The Toys That Made Us

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Admiral2, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When it came to "universal" type assembly sets, I recall three distinct lines from my childhood. I'll start with the last my father purchased as it is one more people might know, Erector Set.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erector_Set

    The article provides the details, metal strips and plates perforated with holes through which one can insert screws fastened by nuts. The larger sets offered motors powered by electrical transformers one could plug into the wall socket. Elements like gears or pulleys could be attached to the motor's drive shaft to created actuated devices like cranes of even draw bridges. Funny, thinking about them now, I can "hear" the gentle "clanging" of the pieces, rather like flatware within a kitchen drawer.

    The next two are not as well known because they did not have the longevity of other building series like Lego.

    The closer parallel was called American Bricks.

    American Bricks

    Like Lego, the blocks had pins atop the block and an arrangement underneath that gripped the pins. But unlike Lego which came in a wide variety of colors and were for most part glass smooth, American Bricks were molded in just red and white. The red bricks had a texture along their perimeters that suggested, well, baked red clay bricks. The white pieces were meant to imply cinder clocks and concrete. As such, they were meant to depict "brick and mortar" structures like houses, shops and town halls. Oh, if one were inventive, one could build something that vaguely had the silhouette of a boat or a car, but admittedly Lego offered greater variation in its pieces to serve as a more "universal" construction set. On the other hand, American Bricks let someone build a structure that halfway resembled a conventional "middle American" brick home rather than a rainbow colored hideout for the Joker.

    The remaining set apparently aimed for the Lego audience but had its own particular design ethic, Tog'Ls (pronounced "toggles").

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tog'l

    Tog'Ls

    Whereas the "basic" Lego brick had 8 thick short pins atop a "brick with a 1 by 2 by 4 ratio (roughly), the basic Tog'L was a 1 by 1 by 1 cube with either a single pin upon one face 9or a second upon the face opposite and connection holes upon the remaining faces. One of these faces possessed a hinged 'lid" that could "toggle" open and closed. One could snap cubes together directly or alternate support pieces like white "girders" and green or orange tubes. the set allow contained blue "tacks" that could push into the hole punched faces or even protrude from them if one opened the little plastic "hatch" or "door". The primary color was a "road construction" yellow, with red being the next most common hue. Lego pieces were (and still are) cast in a very hard plastic, but I remember Tog'Ls feeling like an ever so slightly pliable poly-vinyl material. Oh, the edges were still quite well defined, but they didn't quite feel like glass shards when stepped upon them. Alas, they were sold for only two years before they ceased production in 1970. But i held onto the bulk of my collection until the latter 70s when my grandmother insisted we offer them in a yard sale. I bet we got less than two bucks for them. My American Bricks suffered the same fate.
     
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  2. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Ah, the good old days. Right? ;) :D
     
  3. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I had the second release of some BSG toys. Modular Colonial Viper/crawler/other ships, plus the Cylon Raider. The first ones had little red missiles that would shoot out of them. Of course (even in the 70's), some dumbass kid shot one down his throat or something, so they had to rework them with a "T" shape at the back end so they couldn't actually shoot out anymore.

    Of course, I took mine apart and cut off the "T" part so they could go ahead and shoot out like the originals and managed to not choke myself to death with them.

    BSG Raider 1a.jpeg

    The front of this one was also the front of the viper. BSG Scarab 1a.jpg
     
  4. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the mid 80's, there was a TV show called M.A.S.K. Hard to describe it, other than to say it was a bit like G.I. Joe, but with transformable vehicles. This made for tons of cool toys and I had a certain fondness for them. I think I had at least 3 different vehicles,

    Looking back, I apparently had:
    Hurricane: http://www.transformerland.com/wiki...ask-series-series-2-vehicles-hurricane/38709/
    Piranha: http://www.transformerland.com/wiki...-mask-series-series-1-vehicles-piranha/38679/

    And I think my brother had Switchblade: http://www.transformerland.com/wiki...k-series-series-1-vehicles-switchblade/38792/

    I was also big into Knight Rider, so I had this version of KITT: http://thefwoosh.com/2017/08/flashback-friday-1983-kenner-knight-rider-kitt-2000/

    That thing was pretty amazing and I really loved the thing.

