Thursday, December 16, 2010

1960s Christmas Gifts

I was an only child and my father was a doctor. We were not rich but we weren't poor, either. That meant that I got a lot of good Christmas presents. I ran across a site listing some vintage toys from the 1950s through the 1970s and as surprised at how many of these I had. Here is some commentary on some of them.

The Johnny Seven OMA set was seven weapons in one. It fired three types of projectiles. It could also be set up as a grenade launcher.You folded the legs down and spread them to make a tripod and flipped up the launcher. The stock detached and the pistol grip became an actual pistol. All together, there were two triggers and four firing buttons plus the release for the pistol.

The James Bond Attache Case was something I really wanted. I think that it was a Sear exclusive back when they were a major retailer. It had a bunch of gimmicks right out of the movies. There was a (plastic) knife hidden in one end. You could shoot a plastic bullet. It had a built-in camera and walkie-talkie and separate receiver. It had a trick latch that would fire a cap if you opened it wrong. Inside it had some secret agent identification and a pistol that could convert to a rifle. I continued to use the walkie-talkie receiver for years.

I had both of these consoles. The top one was ok. It had several controls that you could play with but the bottom one was more fun. The bottom one had controls for an airplane with the airplane mounted on top. The throttle controlled the propellers (this predated  jet airliners) and the yoke make the plane tilt up, down, left, or right.

This car dashboard looks familiar. Either I had one of these or a friend did. Either way, its more fun to pretend to fly a plane than drive a car.

The Johnny Astro spacecraft was a neat idea. It used a vortex to lift a small balloon. By using a joystick and throttle you could control the balloon's flight. I found it frustrating. There was too much play in the controls and I could never get the balloon to go quite where I wanted it to go. You also had to use a feather-light touch on the throttle or the balloon would fly out of the vortex and you would have to start from scratch.

My Give-A-Show projector was red instead of blue but otherwise it was just like this one. It projected four panel cartoons. I got a lot of use out of this one.

This car wash looks familiar. I'm sure that I had one. I'm also sure that using it as a car wash was fun for five minutes. After that I used the parts as other things.

Part of the Mattel Thing Maker series. You squirted some colored goop into metal molds then heated them for a few minutes. After they cooled you had soft, rubbery pieces. There were heads, arms, and legs. You used a pencil to hold them together. It was fun until the goop ran out.

The Wham-o Air Blaster was great. There was rubber membrane inside. You cocked it with a lever on top then fired it by pulling the trigger. It created a blast of air and a cool sound. The air blast moved surprisingly slow. I played with it until I wore out the rubber membrane.

I just auctioned off my tank last Summer. I still had the box, too. The tank was controlled by a "walkie-talkie" with control buttons. The walkie-talkie was on a long cord and also held the 4 D cell batteries. It was ok for indoor play but the electric motor was disappointing. The tank was too slow and did not have enough power for rough terrain.

Thimble City was a city block on legs. The set included cars, people, and a couple of pets, all with magnets in their base. There was a pair of magnetic wands that you could use to move the objects around. This was never as much fun as the ads made it seem. When I played with it my friend and I usually kept stealing each other's characters. The pets were the best for this since they left more of the magnets exposed. I remember having an insane amount of fun that way.

This seems like a lot of toys but spread over several years of both birthday and Christmas it isn't even one present per occasion.

While these were fun, the toys I really played with are not on the site. I'll see if I can find some for a future post.

1 comment:

Wanda said...

I've been searching forever for a cockpit of an airplane like the one you have on your blog.
Do you still have it and are you willing to sell it?
Thank you!!