Saturday, April 12, 2008

80s Toys ~ More than Meets the Eye

(ok, here's the deal you click the arrow and listen to the song while you read, it really is better that way. kids like balloons don't they?)

What's fun about playing with a building? ~ BIG (you know you wanted to play on that piano)

It seems like the 80s was when marketers finally woke up to the idea that kids were a demographic and their parents (being yuppies) had some cash to splurge. (This was before those same marketers, and 80s children all grown up, realized that infants were a demographic  that could also be targeted) Happy Meals were introduced in 1979 and by 1981 were reveling in their toy promoting glory. Make sure you collect all four kids. What I loved were the toy commercials, because the toys on it were so much cooler than the piece of crap that you actually brought home. Oh, and let's not forget that really cool kid that plays the Simon game in the park, or wherever they are, and then beat it!

 I, being a girl, was truly in love with  Strawberry Shortcake. Her hair smelled so good. The problem with her was if her arm came off it just would not go back on, unlike, say, Barbie's leg. Then you either had to put up with an armless Strawberry or beg and plead for a new one. I also really loved those My Little Pony and was overcome with absolute eight year old joy one Christmas morning when the Pony Perm Shop was dropped off by Santa. That's right you could perm the ponies' hair. Really it was just some curlers and some hairspray. But everyone needed a perm including the ponies. I have to mention the Care Bears as well here because they are such an 80s icon, but I never owned a Care Bear.  I just LOVED the movies. (I have two of them today and, by today's standards, still seem a little scary for the boy, but baby girl owns a Care Bear.) 

So after consulting with the Manny I have a male input about the greatest boy toys of the 80s. The first being Transformers, I remember Transformers fondly. This was a boy cartoon I could actually watch and the toys were intriguing, I was always trying to put them together only to have my brother tell me I was doing it wrong then show me how, complete with transformer sound effects. The next would be He-Man in my book. I remember asking the dear brother once if he liked He-Man better than God. To which he replied, "of course." This may explains some things.  Then finally, G.I. Joe and his arch nemesis Cobra. These were the cool plastic action figures, not the plush doll like ones I have seen in the stores recently. Those things were all over the house. Absolutely everywhere. Of course all of the best 80s toys came with matching cartoons that were on Saturday mornings and right after school. 
Here are some other 80s toys worth listing:
1. Popples (I had a bed tent with the Popples on it) 
2. Thundercat
3. Cabbage Patch Dolls (I had three, I knew some kids that had eight...I was so jealous.)
4. Pogo Balls (these was actually quite fun)
5. Pound Puppies (still have one)
6.  Hugga Bunch (never had one just dreamed)
7. Poochie
8. Micro Machines
9. Rainbow Brite (I was NOT a Rainbow Brite fan)
10. Jem and the Holograms (the toy was awful like a overgrown Barbie, or as the cynical husband said "that is just an 80s Bratz doll", but I LOVED the cartoon)
Like most kids in the eighties I went to day care where there was a lot of board games being played. Of course Candy Land comes to mind, but I also coveted Connect Four, Pig Pong, Operation, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Battleship, and that aforementioned Simon game. Plus, we colored and this was the decade when the jumbo box of crayolas came into being (didn't it have something like 96 crayons?) complete with the crayon sharpener in the back which, never ever worked.) I cannot finish this post without mention of a Lite Brite, which just seems so odd now. I am sure that I could fill pages and pages of 80s toys, I just loved them all, but here a  couple of toy commercials for you all to enjoy. 

p.s. don't forget to left.

 that simon one i kept talking about

 a smattering of boy commercials

barbie and the rockers

my little pony


love2cook said...

I think the year was 1983? But for Christmas one year I got "Moppet Secret Doll House." It was a doll that had a huge skirt that covered her doll house. I LOVED playing with that! Oh yes, and my roller skates. I wore out those things skating around the neighborhood and at skating parties.

Anonymous said...

add from youtube....MICHAEL HEDGES - ,Because It's There & Silent Anticipations'. True 80's Windham Hill stuff...Pappy

The Manny said...

Somehow I knew Dad would find a way to through in Windham Hill. Ok, everyone who actually has heard of them other than our family raise their hands. I thought not.

The Manny said...

Ah the rampant violence of toys and shows for kids. People actually died in the shows. How traumatic it was for me to see Optimus Prime die, I actually cried.