    Later on, I'd be a pretty big fan of the original TMNT and its cartoon, and so I had quite a few figures and the iconic van.
     
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  5. think

    think look at me Premium Member

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    I can't find the star trek Enterprise ship model I built in about 1977. It had an electric light.. a stand to hold it.. but. I did find the USS Missouri battle ship. I had built.. And remembering back my Dad pointed out the guns on the ship he had built on the ship... It was a childhood moment.
     
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  6. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    Actually you described it perfectly. Word is the makers of M.A.S.K. said "Okay, special forces guys are cool and transforming vehicles are cool. Let's combine the two and see how much money we can make!"
     
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  7. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Heh, the funny thing is, I really wasn't into G.I Joe, but there was something about this that I found irresistible.
     
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  8. Redfern

    Redfern Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Seeing the photos of the initial posts, I assumed the thread was going to be primarily about construction toys, hence my focus upon Erector, American Bricks and Tog'l, but seeing subsequent entries mentioning action figure lines, I'll share my particular passion...

    Major Matt Mason, Mattel's Man in Space

    http://www.wildtoys.com/MMMPage/index.asp

    Yeah, I had some other action figures like the original 12 inch scale GI Joe. I had a couple of the WWII themed soldiers in the 60s and then the "flock" hair and bearded civilian adventure sets in the early 70s (specifically the scuba diver with a shark and a deep sea diver outfit accompanied by an octopus). I had the first release of Steve Austin's "Six Million Dollar Man" (with the "peephole lensed" bionic eye and the "condom: covered bionic arm). But the wire core "bendy" figurine inspired by the Mercury mission spacesuits with pleated joints was what made the most impression upon me during the latter 1960s. Released at the perfect time, during the height of the "Space Race" and the Apollo moon missions, I could act out what I saw on live television, our setting foot upon another celestial body!

    One can, with justification claim the toy line went rather "off the rails" towards the end by "shoehorning" a doll that in no way fit into the rest of the series, metaphorically and quite literally. I speak of "Captain Lazer", a 1/6th scale rigid plastic figurine who looked a bit like a cross between Mr. Spock, Superman and the fashion sense of Marvin the Martian! At least the translucent green skinned alien "Callisto" was the same height as Mason and also employed a wire core for posing. But "Lazer"?! It is believed he was intended to be the star character of a totally unrelated line, but when those plans fell through, the toy was marketed as the newest character to the MMM line. I doubt many kids the appropriate age were bothered by the discrepancy, but as adults reflecting upon those years, I bet some of them wondered, "What the h3ll?!"

    But enough about that "shark jumping" point. When Mason and his first accessories debuted, the line presented designs that were almost plausible, some based upon used technology, others seriously considered, and some that looked good on paper, like the bizarre, hour-glass shaped rigid "moon suit".

    http://www.wildtoys.com/MoonSuit/index.asp

    Yes, a mock-up of this thing was actually built and tested upon uneven terrain! Mercy! You just know the wearer's legs must have chafed raw at the upper, inner thighs! And how could the user possibly bend over enough to retrieve a rock sample without toppling?! But visually it looked 'cool" and is probably one of the best remembered accessories outside of the battery powered vehicles like the Space Crawler and the Uni-Tred.

    One might be interested to learn the actor Tom Hanks is passionate enough about Major Matt Mason that he is producing a Matt Mason movie! Actually, there was some discussion about such a project last decade, but it fell through, but more progress has been made on this second "go round". Sorry, I know no more details at this time. Speculation has run rampant. Will it be a speculative near future? Will it be a "Toy Story" type scenario. Will it be a kind of retroactive "rocketpunk" future was never was? Few people beyond Hanks himself knows at this point. But, shoot, I'll be intrigued whatever route they take!
     
