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Toys Christmas Cheer It's funny.  Laugh.

Top 100 Toys From The '70s or Thereabouts 307

doctorfaustus writes "Found this on Daily Rotation -- it details, with pictures, many of the toys we all wanted from our parents at Christmas a few years ago.... Everything from '160 Exciting Science Projects' to 'Stretch Armstrong,' along with the promises made in the toy's advertising and how often those promises were broken... The story has a British orientation, but I didn't see a single toy I didn't remember from my American youth.... They're all here: Simon, Slime, Magic Rocks, Sonic Ear... Even the Sinclair."
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Top 100 Toys From The '70s or Thereabouts

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  • by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @11:55AM (#11168381) Journal
    I've wanted one every year since I was 12... a girlfriend... I'm still waiting...
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Thursday December 23, 2004 @11:55AM (#11168383)
    This sure brings back to when I was a kid and all they toys I took apart to see how they work. I bet if I didn't take everything apart they could be really worth something.

    I Think the site will be slashdotted early. I saw a slowdown when I was almost done with the site.
    • Re:Oh the sorrow. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hal2814 ( 725639 )
      You (and me and countless others) taking them apart is what made them valuable for everybody who didn't. That's why 70's - 80's action figures still in the box are worth something. What kid kept their action figure in the box (or kept up with accessories for that matter)?
      • True But there was this one Cartoon Special on back in the 80s after I watched It I felt really bad about breaking my toys. I Wonder if any of you saw it and know what it is. It is a Toy Story like plot where the toys in a boys room are living but aperently if the mother finds them and picks them up they essencially died, that is why when ever a human entered the room they would all run and hide back to where they were soposed to be. My best guess is that it was in the late 80s 85 - 88. But if there was e
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @11:57AM (#11168402)
    What about Lawn Darts? They bring the exciting element of severe head trauma risk to the fun of summar yard play!
    • by TrollBridge ( 550878 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:03PM (#11168460) Homepage Journal
      I honestly believe "Lawn Jarts" (as our family's set was called) was a Darwinist conspiracy by the government and toy industry to cull the herd a bit.

      Fortunately my brother and I made the cut. Society is probably better off without those who didn't. Now we have these confounded safety commissions that prevent us from shedding our weak links.
    • Lawn Darts were the first game where I wore a helmet even though the directions didn't mention helmets at all. The reccomended underhanded throwing style combined with the design of the dart itself ment that (at least with kids) it was quite easy to throw one straight up in the air and have it land at some random place around you.
    • I have been accused of single-handedly taking down the original version of lawn darts with the spikes. This happened when a lawn dart impaled my friend's head and got stuck sticking straight out the top of his skull.

      We never got to play with them ever again. It's been 22 years and counting since I've seen lawn darts.
  • and I mean nothing beat that miniature Eval Knievel motorcycle that was reved using a oversided twist tie. That thing would fly, and you could make it do wheelies and such.
  • Toys today! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @11:59AM (#11168430)
    I might just be nostalgic but does it seem that the toys from back then were more tactile and creative? The toys were good in their own right but to make them great you needed a good portion of your imagination to truly make them fly.

    [grandparent voice]Today's toys are all movie tie ins and spin offs. The story has been told before the action figure or game has been brought home. The imagination is gone.[/grandparent voice]

    Still a nice trip down memory lane.
    • There are still a lot of good toys out there but they just don't get the attention they deserve. But what really scary some of the toys that infants have if they were out when I was an infant the Mility would raid my house to get the Winnie The Poo that responds to your commands because the technology would be extramly valuable to the Cold War Effort and If the Russans got their hands on it we would be doomed.
    • Re:Toys today! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fallingcow ( 213461 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:10PM (#11168532) Homepage
      This is my complaint about LEGO these days.

      Used to be, you'd have Space or Castle sets, these days you have Star Wars and Harry Potter. What the hell is the point of buying these kind of LEGOs? Get the normal action figures if you just want to re-enact or extend an existing story. To me, LEGOs are better suited to creating from-scratch story lines.

      The roles of characters are so well defined with the movie tie-in sets, while the older sets were free of anything but a slight suggestion of the relations between characters or factions.
      • Re:Toys today! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by stcanard ( 244581 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:50PM (#11168899)
        Personally I don't even like the space and castle legos

        I buy my son the basic blocks only. With a space set he can build space ships. With a castle set he can build castles. With generic blocks he can build spaceships, castles, cars, and a whole bunch of things I would never have thought of.

        • Re:Toys today! (Score:3, Informative)

          by msaulters ( 130992 )

          Personally I don't even like the space and castle legos
          I buy my son the basic blocks only. With a space set he can build space ships. With a castle set he can build castles. With generic blocks he can build spaceships, castles, cars, and a whole bunch of things I would never have thought of.

