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Another tough category. Old school is the transition from a more traditional family structure and society to one that’s more open, colorful, and creative. The toys early in this ere began experimenting with new possibilities of play for both boys and girls. Though there were many failures, new creative toys created by Marx, Mattel and Ideal challenged more traditional toys and set the standard of what great toys are until the end of the 20th century


Mego Action Figures - 1972

The Mego Corporation is a toy company that was originally founded in 1954. Originally known as a purveyor of dime store toys, in 1971 the company shifted direction and became famous for producing licensed action dolls starting with Action Jackson. The following year introduced the long-running "World's Greatest Super Heroes" line based on the same Action Jackson body. Mego also produced celebrity dolls like Sonny & Cher. For a time in the 1970s, their line of 8-inch-scale dolls with interchangeable bodies became the industry standard.


Aurora Prehistoric Scenes - 1971

Following on the success of its Monster Scenes in the late 1960s, Aurora released eight dinosaur model kit "action figures" in 1971. All came with color instruction sheets and a timeline. The model kits were molded in bright colors and easily snapped together. All of the kits included movable pieces for play and interlocking bases to create a diorama. Six more kits were released in 1972, and 3 more in 1974 to make a collection of 17 kits total.


Nerf - 1970

In 1969, Reyn Guyer, a Minnesota-based games inventor, came to Parker Brothers with a football game that was safe for indoor play, and after studying it carefully, Parker Brothers decided to eliminate everything but the foam ball. In 1970, the Nerf ball was introduced as the "world's first official indoor ball", the name "Nerf" being a slang term for the foam padding used in off-road racing.


Beautiful Crissy - 1968

Crissy is an American fashion doll with a feature to adjust the length of its hair. Crissy was created in the Ideal Toy Corporation's prototype department in 1968. She has auburn hair and is 18 inches tall. While having stationary foundation or base hair rooted to its head, the Crissy doll also had another thick strand or lock of hair that emerged from an opening in the top of the doll's head, which could be lengthened or shortened with a knob in the doll's back so a child could choose to make the hair short or long.


Thingmaker - 1964

The concept of the Thingmaker was introduced in 1963, as part of Mattel's "Vac-U-Maker" set. Mattel combined the new molds and Plastigoop technology with the existing "Vac-u-form" machine, which molded simple sculptures by heating thin sheets of plastic, then using a vacuum pump to form the softened plastic over hard plastic forms. Following this introduction period, the Thingmaker portion was spun off as a separate set, and launched as the "Creepy Crawlers" line in 1964.


Krazy Kar - 1968

The Krazy Kar by Marx was was by far the best present I ever had. I just found a picture of me on Christmas Day 1971 with me in it. I must have rode and spun that thing around the neighborhood for hundreds of miles! I still have not forgiven my older brother for crashing it against the curb. Sigh.....


Big Wheel - 1969

Introduced by Louis Marx and Company in 1969 and manufactured in Girard, Pennsylvania, the big wheel was a very popular toy in the 1970s in the United States, partly because of its low cost and partly because consumer groups said it was a safer alternative to the traditional tricycle or bicycle.


Gnip Gnop - 1971

Gnip Gnop was designed and named by Joseph M. Burck of Marvin Glass and Associates for Parker Brothers. It was originally released in 1971. Gnip Gnop (pronounced with hard Gs) is a two-player table-top game consisting of a two-sided plastic game unit and six plastic balls. The object of the game is to press the levers to shoot the balls through the holes to the other side; the player who gets all six balls to the other side wins. The game is enclosed in clear plastic to keep the balls from flying out.


Dressy Bessy - 1972

Dressy Bessy and her brother Dapper Dan are dolls created by Playschool that taught preschoolers how to dress. The working buttons, zippers, snaps, laces, open & close buckles helped preschoolers develop the hand-eye coordination needed for dressing themselves. It was a great developmental toy for preschoolers. The indie rock band Dressy Bessy took their name from the toy.


Toss Accross - 1969

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Electric Football - 1960

Electric Football's ancestry can be traced back to 1929 when Tudor Metal Products invented the game. Norman Sas, the son of the owner, based the game on a vibrating car race game that Tudor already made. Over time modifications were made culminating with 3D instead of flat players in the 1960s. Electric Football became a hit and was one of the hottest items at Christmas time through the '60s and '70s. To date, it has sold 70 million games.


Wizzzers - 1969

The Wizzzer is a gyrostat spinning top introduced by Mattel in 1969. The "twist" was the use of a super-spinning, high-tech bearing, that allowed the top to spin at very high speed and remain standing for a long period of time. This top did not rely on a string to attain high speed so it was easier to master than tops of old. Wizzzers are not sold as scientific instruments but may be used to demonstrate the conservation of angular momentum and gyroscope stability.


PowerMite - 1969

Launched by Ideal in 1969 as the toy that is “safe for little hands”, Power Mite gave kids the chance to create their own workshops with sets of miniature power tools. The die-cast metal and plastic made tools were plugged into battery-operated ‘electrical’ terminals and were powerful enough to work through soft materials like balsa wood and styrofoam blocks, which Ideal supplied as ‘building materials’ with the range.


Punch Me's - 1970

I’m not sure Punch Me’s would be an acceptable name for a toy today, but back in the 70s, it was a very popular toy. Punch Me’s were inflatable toys that were weighted in the bottom and you could punch them and knock them over and they would bounce right up and you could punch them again.


Babysteps - 1965

When Mattel introduced Baby First Step ("the world's first walking doll") in 1965, and the doll sold well, a talking version was released the following year. The doll remained extremely successful through the 1960s and 1970s with innovations like being able to rollerskate.


Super Elastic Bubble Plastic - 1970

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic was the brand name for a children's toy manufactured from the 1970s through the 80s by Wham-O. It consisted of a tube of viscous plastic substance and a thin straw used to blow semi-solid bubbles. A pea-sized amount of liquid plastic was squeezed from the tube and made into a ball. One end of the straw was then inserted into the ball, and the user would blow into the other end, inflating the plastic into a bubble. The bubble could then be removed from the straw by pinching the hole closed, sealing the air inside.