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.
"Mom, Dad--I want to grow up to be an EPA field-worker like Johnny Horizon!"
Such were the words probably never actually spoken in the early 1970s, when the icon of Johnny Horizon was launched by the BLM. But if any lad or lassie did utter such a wish, then they could have been placated with the Johnny Horizon Environmental Test Kit. Parker Brothers showed a little poindexter hard at work in their ads for the kit.
These creepy so called "God dolls" are a new popular trend coming out of Thailand. Not all of them have the disturbing third eye markings but all are supposed to be inhabited by a child's spirit. They are purported to bring good luck when loved and cared for. Because, yeah, that's where I hope kids spirits go, into a creepy doll to bring good luck to some yuppie jerk.
In 1967, Creative Playthings began selling the French-made "Little Brother" doll in America. It was an anatomically correct baby boy doll designed to encourage "acceptance of body differences."
However, some American mothers regarded the thing as an abomination and protested to have it removed from the market. Said one protester, "We believe children should not relate sex organs with play. We think this is carrying 'educational' playthings too far."
The company defended itself, insisting that its intent was to "provide a small historical contribution so as not to forget what generated the worst catastrophe of the twentieth century” and that the bomb models were actually a protest "against the insanity of nuclear war."
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.