          Bah! If you have a castle set AND a space set, you can build space castles! Seriously, I used to combine parts from my space sets and my Lego airport to make some really cool stuff. The only issue I have with cur

        • yeah, but you need the joints and stuff from the space sets if you want to make a good mech!
      • LEGOs (Score:3, Informative)

        by crow ( 16139 )
        LEGOs have been changing for quite some time, but in many ways they're not much different. There were always specialty sets and special-purpose pieces. I remember the blue train tracks and ladders from the 70s, just as an example.

        Certainly they have a lot more special pieces in current sets. Some of them are hard to use for a different purpose, but some of them are great for a wide variety of alternate uses.

        Perhaps the biggest change of the last few years is the huge variety of colors available. There
      • Re:Toys today! (Score:2, Informative)

        by Moofie ( 22272 )
        I keep hearing this complaint, and it is simply not borne out by the facts.

        Your average Star Wars set has no more painted bricks than your average Space set from the early 80's. The only big, pre-formed pieces are things like canopies.

        That aside, the new click hinges are the most useful LEGO part ever.

        The new Star Wars sets are some of the best LEGO sets ever, even though you happen to be able to put them together to look like something from a movie.

        Don't know about the Harry Potter sets. They don't l
      • every time toys are mentioned on slashdot, someone inevitably brings up the "Lego was better when you didn't have all these Star Wars kits! there's no imagination anymore" or if you're really old "I had Lego before all this space and castle silliness! it was so much better"

        have you seen Lego lately? sure, the Star Wars sets are there... but *gasp* SO ARE THE BASIC SETS!
        • ok... no sure how that happened... but:
          every time toys are mentioned on slashdot, someone inevitably brings up the "Lego was better when you didn't have all these Star Wars kits! there's no imagination anymore" or if you're really old "I had Lego before all this space and castle silliness! it was so much better"

          have you seen Lego lately? sure, the Star Wars sets are there... but *gasp* SO ARE THE BASIC SETS! a feature so many /.'ers neglect (because then they couldn't sound so curmodgeonly)

          yeah... basic s
    • Re:Toys today! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rorschach1 ( 174480 )
      They were built better, too. I went through a number of modern plastic aircraft with my son, but the only one that survived - and that he really enjoyed playing with - was an ancient (Tonka?) Turboprop plane I'd had at his age. It was a bit faded and had lost some prop blades, but for a > 20 year old toy it held up pretty well. His new AH-64 Apache with lights and sounds, on the other hand, broke in half within a week.

      I went looking for a similarly well-built toy plane, but never found a modern equiv
    • Whats worse are these kid portable dvd player things that take special cargridges to play MTV music videos. this was voted toy of the year on some kids toy award shot. wtf, theres an award show for toys now. and WTF is up with this toy. you get to watch a 3 minute video of some no talent pop star over and over, then you beg your parents to buy another over priced cartridge so you can continue your brainwashing sessions, only to find that you've got your choice of 5 carts. this "toy" leave absolutely NOTHING
    • Actually, a lot of today's toys ARE the toys from our youth. My kids asked for a lot of stuff that I asked for at their age. Zoids, Rubik's Cubes, Transformers, GI Joe, etc. are all under our tree for the next generation. Robots, too. About 20 years ago my parents got me a Verbot [] (I wanted an Omnibot [], goddammit); my older son is getting a Robosapien. Toys may change some, but the idea (and sometimes even brand) stays the same.

      My only gripe with the toys these days is that they are cheap plastic renditions
      • For his birthday last week I bought my nephew the same 1/24th scale model aircraft kit that I had bought for me 25 or more years ago. The decals may have changed, and some of the parts re-cast to make other variants, but it's 80% essentially the same kit.
  • by Atrax ( 249401 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:00PM (#11168432) Homepage Journal
    ... description mentions "the sinclair". What, the Sinclair C5? ZX81? Spectrum? or one of the later, uprated spectrums (spectra?)
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by armer ( 533337 ) <glenn.vander.vee ... .com minus punct> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:01PM (#11168442)
    Now to rehash old wounds, a list of all the toys I ever wanted and never got. Merry Christmas!!...
    • Re:Great... (Score:3, Funny)

      by harrkev ( 623093 )
      I hear you, bro.

      I always wanted Rockem' Sockem' Robots when I was a kid. Never got it.

      Now, my son is 3-1/2. Guess what I got him a few months ago?

