I Was Milton Bradley’s Love Child


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 have 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 playing with them!

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 exactly was that weird chemical smell? 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!!

Like new doll’s head.     Plastic hair attached to a plastic scalp.

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.



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”


Good times.


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.

hands_down.gif . ants_in_the_pants2.gif


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:


and here’s the game itself…


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.


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

dont-spill-the-beans.jpg kerplunk.jpg

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!




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


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…

. tmcreepycr.jpg


And here’s Creepy Crawlers…



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.




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 it hurt.  I lost a lot.


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!!



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.



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.



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 plate spinner on  the “Sullivan” Show


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.


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!!


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











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!!!



  1. I giggled as I read this and saw the pics. I even “smelled” the closet where our board games were kept. It smelled of wool (we lived in Buffalo so we had lots of wool.)

    Thingmaker: You pour colored goo into metal molds, then place them on the heater to bake them at 5000 degrees until they are solid. Then you can remove the mold with a special tool and then you peal out the thing you made.

    Oops. You are supposed to let it cool first. Forgot to mention that.

    Forgot to do that many times in my youth as well. I have the scares to prove it.

    I got my Thingmaker for my fourth birthday. It plugged in to the wall so I wasn’t allowed to plug it in myself.

  2. I wonder how we ever got to age we are now? And be able to tell the tales we have to share? I think, be able to burn, scrape our arms and legs and what ever else happen with these unsafe toys, made us a stronger. Thanks, for the wonderful memories, and I used to play with pick-up-sticks which we never lost an eye or a kid…. Anybody ready for a game of Barrel Monkeys or Jacks?

  3. safe? SAFE? surely you jest.
    wait don’t call me….

    my favorite was the Mattel Creepy Crawly maker. Okay this is not the trade-marked market name but what the hell.
    You put this gel into a mold, that as about 434F on a cold day, and then closed the 434F lid over it.
    Then waited.

    Eventually you got some seriously creepy }(it seemed at age 7 pr 8) spiders, scorpions, pill bugs et al

    Damn being a kid was great. Now I remember!
    I won’t grow up. Now I know why I’m still here.


  4. I can taste the Creepy Crawler bugs now. Keith Maxwell had one. It was a wonderful time on King Ave. Sure miss those days!!! Racing Western Flyer wagons down the side walk without helmets, knee pads, ect. Not sure why I am still alive!!??!!


    I remember those days on King Avenue. Playing with the two Keiths…Lisa, Sarah and LaJuana when she was allowed outside to “hang” with the riff raff. It was innocence. It was fun.

    That was life in small town Texas at it’s best. Karnes City was everything I wanted and needed it to be…that is until about 8:07 PM on balmy September 4, 1973. After that, it became absolute hell on Earth.


  5. Man. I don’t remember or didn’t play a third of those games. And I thought I was old remembering Stratego. My pops still has it.

    Well Darlin, if I’ve read your bio correctly, you’re something like 22 years younger than me…that would explain why most of these toys are a complete mystery to you. They were fun. Wish you would’ve known some of these toys. I still have the scars..both physical and psychic.

    Good times.

  6. I remember a lot of these toys and games!! What fun!!!! Thanks for this great site. I had an easy bake oven exacly like the one in the picture; and, woe is me, it fell off the banister down a flight of steps. Couldn’t be saved, darn it!! Love this site!

  7. here is one im sure no one can tell me about. its a black box with a large yellow dot and red letters spell POP BALL with a blue ball going past the words. at the bottom is the words the gay game of chance in a blue box on the lower right hand corner. i went to the milton bradley web page asked the tech what it was GOT NO REPLY they said they would never did, bad milton. any help plz.

