in a snazzy red cloth jumpsuit. It was loaded with features! You could look through a hole in the back of his head and see out his bionic eye. You could lift heavy objects (like the car engine he came with) using his bionic grip and power arm. You could peel back the skin on his bionic arm and reveal his bionic circuitry. You could remove his pants to reveal his bionic - er, no, actually you couldn't do that.

I don't know where Major Austin is these days...probably not better or stronger than he was.

Pew pew.
9. Kenner Star Wars Toys
Pew, pew, pew! Han Solo's 'piece' just rocked. I had this very firearm, as well as numerous figures and vehicles. You kids may not realize this but Star Wars was kind of a big deal back in the day. Yeah, I was one of the many zillions of spellbound kids gazing at the big screen, dazzled by the epnormic spectale that was Star Wars. I was moved by the Force. The Force that flowed through me, through my Mother and through her pocketbook to purchase many, many Star Wars toys. As much as I loved these toys, I always had some problems with them. First, the figures had crap for articulation. The heads turned and they could goosestep - no elbow or knee joints. They looked especially stupid when sitting. Darth Vader, dark lord of the Sith, sitting like a toddler. "I find your lack of cookie and nap disturbing." They looked even dumber in the vechicles which were horribly out of scale. Still they were the only representation of my beloved Star Wars so they were loved despite their flaws.

(Insert your own joke here)
Kenner had a promo back before Empire came out where you could send away for what promised to be the most AWESOME action figure of all time, some mysterious dude named Boba Fett. I had no idea who or what he was, but he had the most kick-ass outfit ever and I HAD to have him. He had the extra awesome feature of a firing jet-pack rocket launcher! Sign me up! So I rapidly bought figures to get the required proof of purchase and mailed away for him. I was sooooo revved when he arrived only to be given a massive case of childhood blue balls when I discovered that the firing mechanism was disabled. Epic. Disappointment. Thank you, Douche Parent who's kid shot his eye out, for disabling my childhood...

Boba is the only remaining remnant of my Star Wars Collection. I traded most of it to reacquire some of #6 on this list...

No place to go and all day to get there.
8. VertiBird by Matel

I had a couple of different VertiBird sets but they were all pretty much the same; a small plastic helicopter tethered by a metal strip to a central base. A control, connected to the base, allows the copter to go up down forward or backward and fly in endless circles. You could pick up objects with a hook on the copter and fly them around and set them back down and pick them up again and set them down and fly in circles get the idea.

I had one set that had lights and glow-in-the-dark features so you could turn off the lights and fly circles in the dark.

7. Hasbro Ghost Gun

This was a fun one. You go in the bathroom, turn out the lights and... (get your mind out of the gutter ya filthy animal!) fire up the Ghost Gun! Soon your blasting the un-living hell out of un-living things. Take that Casper! The gun, which looks like it was based on a WWII German machine gun, was hella awesome. It was actually a projector. You would insert strips of "ghosts" and they would be projected on the walls where you could blast their cytoplasmic asses! The trigger end of the gun featured a lot of 'play' so you could aim at the ghosts. I frequently played with the gun as a gun, blasting imaginary enemies instead of the undead.

Alas, the ghost gun has quite probably met it's maker, which is why ghosts are running rampant these days. Who ya gonna call?


  1. Cytoplasm is a real thing, Pete. I believe you meant to say "ectoplasmic" asses, as in ectoplasm...the non-living goo of which ghosts are purportedly made of.

  2. Awesome list friend. It brings a little warmness to my heart seeing your list and recalling some of the best memories of my life,which included a lot of the stuff that made your list. It's really too bad our kids won't get to enjoy some of the marvel and wonderment that these cheap toys brought to us.

  3. It was really a great feeling recalling some of the best times of my life playing with some of the toys you had listed here. It's a real shame my kids won't get to enjoy these simple,cheap treasures from my childhood that brought me so many great times and such wonderful memories.