      I am glad that some of the retro 70's toys are cool again.
  • If Santa is such a cool dude and his elves are so fucking industrious why couldn't I get laptops and cell phones for christmas when I was a kid, instead of something crappy with flashing lights and irritating beeping called Simon?
  • Toys from the 1970's make me think of the Micronauts. They were by far much cooler than Star Wars figures, and the came BEFORE transformers.
    • I'd forgotten all about those. If I remember, they had one big advantage over Star Wars figures - they had legs that bent. Oh, how we laughed at the older boys with their inferior Star Wars toys. Before having our bikes stolen.
  • Skat Skoota (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jag164 ( 309858 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:14PM (#11168576)
    A favorite contraption. [] I loved my Skat Skoota and my Erector Set. I can still get Erector Sets but I have never seen another Skat Skoota since the one I wore out by the mid-80's. *sniff*
  • One thing that would have been interesting is if they listed the year that the toy first came out, the year it was last produced (some are still sold today, like the Rubik's Cube), and the year that had the top sales (i.e., when it was "in" for Christmas).

    Unfortunately, with the site down, I can't even see what their criteria was.
  • by Sideshow Coward ( 732864 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:16PM (#11168602)
    used to have his way with all of my sister's Barbies. Who could resist with his bionic leg, magnifying eye, red jump suit, and his oh-so-fuzzy head?
  • I came across this last week.

    I owned that toy called Flight Deck. It was produced by Airfix, more well known for making plastic model kits, but around this time they branched out into other things.

    Flight Deck comprised of a 1/72 scale F4 Phantom in Royal Navy colours attached to a loop of nylon fishing line. At each end was a pulley, the far end clamped to a chair or other furniture, and the near end attached to the top of a control column. The object of the game was to guide the F4 down onto a landing de
  • Then there is that awesome Kabala game []. Never seen anything like it since. We had two of them over the years, and all that survived was the black eye-sphere that was turned into a bomb prop in a movie.
  • When I was in Kindergarden (1974) every boy wanted the Evil Knievel Stunt Bike [] due to the outrageous commercial that showed how it could "easily" do pop-up wheelies, jump ramps, and other incredible tricks. Of course, the commercial turned out to be somehwat faked since getting it to do more than fall over after a 3 foot dash proved to require endless patience.

    "You knocked his block off!"

    (...even as a child I felt a special love for offering pain...)

  • Toy stores (Score:4, Interesting)

    by El Cabri ( 13930 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:34PM (#11168759) Journal
    What of the most unexpected pieces of happiness that came with becoming a father a few months ago was for me to return to toy stores. I had left the "Toy scene" twenty years ago when all my attention was diverted to getting and upgrading home computers for myself. European toys rule : Lego, Playmobil, Smurf figures were here for me, are still here.
  • here [].

  • by Artful Codger ( 245847 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:42PM (#11168821)
    I was born about 20 years too early for the Internet, so while waiting for Al Gore to actually get it done, I was an electronics geek in public & high school (early 70's)

    One year a prescient uncle gave me one of those kits, and I absolutely devoured it over the next several months. Highlights were the various radio circuits, audio amplifiers where you pressed that pink crystal earphone into service as a microphone, and the pinnacle - an AM transmitter.

    Thanks in part to that thing, I went straight into electronics after high school and had a great 20 year career in broadcast electronics before jumping into programming several years ago.

    Thanks for the link. Those were good memories.

    • I had one. My cousin's had the 75-in-1 RS kit and I got the 50-in-1. Spent years building and modding different circuits. Then one day in a quest for power, and to majorly annoy my sisters I built the TV jammer circuit and connected a very large battery. The battery was a military brick style, I think it had 120+ AA in series and parallel to make 15V with just a few amps. When the diodes exploded and the potentiometer caught fire the fun ended. So sad. It was however very cool.
  • by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @12:54PM (#11168948)
    I remember back in '73, I got a GI Joe--the 12" action figure from the Viet Nam War era! He had rough beard and pre-camouflage utility uniform. VERY cool and manly. But then, my dad exploited my colorblindness by giving me a pink banana seat high-riser girl's bike he bought from a police auction for $5. Cheap bastard.

    I think that was "tough love." But, on the bright side, I get to pick his retirement home.

    I was really, really good that decade, but I never did get one.

    I also liked the Hot Wheels power house. The battery operated "car shooter" that you could connect to your track and make the car "endlessly" loop. Except I had more matchbox cars, they and the few hot wheels I had would stick. "Not for use with all cars"

    Still it was fun a on a good set of batteries and the right one or two cars.

  • by Domini ( 103836 ) <> on Thursday December 23, 2004 @01:01PM (#11169023) Journal
    It's like Mecano, just cleaner... I really wanted this as a child, and was surprised to find it again.

