Milton Bradley

I Was Milton Bradley’s Love Child (Part 2)

Hey, all you mid-to-late 40 year olds and early 50-year olds…this one’s for you.

Some of you youngsters will have NEVER heard of these toys. There’s a chance some of your oldsters won’t remember them either, but in case you do, here’s a little trip down Memory Lane….where Mattel, Milton Bradley and that radical gamer, Hasbro still live in quiet competition.

Except they all outsource of hell of a lot more. Mexico, Taiwan…even China, for Playskool’s sake. And as a result, we get great toys with paint that would deflect an X-ray!OK, enough with my rant.

Here are more toys and games from the 60’s that I’m sure you haven’t thought about in decades.Let’s get right to it, shall we?

One of my favorite things to play with was the Superball.

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I don’t know how it worked, but the damn thing could bounce.!!! And over a house, too–just as the ad said it would. I don’t know how much I ever paid for a Superball, per se but I learned little later on that if you cut up a golf ball, you’d find a a little superball inside.

Why I cut up a golf ball is beyond me.

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When I was five, all I wanted was a box of Flintstone Building Boulders.

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They were Styrofoam and fit together in these interlocking male/female parts. Fragile as all hell, but fun to play with though! I think at the end of their life–they began to disintegrate.

My mother used the remnants as packing peanuts.

.This goes waaaaayyyyy back to the early sixties. I had Gaylord, the Bassett Hound. Cute face, but not very cuddly. He was made of this really hard plastic and I think he walked. He slowly plodded and skulked on the floor, actually.

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MY GOD!!! I haven’t seen Gaylord or a photo of one anyway—in almost 44 years!! He had a leash with a red bulb like thing at the end. If you squeezed it, it made a squeaky barking sound. He had a piece of Velcro (thanks NASA!!) around his mouth and that enabled Gaylord to pick up a plastic bone which also had an Velcro attachment. FUN!!

Apparently there’s some debate about what exactly Gaylord is—either he was a Bassett Hound or a Blood Hound. Frankly, I think he looks more like perennial presidential candidate, Gary Bauer.

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During the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France in 1968, Peggy Flemming took home the gold medal in Women’s Figure Skating. She was so elegant and graceful. I desperately wanted to try my hand at ice skating.

What did a little girl know from ice skating in South Central Texas in the late Sixites?? Not much. The closest thing we ever got to snow was when someone’s fridge needed defrosting and back in the 60’s, the closest ice skating rink was in Houston…almost four hours away.

So, I settled for roller skates and my imagination.

But not just any skates, there were SUPER SKATES. Metal wheels, completely keyless and adjusted to any shoe size with this new fangled technology for 1968—spring action. The skates tilted on an angle allowing the skater to turn left or right, but as was the case with so many of our toys back then, there were no breaks.

I used a wall….

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Remember the game, Trouble with the self-contained Pop-O-Matic dice shaker upper????

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Mattel’s Little Kiddles. They were a HUGE craze in 1967-1968. Since I didn’t play with dolls as much as other toys, I had a few.

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They all smelled like cologne or essence of something. Sometimes, they came in these plastic perfume bottles are in plastic lockets you could wear. Others were in blister packs.

I distinctly remember I owned this Kiddle below. Bathing Kiddle, I guess. Don’t know if that was the name, but it came with a gold footed bathtub.

Like this:

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The bubbles seen above was actually a cotton ball.

Remember the Little Kiddles Klub House, ladies?????

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OK, let’s talk dolls. I didn’t have that many. Only two come to mind.

One was Swingy.

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She walked…or danced or shuffled. She moved–that’s all I know. She had skates she’d wear, too. Dig the mod mini dress. Very Marsha Brady.

Groovy.

My other doll was called Tippy Toes.

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She walked or shuffled or moved on her toes. She had a bike that she could pedal…well, sort of. A toy horse she could ride and unless I did way too much acid in the 70’s, I think she had a walker, too.

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Then came Wheelos. This was a toy that included–I swear– a bent coat hanger, a little wheel with two magnets on his side and it moved by virtue of some aspect of physics, wrist movement and the players sincere love of the monotonous. The photo here includes a later model.

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My sister Karol had a Vacu-Form set. Anybody remember this contraption?

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You placed a plastic sheet above the mold. It them heated up to like 435 degrees F and then you’d pump air into the thing and then you’d get a car or a boat or whatever the hell mold you had. The only thing I remember making is a top hat. I also remember how it smelled once the plastic started to melt over the mold. God only knows what we were breathing!!!