  8. I don’t really know how I ended up at this site but I’m damn glad I did cuz i gotta lotta great memories of the early and mid sixties. Bein’ a kid here was great. Yeah it rocked! I’m 52 and I grew up in San Antonio, Tx. Been here since 1961 (on and off). I remember the toys. My favorite ones were Mr. Machine, the Superball and K’nockers. I still have them. 🙂
    I remember some of the ones for girls cuz I have 2 sisters.
    And the TV shows…oh hell yeah!! I remember Project Terror, 5 Star Shock and The Twilight Zone with Rod Serling. It used To scare the hell outta me. I loved it!
    Nowdays you hear alot about “reality shows”. The new media considers “Survivor” the first reality show but I know that ain’t right. Reality shoes were born in the 60’s with “Wild Kingdom” and “Danger Is My Business”. But do you remember a show called WOG (World Of Giants)? Damn these momories does this old heart good 4 sure.
    gotta co:)

  9. Growing up in Victoria thru the late 60s and early seventies, our cable system brought in both Houston and San Antonio stations. I remember Channel 39 in Houston would show “Romper Room” which I believe was an educational show for kinder-aged children but in reality showcased all the pre-school toys by Romper Room. I remember being envious of the kids in that classroom who got to play with all those neat Romper Room toys. I also was enamored with the cute host whose name escapes me.

    Great article. I enjoyed it.

  10. still havent heard anything about the game POP BALL THE GAY GAME OF CHANCE its an old game but no one has told me anything— go to you tube and type in pop ball , i have a video up—–please any help.

  11. I am looking for a really good photo of the BAT from the thing maker – it was on the mold with the spider.

    I am very nostalgic about my childhood, and would love an accurate representation of that bat to make a tattoo flash.

    Know where i can find a decent photo of either a thingmaker bat (mine were always black with red wings, but i will take what i can get) or the mold?


  12. But where do I get to purchase this love child game…check out my web site at my space for annie roberti….all I want is to find the game I wore the thumbs on my toes and walked around town….where is it???

  13. on youtube i have a vid about a game called POP BALL THE GAY GAME OF CHANCE. Ive been searching for any information on it . hasbro-owners of milton bradley now – wont reply, it is a real game- any help please.

  14. Love your site.Wow I remember playing nearly all of hose games! kewl…Some of them stayed around like Sorry and pop o matic trouble. I was thrilled to see the Slapstick game. We LOVED it! Where can I get one ? WE are all dying to find it in my family.

  15. I recall all thoes toys, lots of memories and blood! LOL.Just curious,does anyone remember The Crissy Doll? She had mass long red hair that grew out of her head. I loved that doll.

  16. I’ve been going down memory lane lately buying up all kinds of Nostaligc toys for my 6 Grandkids to play when they come over to visit. I recently bought about 12 of the Marx & BMC Military Playsets, GE Show ‘N Tell Viewer and about 50 Record Sets, Dozens of See, Hear Read Records to play on the record player that I bought, and about 40 games like – Green Ghost, Ghost Castle, Which Witch?, Pathfinder, Lie Detector, Yahtzhee, Quick Draw Mcgraw Game, The Jetsons Game, Charlie Brown Board Game, Easy Money, Go To The Head Of The Class, Tom & Jerry, Cargoes, Chutes & Ladders, Bumper Cars, Prospecting, Clean Sweep, Battling Tops, Bewitch, Go For Broke, Hangman, Safecrack, Game Of Heroes and Events, The Electric Questioner, Ferry Command, Mystic Skull, Battling Spaceships, Dynamite Shack, Electroni Detective Game, Flip-It Jackpot, Galloping Ghost, Battleship, Home Team baseball, Hats Off, Casper Board Game, Wrestle Around, Buckaroo, Finders Keepers, Snakes & Ladders, Disney Haunted Mansion Clue game, Beat The 8 Ball, Whack A Mole, Hang On Harvey, Bang Box, The Cattlemen, Down You Go and all 9 American Heritage Battle Games. Whew…. Needless to say we’ll soon be the favorite Grandparents to visit…lol.

    All this was courtesy of their late Great-Grandfather who died last October. I’m hoping that like your post here that just mentioning these game titles will bring a flood of memories back to your readers. If you really want a stroll down memory lane be sure to check out Sam’s Toy Box. He has an Alphabetical List with photos of the 100’s of games he’s collected over the years.

    Dave W.

And now, you may opine your ass off...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.