    Check out Capsela []

    From the site:

    Description: Max Out comes with 108 interlocking parts to construct over 100 land and water projects inicluding a tug boat, water pump, crane, cable lift, generator, steam roller, tricycle, vacuum cleaner and as many simple machines as your imagination can conceive. Includes a full color Science Discovery Design Manual with easy to follow assembly instructions, as well as an illustrated basic Science Booklet to explore 18 physical science principles. Children of all abilities from age 7 and up will be fascinated with tangible demonstrations of electric circuits, motion energy, friction and traction, buoyancy, vacuums, and other real-life concepts as they discover the fun of science in motion with Capsela!

    • I had large quantities of the stuff. My dad would go to the US (we lived in the UK at the time) back in the 80s, and would bring back whatever the largest kit was at the time as a kind of, I don't know, guilt offering or something. That was way cool, you could build all sorts of stuff - especially with the floats involved. Impellers, worm drives, mmm...

      And, naturally, I have no idea wtf happened to it all. Ah, well.
    • Those are old?

      I got a set for christmas a few years ago. 1996 maybe (I was 8 then)? They were fun. I still have them. But I never knew they were old. I had never heard of them before. Actually, come to think of it, now's the only time I've heard them mentioned outside of my house.
  • I didn't get very far in the list before the /. effect thwarted me, but my God, someone actually put a blob of mercury in a toy??? Oh, how I long for the days of my youth!

    The lack of dangerous toys are a major part of why American society is going to hell in a handbasket. Back in the good old days, Darwinism made sure only the strongest, toughest, smartest kids survived. Nowadays, you can't hurt yourself with toys even if you try, playgrounds have 3 inches of soft rubber under everything, and they don't even have monkeybars (and you risk an NAACP protest march if you still call them monkeybars). The soft, stupid children survive into adolesence or adulthood and end up cracking for one reason or another and shooting up their school or workplace.

    There's a quote that says, why don't we thin the herd of idiots in this country by taking the safety labels off everything for a while? I say we go one better and bring back toys that were deemed too dangerous and were removed from the market.

  • Legos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by upsidedown_duck ( 788782 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @01:26PM (#11169308)
    Top toy from the 70s: Legos
    Top toy from the 80s: Legos
    Top toy from the 90s: Legos
    Top toy from the 00s: Legos

    No, I don't work for them, but having seen all the expensive-single-purpose-toy-with-no-volume-contro l-played-for-for-ten-minutes-and-thrown-into-a-clo set crap sold at stores I really appreicate how valuable toys like Legos are. And, guess what?!? Legos are still in business! You don't have to peddle ADD-inducing crap to entertain children!

  • Ah, I had a Tomy Caveman when I was young. It rocked totally.

    I had a fair few on that top 100 list as well, eep.
  • These girls I went to school with, they would eat the stretchy material inside Stretch. I believe it was actually corn syrup, or some form thereof.

    I never tried it, though I did have a Stretch.

  • I noticed the illustration for the Rubic;s Cube was of the 4^3 version, not the standard 3^3 one. The standard cube I could solve, but the bigger one was pure evil, along with Alexander's Star and a few other vaiants.
  • What? No Rebound []?

    This list is a sham!

  • You can tell I'm a child of the seventies. (Well, the sixties actually but I never grew up.)

    I only checked out the first couple of pages, but I can reveal that I presently own a mercury maze, a 4x4x4 Rubik cube, a Mastermind, ...

    I've owned several others but they're are no longer in my posession, and recognize the rest.


  • Does anyone remember the Pyraminx, which was sort of like a Rubik's cube, but pyramid-shaped? At first, it seemed really cool, and then it was boring because it was too easy.
  • "Not a single toy I don't remember from my American youth"

    Yah right, every wholesole American child played with the Test Match Cricket set, seemingly dozens of Dr. Who themed toys and an arcane tabletop version of footer.

    OK I'll grant you some of the heavy hitters where there like Battling Tops but a North American version of this list would be at least 40% different.

  • Yes , i had the flying helicopter,evil knievel, led spaceship and played alot of with the rest at the toy store.

    This list has some I haven't seen before. I have to think with the writing being 'english-centric' that alot of these toys sold in England. I think a U.S. list would be close. The escape from Clodestak(whatever) game was eye opening.
  • Two toys I always wanted (but never had) were Tonka trucks and the Raleigh Chopper (the bike pictured). Fortunately, my friends always let me play with theirs. I remember one memorable winter doing construction outdoors in the snow using Tonka bulldozers and quarry trucks.

    The Chopper was a fantastic bike. No, it was THE bike.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.