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Karol also had this doll house–for lack of a better word—called Mary Mag Power. It was a home built on a press board base which sat about two inches above the floor. You had these wands with magnets on the tips that you could run along the bottom of the base. Mary and her Mag Power family all had magnets under their “feet” and you manipulated them throughout the house with the magnetic wands.

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Here’s a closer view:

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It even had a Mag Mouse, that lived in a mag mouse hole.

Fun was rather limited with the Mary MagPower house. All you could do was make the characters move from one room to another. They didn’t bend..they were just magnets.

We got bored with the set rather quickly. Karol and I once found “Mary” holding up a grocery list on the refrigerator door.

Within weeks after that, the whole damn thing became “Mary Mag Trash”.

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We played with Cooties, Kaboom and of course, a Barrel of Monkeys.

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How about this one….Anybody remember the Frosty the Snow Man Snow Cone Maker?

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You’d put a few ice cubes down the shoot in his head…cram it down with that red thing, while cranking the grinder (it was on his back) and out hos stomach would come shaved ice.

Frosty came with two flavors–“nasty” and “even nastier”. See the squeeze dispensers by his feet?

Frosty had a very short life span in the Kendrick household. We tried grating cheese with it once and Velveeta gunked up the blades. We ruined it.

Frosty soon joined Mary Mag Power in the trash.

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Remember Time Bomb and Tip It?

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I remember you wound up the fuse which I think was also the timer. Then I seem to remember you and your friends would stand in a circle and you’d throw TIME BOMB to each other and it would explode or something and it you were holding it at the time it blew up or whatever, you lose.

Lots of our toys blew up back in the day. Must’ve been Vietnam’s influence.

Tip It was just a big balancing act. My cousin Kaye had one. I played it once. Once was more than enough.

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Veteran Broadway actor Stubby Kaye (think: a post modern Jack Black–though far more Jewish) hosted a TV show called Shenanigans. There was a board game of the same name.

I owned one.

I vaguely remember the show, the game and the theme song…sung by Stubby. I remember a “Pie In The Eye” segment that you tried to tiddly wink a “pie” through an eye-shaped hole in one of the game’s side panels.

There was Don’t Break The Ice, too!

That translated into “Don’t Have Any Fun”. Boring ass game.

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And King of the Hill…

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All I can remember with this game is that included the use of solid colored marbles and there were holes in the mountain.

‘Twas something of a metaphor for adulthood, was it not???

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I think my older sister, Kathy had Go To The Head of The Class. Turn your head to see the box top.

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I don’t remember playing this game…just its name.

Uncle Wiggily is an oldie but a goodie. I vaguely remember this one. My cousins, Stevie, Brian and Kyle had one. I remember watching them play it with my older sisters. I recall there being a big, gay looking rabbit on the box. Lo and behold, my memory was correct.

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In my years as a school girl…namely in first and second grade, we had “seasons”. No, not in the same way female dogs do, I mean actual times during the school year in which toys and games were played. There was jump rope season for a few weeks. That would morph into jump rope season (the big industrial ropes that two of your friends turned for you–or you had the option of tying two individual jump ropes together but God forbid the two wooden handles tied together would clunk you on the head!!!). That would morph in to hopscotch season which then became JACKS SEASON!!

Jacks.

The ultimate test of pre-pubescent dexterity. No self respecting little girl..at least in the safe, domestic confines of Karnes City, Texas would be caught dead playing Jacks Onesies or Twosies… with the little red rubber ball that came with the jacks. Oh no no!! The discerning jacks player stole a golf ball from her father’s golf bag.

See this:

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I kept my jacks in a pouch not unlike the one you see above.

One more thing, you played with multi-colored metal jacks only. Plastic ones didn’t had the same feel. They didn’t “play” as well as metal jacks

Jacks season ended the minute your father was walking around the house barefoot and stepped on a stray one.

While the girls were “jacksing off”, the boys played with tops. Remember battling tops?

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Do my eyes deceive me?? The price is 29 cents????

Wow.

Yo Yo’s had seasons, too!

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Remember those Yo Yo moves….”around the world”, “walking the dog” and “rock the baby”? I could never make the son of a bitch yo yo properly.

I think that’s what wrong with me as an adult.

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I don’t remember the names of these things other than they were looms and my sisters and I (when I was VERY, VERY young) attempted to make really weak potholders out of this stretchy material…something akin to the modern day scrunchy. Only thinner and longer. Our mother’s would feign delight as we gave them to her for Mother’s Day. Then we’d encourage her to use them and she did…to remove the roast from the oven and in doing so, she also removed the first three layers of dermis.

“Happy Mother Day with Second Degree Burns, Mom!!!!!”

No one said these were quality potholders.

Anyone else remember these toy looms?