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  9. auntiehill

    auntiehill The Blooness Premium Member

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    I was a weird kid (*surprise!*). I did the usual "play with Barbie," but I wasn't interested in putting clothes on her--oh no, none of that boring crap. I lived in a town across the bay from San Francisco, on top of a very steep (think rollercoaster) hill. I would strap Barbie into whatever conveyance I had at the time and send her crashing down the hill--or down stairs, out windows, over the deck, whatever. At first, it was my sister's roller skates, then it was a purple Barbie convertible, and then it was a Barbie RV. The giant yellow RV was a plastic piece of shit--bits of it would fall off as it went careening down the road, but I guess it wasn't meant to be a toy crash-test vehicle.

    I was also obsessed with Lego; I had two major sets of miscellaneous pieces. I remember sitting in my room for HOURS, building houses, cars, towers, etc--I even remember getting muscle cramps from hunching over on the floor for so long. I LOVED building things.

    Another toy I had, and not one single girl I ever met had this toy, was the Fisher Price Adventure People. I freaking LOVED that. That little plastic Jeep went down our stairs more times than I could count. It was great for imagining oh-so-dramatic plots where our heroes went crashing off my bed, and then had to make camp in that cool blue tent, and then take the canoe through the carpet to the hot springs...er, heating vent. It was SUCH a cool toy--I don't remember who gave it to me or if I picked it out for myself, but I freaking loved it.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    I, for one, am all for sending figures careening to their certain doom.
     
  11. Random_Spock

    Random_Spock Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Army soldiers! I think I still have them. Loved to put them in a plant my mom had and have them fight one another.

    Toy cars. Still have a soft spot for them :). Loved to race them around the floor when I was a kid.

    Marbles. Used to love to play around with them.

    My old red sled. Had so many good memories with it! Used to stand up and use it as kind of a snow board, used it to store snowballs in and so on. Used it so much over the years, that it warped a bit :p.
     
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  12. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When I was a kid in the mid 60s nothing could beat my toy cars, or my fort
    Towards the late 60s into the 70s nothing could beat Subbuteo Table Soccer, which my friends and I always played on the carpet.
     
  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, nice one! I had an aircraft carrier and several planes, as well as my dad's American GI vs. the Nazi toy soldiers. The amount of destruction inflicted would have been catastrophic in the wars my friends and I had.
     
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  14. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All this talk is making some of my memories flow back. When I was in my teen years, one of my Aunts had given me some toys that had previously belonged to her kids from back in the 70's. They were apparently original G.I Joes? The one I was given was a tall figure, possibly 12", and he had camping gear, including a sleeping bag and a backpack. The backpack hid a voice box with a pull string, and when pulling it he'd say different phrases such as "It's a rough going. Can you make it?" "Roll out the sleeping bags!"
     
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  15. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I rather love that it apparently incorporated both food storage and a "tiny" stove, because I can't see any problems with that item... :rommie: I'm not even sure how the person would use it based on those pictures.
     
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  16. Kira's Mom

    Kira's Mom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was always a big doll person, but the toys I loved most weren't dolls. My favorite toys as a kid were Fashion Plates (mix and match clothing to design and color), the Easy Bake Oven, and a Barbie perfume maker. I could play with those for hours.

    Fashion Plates ad:


    Barbie perfume maker:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  17. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    One early 70's x-mas I got one of these super cool bowling games. You shot the ball with an elastic string & the pins were held in place by magnets.
    Snap Bowling 1b.jpg
     
  18. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

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    You'll shoot your eye out! :lol:
     
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  19. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Hour after hour with The Skittle-Bowl:
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Some stupid kid probably managed it. That's why we can't have anything fun.

    As far as model rocketry went, one time we took a Centauri F-engine (about 9" long IIRC), glued a nose cone & fins right to the engine and launched that sucker. We eventually found it a couple blocks away missing the fins.