We did promise that bohemianboomer would not revel in nostalgia – we like to look ahead, not back. But we got such positive response to our recent post on great boomer-era toys that we decided to once again take a walk down memory lane, or in this case, memory toy aisle.
So here we go with Part 2 of No One Had Better Toys Than A Boomer:
This is a toy that wouldn’t even be allowed on the market today; but boy was it fun! I had forgotten all about the Vac-U-Form until bohemian boomer Cliff’s comment on our first toy review. Let’s have him tell how it worked:
There was a toy that held a thin sheet of plastic – you laid on object on the plate – flipped the handle that held the plastic sheet and pumped a lever that sucked the air out of the chamber with heat to melt the plastic around the object.
Cliff also reminded us that the risk of getting burned was part of the excitement of playing with a Vac-U-Form…sigh…they just don’t make toys like that anymore!
This was another great toy that could give you a nasty burn – makes you wonder if Mattel toymakers had a sadistic streak in the 60s, doesn’t it? Remember the little bottles of Plastigoop (my favorite was glow-in-the-dark), the stuff you poured into the molds? Then you cooked it on the electric hot plate thingy and – Ta-Dah! – you had cool rubbery spiders, worms, bugs and snakes. You could also make other stuff like flowers and soldiers, but those didn’t make your Mom freak out when you put them in her lingerie drawer (not that I ever did that).
But Mattel’s commercial certainly inspired us to use their toy to torment our families:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwSfpDqOrG4[/youtube]
Now lots of kids had Mouse Trap, but how many of you had this other Rube Goldberg-inspired board game? I did, and I thought it was way cooler…only problem was the dang thing hardly ever worked right! You built the elaborate contraption and it was supposed to result in launching the plastic sleeping man figure out of his bed. But nine times out of ten, you ended up chasing the little ball as it rolled off the table and across the floor. Maybe that’s why they still make Mousetrap, but you have to go to Ebay to find Crazy Clock.
In 1966, when this toy debuted, it was the dream of millions of boomer boys (and some girls) to grow up to be an astronaut. The Major Matt Mason and his crew action figures allowed us to spend hours imagining our own adventures in space. Our backyard sandbox typically served as the hostile terrain of some distant planet.
The figures were rubberized material with wire insides, which meant you could bend the Major and his fellow astronauts into all sorts of action poses (kind of like you could with Gumby). It also meant that after a lot of bending, the Major’s arm would snap off. Then you had to pretend he lost it in a battle against hostile aliens on Pluto (it was still a planet back then).
This 70s toy had it all: it was colorful, loud and lethal! We drove our parents right up the wall with the constant “clackety-clackety-clackety-clack” of these two hard plastic balls knocking together. And remember how it took some practice to be able to get these things swinging right? One false move and you ended up with an arm full of black and blue bruises.
Parents hated ’em, schools banned ’em, and safety groups warned that they could shatter and injure children who played with ’em. What a great toy!
Clackers were eventually yanked from toy store shelves, but we can still relive the excitement – and danger – of playing with them:
There you have Part 2 of our series on the best boomer toys. How many do you remember? How many did you have? Have a comment about a toy that didn’t make our list?
Just let us know by clicking the Comments link below.