by Maria Schulz
Christmas is coming, and that makes me think of TOYS! Since I will be shopping for the only little guy left in my family, it got me to thinking about all of the awesome toys I enjoyed as a child.
That’s why I was so amused by this article about toys that made it into the Toy Hall of Fame this year:
I didn’t even know there was a Toy Hall of Fame! I was even more surprised to learn that the two inductees from 2013 were (drum roll please): the rubber duckie and the game of chess. Of course, I understand the importance of The Rubber Duckie because I am a huge Sesame Street fan. I can still sing the song along with Ernie (without cheating):
Rubber Duckie, you’re the one!
You make bath time lots of fun.
Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you.
You. You You You You.
I can even understand why the chess game made it onto the list. When we were young, my brother Chris and I used to play chess together. I didn’t really understand the game, so I took out lots of library books and learned tricks so I could beat him in a few plays.
That used to infuriate him, so I stopped doing that and started playing him like I was a Russian chess master. This way, the game went on endlessly until one of us backed the other one into a corner that we couldn’t get out of and the game finally came to its’ merciful end.
So as you can imagine, I’m totally for the Rubber Duckie and the Chess game’s placement into the Hall of Fame. I even got a kick out of the other 53 toys that were already inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. Check them out at: http://www.toyhalloffame.org/toys
Some of my favorite Hall of Famers are Mr. Potato Head, Barbie, GI Joe, roller skates, the Slinky, jump ropes, bicycles and Silly Putty. You pretty much have 2/3 of my childhood right there. However, there are some toys that aren’t on the list that I think definitely should be, so here are:
14 Toys that Should be in the Hall of Fame, and Possibly Under the Christmas Tree
- The Farmer See-n-Say Pull String Toy: the duck says: Quack! The cow says: Moo! What child in their right minds wouldn’t love this toy? I’m sure it looks a little different now then it did back in my heyday, but I’m guessing that the under 3 crowd would still get a HUGE kick out of this baby. Just don’t let their big brothers get their hands on this, since the pull string won’t last very long with them around. Oh, wait…that’s my big brothers you should keep away.
- Pac Man: this was nominated in 2013, but didn’t make it to the final cut. Come on! I spent a boatload of quarters on this one at the bowling alley when I was a kid. It was addictive, and I can still hear the music as my little Pac Man tried to eat up all the coins before he was destroyed.
- Asteroids: here was another classic game that kept me busy (and mostly broke) every time I stepped foot into an arcade or bowling alley. I always hoped to knock off all the aliens before they landed, but I usually wasn’t successful. So how did I cope? I spent another quarter. And another…and another…
- Pong: the granddaddy of ‘em all when it comes to TV console games. My brothers brought this game home after they went “canvassing” for more newspaper customers and won it as a reward for signing up the most new subscribers. I used to love playing this against one of them—if and when they let me play.
- Slime: this utterly disgusting, slippery, slimy pile of green goo came in a green can and served no earthly purpose, except to get caught in the carpets and ruin the furniture. However, it felt really weird and was fun to use with your Barbies when you were putting them into some dangerous imaginary scenario.
- Cabbage Patch Kids: I remember when this toy was THE HOT TOY of the year, back a hundred years ago. Lucky for me, Chris worked at a store and was able to put one aside for me. Did it matter that I was really too old to get caught up in this whole ridiculous phenomena? Nah.
- Battleship: G-3. Miss. C-7. Miss. I-1. Hit! YOU SUNK MY BATTLESHIP! Now here was a game that kept my brothers and me busy for many, many hours. You couldn’t just play one game. No, it had to be a best of 3, or a best of 5, or sometimes, a best of 7. I like the old-school version, which are just two game boards that close up like two boxes, with red and white pegs, five different boats, and endless sound effects, supplied by you.
- The Barbie Dream House: There was an elevator! Endless square footage! Barbie, PJ, Skipper and Francine could have their own rooms! All right, so I never actually owned this toy, but I asked for it every year. My dolls never got to live in this dream house; they had to share “rooms” in the five-room railroad apartment that was my dresser. This one definitely should be in the Hall of Fame.
- Trivial Pursuit: when I wasn’t gazing lovingly into the eyes of my Cabbage Patch Doll, I was probably trying to impress my friends by getting as many wedges as possible in the game of Trivial Pursuit. You could say I’m a bit of an idiot savant, since my head is filled with more useless information than Rain Man’s. If only the Geography category had been “James Garner Movies.”
- Mike Powers, Atomic Man: Technically, since GI Joe made it into the Hall of Fame, Mike Powers, Atomic Man is in too. However, I think he deserves his own special designation. My brother had this toy when he was a kid, and he loved it. Mike fit right in with the rest of the GI Joe crew, and his atomic arm and leg made him the obvious choice whenever there was an apocalyptic story line.
- The Bionic Woman: you could pull her skin up to reveal the chips in her arm, and when you twisted her head, it made a “click click click” sound that indicated her bionic sense of hearing. She also came with a stylish blue jumpsuit and a snazzy red shoulder bag that held all of her important accessories. What more do those people need to put this doll in the Toy Hall of Fame?
- The Six Million Dollar Man: well, naturally you need to add him to this list, since he has to help The Bionic Woman save the world. Just don’t let him sing any weird songs about how much he loves her like he did in the TV show, and you’ll be all right.
- The Game of Life: really now—if Monopoly gets to be in the Toy Hall of Fame, so should The Game of Life. It was the perfect choice when you didn’t have a week to sit around buying up all the real estate on the Monopoly board, or you just felt like trying to shove as many peg people into your little car as it could possibly hold. Spin the wheel! Follow the path of Life! Become a millionaire or end up in debtor’s prison! How much fun is that?
- The Pogo Stick: is this toy dangerous? Yes. Is it likely you will fall while trying to learn how to do it? Yes. Should you do it anyway? YES! I thought this toy was a giant hoot. Again, I never had it myself, but that’s what friends are for.
I loved bopping around on a pogo stick, almost as much as I loved climbing to the top of the monkey bars when I was 5. That was back when there was no padding underneath the monkey bars (and there were monkey bars) and if you fell, you probably walked away with one or more limbs hanging at odd angles and a bloody head wound that made the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look tame by comparison. So what did my mother say before you climbed to the top of the monkey bars or got on the Pogo Stick? DON’T FALL! Wise words from a woman who had seen it all.
Pac Man Cake
In honor of one of my favorite toys of all time, here are some fun ideas to create your own Pac Man cakes, cookies, brownies and more
So, Hungry Lifers…which toys would you put in the Toy Hall of Fame? Are you on board with the Rubber Duckie and game of Chess induction this year? Do you know of a Mike Powers, Atomic Man cake recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks.