It’s funny to me when I see toys these days that are so involved or complex in their construction. In my day, some of my favorite toys sprung from the simplest ideas. Of course, some of those toys were deemed so dangerous (and I’m not talking dangerous like some say video games are) that they had to taken off the market or altered in some way to make them safe.
Some of my fondest memories come from playing with these toys:
Fuzzy Wuzzy Soap
I remember seeing Fuzzy Wuzzy Soap on TV and that I couldn’t wait to have some of my very own. The ads promised that the soap would “grow” fur; hence the name. To top it off, there was a toy prize inside!
The soap was so amazing to me… at first. The trouble with it was that once it was actually used it, there was no more fuzz and I was left with floaties, sometimes brown (depending on the animal the soap was shaped as), in the bathtub. And the toy, which was no better than something from a box of Cracker Jacks, lost my interest within a matter of seconds. Still, for a few days, Fuzzy Wuzzy Soap was one of my favorite things.
Any kid who watched the children’s show “Romper Room” wanted a pair of Romper Stompers so the could join in when the kids on the show starting stomping around in theirs. I was no exception to that. After all, the host of the show never called out the name “Trina” at the end of the show when she was looking through her magic mirror and I wanted to feel like I was a part of the show in some way.
Though they continued to make variations of Romper Stompers (some that look like animal feet), none were like those original ones, lovely in their simplicity, that made the coolest noise as I stomped my way across the linoleum floor.
Flatsies were my favorite little dolls to play with. Flatsies were so named because they were flat. The were made of a rubberized material that had wires inside so that they could be posed. Flatsy enthusiasts could buy clothes and accessories for their dolls that added to the fun of playing with them.
Flatsies came in several ways. Primarily, though, they gave the impression that they were a part of a picture that you could play with. Many came in picture frames that could actually be hung on the wall, while others came in three-part frames that could sit on a dresser. There were also some that came in lockets of sorts that could be worn.
Jarts were essentially giant darts that you played with outside similar to way you play horseshoes. Rather than a post though, the Jarts were aimed at a plastic ring that was placed on the ground. They were a bit easier to play with though because of their design. They soared through the air better.
Unfortunately, Jarts were deemed dangerous and were taken off the market to be replaced by a less dangerous (and less fun because they didn’t fly the same) version.
Clackers were great fun unless you got hit by a set. They were, essentially, two large glass marbles attached to opposite end of a cord that had a hoop at the cord’s center point. The idea was to move the cord up and down slightly with increasing speed until the marbles were hitting one another above your hand then below it.
It was great to challenge one another to see who could get theirs going the fastest. And, as can be imagined, they made the coolest sound (parents usually didn’t find it so cool and sent their kids outside with them). Eventually, though, after several injuries were reported, Clackers were removed from the market.