Note: The original w/u has the National Toy Hall of Fame as being located in A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village in Salem, Oregon. Since then it has outgrown its surroundings and it is now part of the Strong National Museum of Play located in Rochester, New York. As an adult with adult concerns, I can only imagine how cool it would be to say that you worked in the “Museum of Play”.
In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man
Now I've reached that age, I've tried to do all those things the best I can
Excerpt from the fine tune by Led Zeppelin called “Good Times, Bad Times" released on the album by the same name way back in 1969.
What would the world be without toys?
I just read a news article about which toys made the cut this year and will have the distinction of being inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame (more on that later) and it got me to thinking about my younger days. I’m guessing that many of them that I’m about to list have sadly gone the way of the west and are considered outdated, antiquated or even boring by today’s modern standards. Still it harkens me back to a kinder, gentler time when ones childhood imagination counted more than batteries, images on a screen or electricity. Another plus was that the vast majority of them were relatively cheap and could be afforded by just about any household. I don’t know if you can say the same about today’s gizmos and gadgets.
Take a good look at the list (yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it). If you look closely only two of the toys require electricity or batteries. Sometimes simpler is better. See if you can spot them. While you’re at it, try and spot which of the toys you had as a child and take a moment to transport yourself back in time.
I dare you, try not to smile.
Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!
One might ask how do toys get nominated for this esteemed prize? After all, each person probably has their favorite one and is probably a bit biased when it comes to making the grade. Well, the answer is quite simple. Anyone can send their suggestions to the Hall itself and from there the list is trimmed down by the museums curators, educators and toy historians. From there a national selection committee debates and selects the winners.
The museum itself was originally opened in 1999 and these were the first toys selected for inclusion and where appropriate with some personal commentary by yours truly. Since then, it’s been repeated annually.
The envelope please…
Barbie – Sorry, back in my day, boys didn’t play with dolls.
Crayola Crayon – No one can be unhappy with a fresh box of crayons, I couldn’t have said it better if I tried.
Erector Set – Oh yeah! I spent hours and hours building stuff at the kitchen table until it was time for dinner.
Etch A Sketch – Sure, although what I created was far from “art”. Mostly drawing of steps leading to nowhere.
Frisbee – Definitely spent many a summer afternoon at the beach or the park tossing one of these back and forth.
Hula Hoop – Tried and failed miserably. Wasn’t pretty to look at.
Lego – Of course! Let your imagination be your guide.
Lincoln Logs – Christmas 1965 , age 7– I swear I can still smell the wood.
Marbles – Not so much, hard to play in the street. Alternative use was as the projectile from a slingshot
Monopoly – What household doesn’t have this in their arsenal of games?
Play-Doh – Ruined many a carpet in the borgo household.
Radio Flyer – Don’t know if mine was the real McCoy but certainly had a red wagon. Strange name for a wagon though.
Roller Skates – Street hockey with a roll of electricians tape in lieu of a real puck.
Teddy Bear – I suppose I had one at one time or another.
Tinkertoy – Similar to Erector Set but made out of wood.
View-master – Up close and personal, took me places that I only saw on television. My first 3D experience.
Duncan Yo-Yo – not just any Yo-Yo, it had to be a Duncan!
Bicycle - A necessity when getting around Brooklyn.
Jacks – Had ‘em, didn’t care too much for ‘em
Jump Rope – To this day, still can’t do it, spastic from the waist down.
Mr. Potato Head – Didn’t everybody have one of these?
Slinky – I can still hear the theme song from the commercial - “It's Slinky, it's Slinky, it's fun, it's a wonderful toy. It's Slinky, it's Slinky, it's fun for a girl or a boy."
Silly Putty – More ruined carpets in the borgo household.
Tonka Trucks – What? This hasn’t been noded? Seemingly indestructible, stands the test of time.
Jigsaw puzzle – Love them to this day!
Raggedy Ann – See my comments about Barbie
Alphabet Blocks - “Now I know my ABC’s next time won’t you sing with me”
Checkers – King Me!
G.I. Joe – I take back what I said about Barbie and Raggedy Anne!
Rocking horse – Remember falling off one, see black eye.
Scrabble -Never went away, still play every now and then either on line or at home.
Candy Land – One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my front stoop playing this with the neighbors kid.
Cardboard box – Yup, sometimes the box was more fun than what came in it.
Jack-in-the-box – Pop goes the weasel!
Easy Bake Oven -Ick! Cooking is for girls!
Lionel Trains - inherited a set left over by my brother
Atari 2600 – Never had one so can’t comment.
Kite – If you’re ever told to go fly one, take them up on it.
Raggedy Andy – Can’t say I did.
The Stick – Uhm, ok, they do grow on trees and from there you had to pretend it was a bunch of other things but yeah, I can see it..
Baby Doll – yeah…..well….no!
The Skateboard – Before they cost a gazillion dollars. Was basically a piece of wood with some wheels on it.
The ball – See Spaldeen or I declare war!
Game Boy – see my comments about Atari 2600
Big Wheel – Shit yeah! Those things freakin’ rocked!
The Game of Life – Still playing it some form another to this day.
Playing Cards – thank you Edmund Hoyle – I wore your book out.
Hot Wheels - Raced them, traded them, bet on them.
Dollhouse – sorry ladies, not for me!
Blanket – The only one on the list that I have to disagree with, not fun when wet.
Star Wars action figures -Give me G.I Joe anytime
Dominoes - I still have a set in the house.
There you have it folks. Lets have a big hand for the honorees and here’s to hoping the toy of your choice will make it to the Hall soon.
In the meantime, don’t forget to HAVE FUN!