Winsome Wednesday: Retro Toys of My Youth

Courtesy of Pixabay

Day 203

I am working on clearing more clutter and my mental clutter took me on a tour of the retro toys I used to enjoy. Those thoughts, of course, made me wonder if any of them still existed.

The first thing that popped up was a product called Dip It Fantasy Film. The product came with wire, instructions, and cans of colorful liquid plastic. I made a lot of plastic flower arrangements with this gooey gunk. It was great fun. The only problem was that they were dust collectors. Also, after a while, because the wire was so malleable, the flowers could loose the tension a bit. I was quite surprised this was still available for purchase. (I also seem to remember it having some fumes associated with it.)

Then, who can forget Super Elastic Bubble Plastic? It came in a metal tube. You squeezed the plastic (a misnomer) on to your hand, inserted a straw and proceeded to blow large plastic bubbles. This product was taken off the market because it contained toxic materials. I think the product has been re-engineered and is again for sale, but maybe not with the same noxious fumes?

One of the toys I enjoyed the most was actually my brother’s. The Girder and Panel Building set allowed for the use of girders to build tall buildings. The kit contained snap on panels that looked like windows or doors. I loved building with it. My brother’s idea for fun was of course different. After building a sky scraper, he would take a model airplane with a detachable nose, fill it with marbles and then ‘bomb’ the building.

Then there was the Christmas our dad bought a family (questionable) game to play. It was an electric football game. The game was large, shaped like a football field with two opposing football teams. The football was a wad of tightly woven cotton. The players ran the field by vibration. The base was plugged in, causing the field to operate and the players to run and tackle simply by running into each other. Of course, there was nothing to keep them from turning and running backwards.

My last retro toy is of course my favorite — Chatty Cathy. I remember mine like it was yesterday. She wore a dress with a red velvet top and a white eyelet skirt, white socks and red shoes. She had freckles and her auburn (not red) hair was in ponytails. That was the first time I had ever heard the word ‘auburn’. The doll had a string at the back of her neck and when pulled, Chatty Cathy would talk. I remember very well every phrase and every inflection of her voice. The fabulous June Foray was the voice of Chatty Cathy. A few years back, my daughters bought me a vintage working Chatty Cathy and I also have a miniature Chatty Cathy talking Christmas tree ornament. And because she is my favorite toy, I am attaching a short documentary on the creation and history of my beloved doll. If you loved a Chatty Cathy doll, you will enjoy it.

That’s it for today’s trip down memory lane. What vintage toys did you enjoy as a child? Were they dangerous?


16 thoughts on “Winsome Wednesday: Retro Toys of My Youth”

  1. I had The Girder and Panel Building set and that was one of my favorite toys, EVER! I also had the electric football game mentioned. My other brother had the earlier version, that had players on metal bases and a wooden football with a magnetic end. That was much easier to play. It also vibrated much more powerfully.

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    1. Girder and Panel great toy, Dan! When the copyright expired, a new company made them for a while. I actually bought it for my grandson. In my excitement I bought them when he was much too young. It disappeared into oblivion. He would probably appreciate it more now at 17 since he is studying engineering.

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  2. Childhood was dangerous! Mud pies, skinned knees, mercurochrome. My favorite talking doll was Casper the Friendly Ghost. Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. Its funny but I don’t remember many toys. I had a blonde doll that I loved early on and later, a Revlon doll that I still have although she’s missing an earring, her pearl necklace, shoes and stockings! But her dress, hair and hat are perfect! Lol.
    My ” treasure” with vivid happy memories was my record player! Saved my allowance to buy my 45’s, some of which I still have. I was probably at least 11 when I got it.
    Actually, I think we had a monopoly game. Don’t know what else! Sigh. Your memories are always SO sweet!

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    1. Is the Revlon doll the one you thought you lost? I loved 45’s, too. We had a bunch of them. Which ones did you save?


  4. I had paper dolls, specifically Betsy McCall out of McCall’s Magazine, and also I made them out of old pattern catalogs. I think I had some stuffed toys, and I had a Japanese doll, but she wasn’t meant to be played with. Mostly we played with boxes and found objects, and we played games, and we played street and yard games (in those days you could do that safely in a neighborhood).

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    1. Oh, I loved paper dolls, too. I had a Gone With the Wind set which I adored. Of course, Betsy McCall was always a favorite. We also used to cut them from the newspaper – the dolls that held hands. We also spent a lot of time outside – playing tin can alley (kick the can) and several versions of tag games.


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