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Monday, August 03, 2015

'60s Toys and Games!

It's Sixties Week in A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S GUIDE TO LIFE, and I have to say that I am enjoying this week a lot.  I'm learning so much about the swinging sixties, and the more I learn about it, the more that I think I want to be a part of that decade.  A decade where people could be free to be who they wanted, and where people could make their own decisions without being challenged on them.

Yeah, those would be fantastic times indeed.

I think that it would be even better to experience the decade as a child.  And certainly there were lots of toys and games that were invented during the 1960s that people still use today.

I think you know where I am going with this thread here.  Today we're going to be talking about 1960s toys and games. 

Just how many toys and games were invented during the 1960s?  Well, quite a lot.  In fact, some historians look back on the 1960s as a sort of golden era for toys and games.

Have a look at some of these toys that were brand new on toy shelves during the 1960s.


Yes, the board game that had people placing their right hand on green while simultaneously putting their left foot on yellow had kids of all ages turning themselves into human pretzels.  And I suppose even a few adults found themselves in some precarious positions, depending on where the arrow lay.  Although it was invented in 1964, it took a couple of years before it became popular - most notably when Eva Gabor and Johnny Carson played the game on the set of "The Tonight Show".


Ah, another board game that was released in the 1960s.  1963, to be exact.  And let's just say that this particular game celebrated the life of Rube Goldberg.

For those of you who may not know who I am talking about, Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, as well as an inventor.  And when I say inventor, I mean that he designed inventions that were designed to, say, open a can opener...but the invention was a flashy array of bells, whistles, pulleys, and gadgets that took what would be a simple task and made it much more difficult and elaborate.

And that's essentially what Mouse Trap is.  It's actually a diabolical game in that you first start off working together to build the perfect mousetrap (out of plastic pieces)...but once the traps are set, you turn on each other, and try to catch your opponent's mice with the very traps you helped build.  Talk about the ultimate trap!


Now, I have to admit that I truly believed that G.I. Joe was an '80s creation, mainly because G.I. Joe action figures were everywhere in my childhood.  But surprisingly enough, the first G.I. Joe action figure was released in 1964.  And it was released at a time in which Barbie dolls were also insanely popular.  Of course, toy manufacturers were reluctant to release "dolls" for boys, as it was deemed not appropriate (yes, the sixties weren't all THAT progressive), but when G.I. Joe came around, it was marketed as an action figure, so that boys would more likely play with it.

It seems like bizarre marketing, but it worked.  And G.I. Joe is still around today.


Water on the knee?  A broken heart?  Monkey Wrench?  Whatever the problem, you are the doctor that can save the patient's life in this game, which first saw release fifty years ago in 1965.  But you really have to be careful in this game.  In the game of Operation, you really have to be careful.  One false move, and you'll kill your patient dead.

Or, at the very least, you'll make his nose glow as bright as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.


Okay, so technically, I'm cheating with this one, as Chatty Cathy became available for purchase in 1959.  But throughout the 1960s, this talking doll that spoke at least eleven different phrases, it was the must have toy for little girls.  It really was at the time, the most realistic doll for little girls to pretend that they were mothers.  Unfortunately, we now live in a world where little girls DO become mothers.  Maybe we should reinstate the Chatty Cathy doll.

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