ARTICLE ARCHIVE - BABE GALLERY - PODCAST - FORUM EMAIL - PRESS INFO - MYSPACE - BLOG


IT'S THE retroCRUSH INTERVIEW ARCHIVE

AL GORE

ALISON ARNGRIM

ANDREA MARCOVICI

ANNASOPHIA ROBB

AUDREY LANDERS

BEVERLEY BONNER

BEVERLEY RANDOLPH

BILLY ZABKA

BRANDON BIRD

BRIAN CUTLER

BRUCE CAMPBELL

BUCKNER AND GARCIA

CHARLES BAND

CHRISTY SAVAGE

CINDY MORGAN

CLAUDIA CHRISTIAN

COURTNEY GAINS

CRISPIN GLOVER

CYNTHIA MYERS

DEAN CAMERON

DREW CURTIS

DYANNE THORNE

EDGAR WRIGHT

ERICA GAVIN

HANK GARRETT

HOMESTAR RUNNER CREATORS

JACK HILL

JOE BOB BRIGGS

JOHN LAZAR

JOHN WATERS

JOHNNY RYAN

JOSH HUTCHERSON

JUDY LANDERS

KATHERINE AND DAVID PATERSON

KEITH CARRADINE

KELLI MARONEY

LANA WOOD

LANCE KERWIN

LISA PELIKAN

LLOYD KAUFMAN

LYDIA CORNELL

MARILYN

MARCIA WALLACE

MICHAEL CHAMBERS

MIKE SCORE

NICHELLE NICHOLS

NICK FROST

PAUL LEKAKIS

PAULY SHORE

PETE BYRNE

PRINCESS SUPERSTAR

RANDY JONES

RICHARD HERD

ROBERT GRAYSMITH

RON JEREMY

RUTH BUZZI

SHERWOOD SCHWARTZ

SIMON PEGG

STELLA STEVENS

STEPHANIE MILLER

SUSAN POWTER

TAMMY FAYE

TODD SNIDER

TONY JAA

TURA SATANA

THE UNKNOWN COMIC

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC

 

 

 

 

DEADLY TOYS OF YESTERYEAR
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN AGE OF PRE-CHINESE LETHAL PLAYTHINGS

NOTE: I originally wrote this article about 7 years ago and thought it would be interesting to bring back amidst the countless dangerous toys made in China that have made the news in recent weeks. See, when I was a kid, our toys were dangerous because of misuse. At least kids from my time had a fighting chance against their missile firing, hair gobbling, eye slicing Christmas presents. Now that China's trying to implement a worldwide population control by dunking everything in some sort of evil death juice, it appears that these old school "deadly" delights are probably the safer option after all. So throw away that lead tainted Batman figure and buy your kids some Lawn Darts, pronto!

One of the great things about toys from a while back was that they were made with one thing in mind, playability.  Sure, they may have had lead paint, or would blow up in a kid's face, but they sure were fun.  Once the Consumer Products Safety Commission got their mitts on everything, it all went downhill.  Toy guns were spray-painted orange, and the sharp edges of everything have been rounded down to safe boring nubs.  

Fisher Price Little People were a tremendous success, but their small size made them the perfect shape to get caught in some kid's throat.  I used to have quite a collection of these a few years back, but couldn't turn down the chance to sell them for a few hundred on eBay.  They were originally made of wood, then plastic, but after being declared a choking hazard by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Fisher Price decided to redesign them so they were so fat, only Linda Lovelace's children would have to worry.

VertiBird was an incredibly fun toy. The copter would fly in a circle and go up and down when you moved the lever.  The problem with it, and other helicopter toys, was that the fast spinning hard plastic propeller could turn a kid's eye into the opening scene of Un Chien Andalou.  You'll notice more modern helicopter props have a ring around the outside to prevent such eye chopping action, now.

One of the more famous deadly toys was the missle-firing Colonial Viper from Mattel's Battlestar Galactica set. In 1978, some poor kid shot the tiny red projectile down his throat and killed himself.  The product was immediately recalled, and redesigned with the missle GLUED INSIDE!  Urban legend has it that the missle-firing Boba Fett figure was never released because of this.  The parents of the 4 year old who died even sued Mattel for a whopping $14 Million as a result (read more here).

My favorite dangerous toy was the Snacktime Cabbage Patch Kid.  Looking to inject new life into the sagging sales of the toy line, a model was made that would move its mouth up and down and chew food you'd give it.  Put a plastic carrot in it's mouth, and it'd munch it up.  The problem was, the CPKs had a particularly sick craving for little kid's hair.  Once a long blonde lock got caught inside, the possessed devil-doll would start chewing and swallowing the hair like some zombie from Evil Dead 2, sometimes chewing all the way up to the scalp.  Needless to say, the dolls were pulled immediately, becoming highly sought after collector items to guys with really really really small dicks.

Though inflatable boxing gloves like SOCK'EM BOPPERS have never truly been recalled, they've long been cited as a dangerous toy by groups that want to keep kids from exercising and having fun.  Though there's no fist to flesh contact when you're wearing these, the problem is that you can snap a kid's head back pretty hard, or cause them to come crashing to the floor for other injury.  That's why, when I beat up the neighborhood kids now, I settle it with good old fashioned knives.

But the grand-daddy of dangerous toys has to be the famous Lawn Darts (or JARTS, as some versions were marketed as).  This once popular game was all the rage until a 7 year old girl was impaled in the head by an errant toss.  The grieving father took the case to court, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission argued that they had only received less than a dozen injury complaints.  After being pressed to investigate further, they found that in one year, there was 6700 injuries and 3 deaths related to the seemingly innocent toys.  The blunt metal tip, as it comes crashing to the earth, can generate a whopping 23,000 pounds per sq. inch of force, making it no problem to turn a kid's head into a pincushion.  In 1988 they were not only recalled, but made illegal to sell, even in thrift stores.  Apparently they're still available in Canada, but they could use some thinning of the herd, from what I've seen.

CBC news has a pretty tragic look at lawn darts here, and if you've got the bandwidth, I recommend watching the video they have on their site about the whole lawn darts saga (and thanks to CBD, for still having this link work nearly 8 years after I first wrote this article).

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com