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I’ve been looking forever for this next item and couldn’t remember the name of the motor you could attach to your bike to make it sound motorized. Our neighbor Ed, had Vrroooooom!!! on his bike. I remember it being loud.

Very loud.

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My sister Karol and I and all of our friends had Jingle Jumps. You attached them to your ankle/foot and did this particular motion (I was reminded of the same move when trying to Ska dance while very drunk back in the early 90’s). Then you jumped over the string and attached ball and in a small box-like thing, there were jingle bells. I’m over simplifying this but I’ve grown bored with the tedium of trying to explain all of these goddamn toys.

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And I owned this toy/game, too. Oh and one more thing??? 65, 688 different faces MY ASS!!!

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This doesn’t count as a toy or game but I found this doing research for this post and HAD to include it. I had this exact lunch box…an homage to Mary Poppins. I remember it well.

All metal and probably rife with lead.

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Remember how lunch rooms smelled? It was a rancid combination of the school meal du jour and baloney burp.

My mother was a stickler for her children having presentable meals….not so much for us, but how it would look to the teacher who pulled lunchroom monitor duty. My mother was all about appearances.

She’d make my sandwiches every morning. Ham and cheese with the crusts remove,–and cut into bite-size fours, thank you very much. She’d include a small bag of Frito’s and a nickel taped to the side for a desert fudge sickle. Napkins, a mint, a folded paper plate…all very proper. During the colder months, she’d sometimes, include a second thermos filled with Chicken Noodle soup or Spaghetti-O’s. A plastic spoon was included.

I remember sitting at the lunch table with some friends who came from more modest families. I noticed the difference between my lunches and theirs.

It seemed as though their sandwiches were slapped together–no napkins, not even cut in half and instead of a lunch box, they brought theirs to school in an old plastic bread bag tied in a knot at the top.

I remember becoming keenly aware of those who had and those who had not, at a very early age. That’s one of my most vivid memories of childhood.

It’s still a visceral one.

Onward…

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Before I learned to ride a two wheeler, I was styling in this pedal car…

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I had this exact car except it was green. Had a radio too. Wind it up and it would play that classic 1964 hit “Hickory Dickory Dock”. I think the Beatles covered that tune a year later.

I took great pride in my car on the day when my father put my official mark on it….my little “Texas Laurie” license plate.

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By early 1965, I mastered the bicycle. By the time I was eight, there was a new bike coming into vogue. I believe it was called different things–depending on where you live.

In Texas, we called this bike:

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A Stingray…

Yeah, it was cool.

I knew kids in the Northeast that called it a Spyder.

Different name, same bike.

It had a front wheel that was slightly smaller. In the mid 60’s it had pedal breaks. By 1969, hand breaks were introduced….attached to what we always called “Butterfly Handlebars”.

“Stingrays” ALWAYS had the cool banana seats…big enough for one kid with a big ass… or two kids with normal hineys.

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These were the toys of my youth; the ones I played with as a child. They helped shape my being.

And then I grew up…

And so did my toys….

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By the time I turned 14 and became a Freshman in High School, my toys changed EXPONENTIALLY, man.

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And uh…this, too!!!

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You should see what I considered “toys” in the 80’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Did you like “I Was Milton Bradley’s Love Child Part 2″? If so, there’s a Part 1 DYING for you to read it. Click here to be immediately taken there.

And here’s the newest entry..“I Was Milton Bradley’s Love Child-Part 3″

And for a nostalgic look at Laurie in High School (God help us all), click here.

I Was Milton Bradley’s Love Child

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If you want proof of just how much times have changed, you can:

A) look in the mirror or

B) compare and contrast the toys we played with and the toys your kids and grandchildren play with today.

I feel sorry for kids these days. Their toys are all so damn “safe”. They have to have a purpose; be educational. They’re tested and retested by assorted lab coats and approved by countless parents’ groups and councils and what you. All of the fun has been tested out of them.

Not the case with our toys!

Back in the late 50’s and 60’s, our toys burned, cut, scratched, impaled, poisoned, scarred and maimed and we had the time or lives!

That’s a gross exaggeration of course, but our toys WERE completely different.

I like ours better.

We had great toys. Remember how the new ones smelled? Especially at Christmas (at Hanukkah for my Jewish friends). You’d open them up and that new toy smell would hit you. What was that exactly? Plastic? Dioxin?

I don’t know either, but I can still smell that smell. It’s distinctive and makes me smile. It smells like childhood….really takes me back. It probably destroyed the hell out of the lining of my nose, but what great memories!!

So, on that note—let’s take a little journey back; back to the days when you went to your closet and pushed aside Uncle Fred’s dress to get to the games and toys that helped define your childhood.

Our childhood.

