Bugs for Dolls

From the Pittsburgh Press - Oct 23, 1938:

Dead Crickets Are Toys in China

In China, where life is hard and patience strong, the toy man is a favorite of old and young. On the streets of Peiping he displays his wares and children flock to see — and if they have pennies — to buy. A set of his most fascinating wares are fashioned from skins of dead crickets, dressed up to satirize the many street vendors in the ancient city.

"This cricket has been mounted to represent a vendor of flowers and plants."

"These crickets represent a barber shaving a customer."

"Barbers bring their trade to the customer in China. They carry their 'shops' on long poles which they balance on one shoulder. Above is a Chinese cricket-barber carrying his tools along the street, offering to shave the head of any he meets."

"Bicycles fill the streets of Peiping. Hence the toy-man's set would be incomplete without a cricket astride a wheel."

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 10, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Toys, 1930s

Chilly Bang! Bang! Squirt Gun

The brief, controversial product life of the Chilly Bang! Bang! juice-filled squirt gun. Kids put the gun barrel in their mouth and squeezed the trigger to enjoy a refreshing squirt of juice.

First sales were halted because the plastic tab at the end of the barrel was deemed a choking hazard. Then in 1991 it was banned outright. New York Senator Nicholas Spano noted, "The last thing we should teach our children is to put gun barrels in their mouths."

Democrat and Chronicle - Aug 30, 1989

Democrat and Chronicle - Sep 6, 1989

The Ithaca Journal - May 18, 1991

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 13, 2017 - Comments (8)
Category: Toys, 1990s

1960s Marx Presidents Set

Gee, I wonder why they quit adding new presidents after LBJ?

More info here.

Original ad here.

ADDENDUM: WU-vie GES seems to have found a Nixon figure from the final incarnations of this set.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 05, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Politics, Toys, 1960s

Patty Prayer Doll

Posted By: Paul - Tue Dec 06, 2016 - Comments (8)
Category: Religion, Toys, 1970s

Kenner’s Scottie Bagpipe

Introduced by Kenner in 1962, this plaid-patterned vinyl bag attached to a plastic flute allowed kids to play "exciting bagpipe effects." You need to watch the short video to appreciate the true horror of the sounds this thing created. Guaranteed to drive parents insane in mere seconds.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 07, 2016 - Comments (7)
Category: Music, Toys, 1960s

Plasticville, USA


Original ad here.

With no trace of modern irony, Plasticville USA was once deemed a grand name for an imaginary town. Somehow I can hear a beatnik of the era saying, "Plasticville, man, that's for squares!"

Wikipedia entry here.

More info and some great pictures on this page.

More images via Google.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 23, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Toys, Urban Life, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, 1940s, 1950s

Kenner Easy Care Manicure Set

Posted By: Paul - Fri Oct 21, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Cosmetics, Stereotypes and Cliches, Toys, Children, 1970s

Milka Moo

Introduced in 1948, the "Milka Moo" toy cow had a rubber udder that, when squeezed, would squirt out real milk.

It was one of the many inventions of Beulah Louise Henry (aka Lady Edison). Her inventions made her rich, but she was considered a bit of an eccentric. She lived in New York hotels along with "three sizeable live turtles, a dozen tropical fish, a school of snails and other flora and fauna."

Des Moines Register - Mar 14, 1948

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Dec 5, 1948

The Indianapolis Star - Aug 21, 1948

Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 03, 2016 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Toys, 1940s

Cube Lube

If you're serious about the Rubik's Cube, then you might benefit from Cube Lube. "We've got what it takes to really move your cube!!!"

This stuff was introduced back in the 1980s, the heyday of the Rubik's Cube. It was a silicone-based lubricant. So buying a can of silicone spray would probably work just as well.

Cube lubes are still for sale. For instance, there's the Official Rubik's Lube or Lubix Cube.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 08, 2016 - Comments (10)
Category: Toys

Gobbles the Crazy Eating Goat

via Vintage Toy Archive

Kenner released Gobbles The Crazy Eating Goat toy in 1978, but they soon discontinued it. There may have been concerns that children would eat the plastic bits of fake garbage (designed for Gobbles to eat) that came with the toy. But also, the toy was branded one of the worst toys of the year by the Consumer Affairs Committee of the Americans for Democratic Action organization. They objected to the "concept of paying for garbage," and also didn't think Gobbles taught kids a good message about how to treat animals.

Washington Post — Dec 8, 1979

However, the toy made an impression on filmmaker John Waters. He shared his thoughts about it in his essay "Why I Love Christmas":

For years friends have treated me to the toy annually selected by the Consumer Affairs Committee of Americans for Democratic Action as the "worst toy" to give your child at Christmastime. "Gobbles, the Garbage-Eating Goat" started my collection.

"That crazy eating goat" reads the delightful package, and in small print, "Contains: One realistic goat with head that goes up and down. Comes complete with seven pieces of pretend garbage."

This Kenner Discovery Time toy's instructions are priceless. "Gobbles loves to eat garbage when he's hungry, and he's ALWAYS hungry. (1) Hold Gobbles mouth open by the beard. Stuff a piece of pretend garbage straight into his mouth and (2) pump the tail until the garbage disappears."

It ends with an ominous warning, "Feed Gobbles only the garbage that comes with the toy," and in even smaller print "If you need additional garbage, we will, as a service, send it to you direct. For 14 pieces of garbage send $1 (check or money order; sorry, no C.O.D.) to . . . . "

I can't tell you the hours of fun I've had with Gobbles. Sometimes when I'm very bored, Gobbles and I get naked and play-play.


Here's some video of Gobbles doing his thing:

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 23, 2016 - Comments (3)
Category: Toys

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