Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Nostalgia for Toys

When I overload on politics and the general state of the world I often use (and sometimes abuse) the internet to go in search of a virtual version of more carefree days.

The other day it was toys. I'm amazed at how lousy today's offerings seem compared to what must have been the golden age of kid's toys and games. A lot of them survived; I still play Candy Land Parchesi and Uno, albeit with my daughter.

Others were lost in the mists of time. Until now. Thanks to sites like this and this I was able to track down some of my favorites.

I didn't even remember the name of the coolest toy I ever had. It was like a hot plate covered with a plastic chamber and a built in vise-like mechanism. It came with this colored plastic squares that you put on the hot plate and as they warmed up they unfolded into a variety of beasties and monsters. Then you could heat them again and press them back into the squares. This is what the original box and the toy itself looked like:

At an even younger age, I was obsessed with a series of secret agent toys by Mattel called "Agent Zero M" They were basically ordinary items which turned into weapons:

I hope you are all tracking with me on this. I mean, it looks just like a short wave radio, but it turns into a rifle! How freakin' mint is that?

Here's another classic:

For the life of me, I can't figure why they wouldn't bring this one back. OK, the name would have to be changed. Are the production costs too high? Modern toys like most products seem to be heavy on engineering and cheap on everything else.

I blame electronic games for the apparent decline of "real" toys. If you've been pining for a favorite toy, let me know if you find it here
papijoe 8:00 AM