With children of my own now I sit back during the holiday season watching all the toy commercials and walking through the toy isles figuring out what I will be putting under the tree for them this year. While looking at all these toys in the 21st Century I cannot help but reflect on the toys from my childhood that I loved most. Let me share five of what I believe are the best toys from my childhood; the 1980’s.
1. He-Man and The Masters of the Universe Toys
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I had Castle Grayskull on the living room floor with He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe) atop of Battle Cat fighting against his dear enemy Skeletor atop Panthor. The He-Man action figures (over 30 hero warriors, over 20 villains, 7 evil horde, and 6 snake men) by Mattel were the hot action toy that all little boys wanted for Christmas in 1981. As a child holding He-Man in my hands I knew I could be as powerful as He-Man was and save the universe from evil warriors like the blue evil Skeletor.
2. Teddy Ruxpin
I loved it when mom would read a book to me to put me to sleep at night or when grandpa sat in his chair and told a heroic story. Nothing, however, was as amazing as my favorite little buddy at the age of 5 that would read my favorite story book stories from a cassette tape in his back. It was so life like to a young boy when a stuffed bear not only reads, but also moves his mouth and eyes. That was my little buddy that went everywhere with me. Teddy Ruxpin was introduced in 1985 by Worlds of Wonder and soon after dominated the toy industry.
What the heck was Mogwai? If you lived during the 1980’s you definitely remember the little, quiet, and cuddly little buddy that didn’t like the light and loved to sing a tune. Beware, Mogwai has a little issue when he gets wet and eats after midnight. He spawns multiple ugly, terrifying, and deadly gremlins. After the 1984 debut of the hit movie Gremlins the little cuddly Mogwai was introduced into the toy industry and everyone that loved Gremlins had to have their own special Mogwai.
The Omnibot produced by Tomy was a one of its kind AI toy robot in 1984 that could carry small light objects, play sounds, contained a built in cassette deck, had alarms, and more. During the mid 1980’s this was the societal fascination that made everyone feel like the future of robots was upon us. The boys loved the Omnibot, especially me, but parents despised the machine. This was a toy that spawned from the famous movie robots: Terminator and Apollo (Paulie’s gifted robot in Rocky Balboa IV).
5. M.U.S.C.L.E., (Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere) Toys
The one simple toy that boys loved to play with that was of a girly color: pink. The M.U.S.C.L.E. toys also known as “Muscle Men” were small, 2 inch tall, pink, and monochromatic PVC gum wrestling figurines produced in 1985. These became the collector item for young boys under 10. I had a dozen of these pink monsters and used them to fight against my G.I. Joes. So simple, but so fascinating.
What were your favorite toys when you were a child?