Weird Universe


“Life-sized” Alien Facehugger & Egg


Too bad this won't be available until April 2016. Imagine the screams of terror, as depicted, when your lucky first-grader opens this under the Xmas tree.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Nov 20, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Aliens, Death, Toys, Children

Dying Pigs

In the first decade of the 20th century, "dying pigs" were the must-have toy that every kid wanted. They were rubber balloons shaped like pigs. You inflated them and then, as they deflated, they made a sound like the squeal of a dying pig.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Sep 17, 1905

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Nov 09, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Toys, 1900's

The Z-Man, or Brain, Toy


What was so distinctive about this toy? Early pre-silicon programability.


Original article here.

Even more pix and info at this blog.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Nov 04, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Toys, AI, Robots and Other Automatons, Computers, 1950's

The Strange Change Machine

You know, why isn't "mad scientist" an encouraged career path for kids anymore, like it was in the 1960s? I think the foreclosure of this option says a lot about our joyless and grim culture.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Nov 02, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains, Toys, 1960's

Civil War Nurse Barbie

First of all, there's actually such a thing as a Civil War Nurse Barbie. (But no Civil War Soldier Ken, featuring horrific battle injuries).

Second, it's been pointed out in a number of places (such as here and here) that the doll is historically inaccurate. So it teaches kids bad history.

Dorothea Dix, Superintendent of Female nurses, famously set strict guidelines for all Union nurses: "They were required to be between 35-50 years old and plain-looking. [No attractive young nurses!] They were to dress in black or brown dresses and were not allowed to wear jewelry of any kind."

This is what an actual Civil War nurses' uniform looked like, complete with bloodstains:

Unlike the Union, the Confederates didn't have a nurses organization that defined what nurses should wear. But Confederate nurses tended to dress in simple, plain dresses, because that was practical.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Oct 30, 2015 | Comments (12)
Category: Toys, War, Nineteenth Century

King Zor

"There has never been a fighting dinosaur like King Zor before!" True, but probably only because this toy was unique!
Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Oct 23, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Toys, Dinosaurs and Other Antediluvian Creatures, 1960's

Personalized Dolls

Introduced in 1965 by New York toy manufacturer Jet Party Favors.

"Customers mail in a photograph of the person to be modeled, specifying hair and eye color. The photo is reproduced on a strip of photo-sensitive linen, which is put through a pressure-molding process to suggest facial contours such as noses, eyes, and dimples. The hardened, mask-like shell is then dolled up by artists, attached to a blank head, and mounted on a standard doll boy, girl, or baby body. Price: $9.95."

The dolls were said to be popular with "grandparents who desire reminders of grandchildren living in other cities, ... narcissists who want dolls depicting themselves as youngsters, necrophiles who want dolls of deceased relatives, and teen-age girls who mail their doll-like images to boy friends stationed overseas."

Source: Newsweek - Feb 22, 1965
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Oct 13, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Toys, 1960's

Flying Squirrel

You just can't trust anyone now a days!
Posted By: patty | Date: Fri Oct 09, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Enlargements, Miniatures, and Other Matters of Scale, Flight, Toys



Here is an old British toy that had a lot of good intentions, but also some unanticipated drawbacks.

Buildings were constructed on allegedly waterproof waxed card bases. The bricks etc. were stuck together with a mortar made from a mixture of flour and chalk powder. It required a great amount of skill to erect buildings accurately, very time-consuming and beyond the patience of most of the children it was aimed at (8 to 14 years). Especially so in cold houses (as most British homes then were) it would take several days for the building to 'set'. Reusing the components involved a process of dunking the entire model in a large bowl of warm water. After the model fell apart the bricks and plaster pieces required lengthy rinsing to remove all organic traces to prevent mould growing on them.

I wonder how well they sold in the USA, as touted in the ad below, from Boys Life for September 1948.


Fan page.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Sep 20, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Toys, Children, Europe, Twentieth Century

Mr. Machine

Posted By: Paul | Date: Sun Aug 23, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Robots, Toys, 1960's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.