(this is my echo effect)
(I'll turn off the echo now)
That's right: bicentennial fever was sweeping the nation. But what was the youth of America dreaming about as far as toy acquisition? For aren't toy companies the manufacturers of youthful dreams? I don't know the answer to that. I'm asking you.
Let's take a look-see into a WINDOW OF THE PAST. Through this toy rebate book I discovered in a shoebox full of Wacky Pack stickers (that's for another post) in my Mom's closet.
Here's the cover of the booklet, so you can enjoy the groovy font and action-packed illustrations of Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner as Bionic Man and Woman (big-ticket toy items before the advent of Kenner's soon-to-be-released Star Wars toy-line juggernaut).
It's important to note that New Baby Alive was "now more beautiful, softer 'n cuddlier. With lovable new face and outfit." Her old face must have tanked, I guess.
Page 2! Dusty and Skye ride horses and hang out in the Bubblin' Bath & Shower, with Skye holding that bath soap just so for doll-sized modesty. They make a very nice couple, I think you'll agree.
The Snoopy Drive-in Theater is the cutest toy of all time as far as I'm concerned. It has the trifecta of design adorableness featuring: Snoopy (and Woodstock!), drive-in theater reference with snack-shack, and hand-cranked film cartridges, with slow- and fast-mo, and reverse capabilities. You are the film mogul with your own personal theater experience!
This is for all you hipsters. I can't believe Urban Outfitters hasn't issued a remake of the Swinger 2-speed Electronic Phonograph (the close relative of Close 'n Play Phonograph).
Oop, I may have spoken too soon.
Hugo Man of a Thousand Faces puppet can be funny, scary or wild by just changing disguises. I'm going to go with SCARY.
Bionic Woman and Man geodesic domes for sale! Steve Austin's is a Mision Control Center where action begins! With communications console and secret escape hatch. His cohort, Jamie Summers's dome is a...contemporary home with fireplace, vinyl floor and furniture. Plus evening outfit.
Hmmm. OK, what else you got, Kenner? Steve has a Bionic Transport & Repair Station for repairing rockets and Steve's bionic components! Jamie gets a...Bionic Beauty Salon with working computer, dryer, brush and comb.
Thank God toy companies don't resort to this blatant kind of sexist marketing anymore! We've evolved a lot, haven't we?
Steve's arch-enemy Maskatron reminds me of T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Can a toy be that influential? I don't know. I'm asking you.
TTP and SSP stunt-cycle motorcross smash-up derby sets teach kids that plowing into banks (and bank robbers) and brick walls with a guitar slung across your shoulder is the alternative adult lifestyle we can fantasize about! And in some cases, actually grow up to do. But I wouldn't recommend that.
Take a look at the lovely 70s-edition of Easy-bake Oven. So deluxe, it took two light bulbs to cook your tiny cakes and pies. With a refreshing lack of pink and purple as an oven finish.
Here we see the two sides of human nature as represented in one marketing layout. Our capacity for fun and domesticity with the Treetots Amusement Park and Tree House is flanked by the sadistic abuse of power over Stetch Armstrong and the exploding targets in the Aerial Aces Target Game.
As it ever was, so shall it be. That much I know.