(((INSERT HARP GLISSANDO TO DENOTE FLASHBACK SEQUENCE)))

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Let’s start off with The Game of Life. A fun game, right? At the very least, a little headier than most board games of the time.

I remember part of the song used in the ad:

“You may go to college…just to get a lot of knowledge. Hollege”

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Good times.

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I loved this next game, but I can’t remember how to play it. Hands Down required four players and you’d slap down the corresponding plastic hand for an objective that escapes my memory. I remember getting a little carried away while playing it. We’d slam those hands down!! Hard!!! I got this game for Christmas 1966. By Valentine’s Day, we had to change the name to Hand Down. While I’m at it, remember Ants In The Pants? It was a glorified tiddly winks game with plastic tiddly ants.

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The next game was fun…. in the beginning. Then when you figured out the length of the timer, the thrill was gone. I’m talking about Dynamite Shack.

Check it out:

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and here’s the game itself…

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The trick was putting on those big pink thumbs and trying to pick up as many dynamite bundles as you could, then you’d shove them down the chimney of the dynamite shack. Whoever got the most dynamite into shack by the time the damn thing blew up, sending the roof a whopping two inches into the air, was the winner.

I played this game with a kid who grew up to be a demolition expert. Not really…I just couldn’t think of a funnier way to segue out of this.

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I played Don’t Spill the Beans and Kerplunk.. ..

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I remember really wanting Green Ghost for Christmas. But when I got it, we never played it because the isntructions were too damn convoluded and way too labor intensive to set up!

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And speaking of labor intensive set up, anyone remember THIS bitch????

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Ah yes…Incredible Edibles and the Thing Maker.

Mattel hired a Spokeskid named Donnie Dixon (was that his real name?  Maybe..on his SAG card anyway)  to hawk this precursor to Gummy Bears…gummy Worms, etc. I think it was called Creepy Crawlers. You had this flavored “Plastigoop” that you squeezed insect shape trays, then you cooked them in this special press and VOILA!! Out came incredible edibles. I tried one once— a spider, I think.

I seem to remember it tasting like ass.

The Thing Maker made all kinds of things…

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And here’s Creepy Crawlers…

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I remember the jingle….

“OPEN THE DOOR FOR YOUR (a young girl sighs) MYSTERY DATE!!

I didn’t play the game known as Mystery Date all that often. But I seem to remember thinking that the hopeless, hapless, unemployed “Dud” was by far, the hottest potential date in the game’s stable of penile partners. Little did I know that THAT attraction would be a harbinger of things to come in my adult life.

I still combat LOSER MAGNET status.

Oy.

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I loved Limbo Legs. It was a stick that was height adjustable and attached to a variable speed motor. You had to jump it as the stick as it went round fast or slow, low or high. If it hit you, you lost.

I remember that hurt.

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A lot.

Anyone remember Slap Stick? It hurt too. We’d get wicked with slappers. By they way, that portion of the game made an all to easy and accessible spanking device.

Here it is, bigger than life!!

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I had a Kenner Give-A-Show Projector. It was a slide projector. I only had one slide: Mr. Magoo… BORING! I wanted Top Cat and Huckleberry Hound. BUT NO!! I got Mr. Magoo…the near- sighted loser!!!! You have to read a Mr. Magoo cartoon…that won’t work. You have to hear the late Jim Backus as the voice of Mr. Magoo for it to be even remotely funny, which it rarely ever was. give-a-show.jpg

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Like any self respecting girl, I had doll dishes. We’d play restaurant with mine. We’d set up a few tables and even served cookies and Kool-Aid.

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We’d make Ed, the only guy on the block be the waiter. Unfortunately, Ed wasn’t the most graceful thing on two legs. He’d end up spilling stuff and dropping more plates than that Czechoslovakian cat on “Sullivan”.

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Can’t you just hear Khachaturian’s “Saber Dance” in your head???

What was that?? You don’t remember the Saber Dance? It’s frenetic chords and pace? Then watch this video to remember.

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And of course, I can’t end a look back at our toys without making mention of the one, the only Kenner Easy Bake Oven!!

I remember baking brownies, a cake or two and I think I even tried my hand at making biscuits. I still have one of the original animal shaped cookie cutters that came with the oven.

Who knew that a single 40-watt bulb could cook like that???

Oh yeah…it cooked alright!!

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Wanna see the tale-tell signs that someone had JUST gotten a Kenner Easy Bake Oven for Christmas or their birthday??

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Would you like to see more toys and games you haven’t seen in decades? Bikes, dolls and guys stuff, too? Then I’ll take you to the follow up to this post, “I Was Milton Bradley’s Love Child Part 2″. Click here, Silly Putty!!!

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