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THE GREATEST TOYS OF ALL TIME
PAGE TWO
(CLICK HERE FOR PAGE ONE)


ROCK 'EM SOCK 'EM ROBOTS

Before videogames like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, you had this awesome toy!  Nothing could beat that great "SKIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ" sound it would make when you'd give that perfect red-fisted uppercut to the blue robot.  If only our world leaders could settle their differences with Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, we'd be living in a happy world indeed.


CABBAGE PATCH KIDS

This was perhaps the first toy whose demand was so strong, it encouraged parents to beat the shit out of each other in toy stores to get them.  The original dolls were kind of neat, complete with their unique names and adoption certificates, but it wasn't until they made the famous Snack-Time Cabbage Patch Kid, that it achieved its true level of coolness.  A motor in their mouth would let them eat french fries, but when a lock of hair got stuck inside, they hungry doll would gulp it down clear to the poor kid's scalp.  There is no truth to the rumor that Michael Jackson asked Coleco to modify the model and produce a "Cock Gobblin' Kid", however.


LINCOLN LOGS

Back in Abe Lincoln's day, they were just called "Logs", but this toy has persevered through the ages so kids can have hours of fun making log cabins.  Unlike Legos, Lincoln Logs never had much success with their movie tie-in kits, with the Star Wars Lincoln Log set providing mostly confusion to kids trying to fashion a Death Star out of notched wooden logs.


MATTEL ELECTRONIC FOOTBALL

Long before Gameboy, (or something called graphics, for that matter), was the original handheld game, Mattel's Electronic Football.  The action was limited to moving indiscernible dots on a playing field, but it was still more exciting than watching The Cincinnati Bengals play in real life.


SMURFS

Smurfs were a great collectible for the little girls and gay boys in my neighborhood growing up.  With over 2,000 different characters from Brainy Smurf to Colostomy Smurf, it was nearly impossible to collect them all, but it was fun to try.  And who could forget their wonderful theme song, "La la la la la la, la la la la la!"  I haven't heard lyrics that cool since Mon Chi Chi was taken off the market.


SLIME

If ever there was a toy they shoul bring back for nostalgia's sake that would sell like hotcakes (and you know how good hotcakes sell), it would be Mattel's Slime.  The original came in a green trash can and was a glob of salty smelling Hulk Spooge that would drip all the way down your arm if you'd hold it in the air.  Later, they came out with varieties like Slime With Worms, and Slime Eyeballs!  There's Nickelodeon endorsed versions of slime called GACK! SPLAT! and JIZZ!, but Mattel's was the best.


CLACKERS

Of the many dangerous toys pulled off the market, perhaps the most justifiable were Clackers.  Essentially a bolo on a stick, you were supposed to shake them up and down so the balls would repeatedly clack together, but more often than not you'd soon hear the clacking sound they'd make against a kid's skull. 


ERECTOR SET

Just saying this name out loud makes it one of the coolest toys of all time.  Only the smart kids really had much success with these, however, as it required an advanced degree in Engineering to use.


RUBIK'S CUBE

One of the great time wasters, this was perhaps one of the biggest selling toys of the 80s.  So popular were these infuriating things, that tournaments with giant cash prizes were held to see who could solve them the quickest.  Other toys like Rubik's Snake, and Rubik's Revenge were soon introduced to cash in on the popularity, but the bizarre fishy smelling hair-covered Pubik's Cube was the final straw for the line.


DAISY AIR RIFLE

The holy grail of the hero from "A Christmas Story", this NRA gateway drug has been a favorite of many a lad since their inception.  Check out this HILARIOUS COMIC BOOK AD for them!  What a cool dad to actually make boxes full of paper for an IN-HOUSE SHOOTING RANGE!  I love the weird quote at the end "Bill's Dad and I are almost as tickled with indoor shooting as Bill is!"  Are these Dylan Klebold's parents?


BIG WHEEL

Between that magic period when you were too big for a tricycle, but not quite big enough for a bike, the great Marx Big-Wheel was the vehicle of choice.  The coolest thing about these was going at your top speed (7MPH), and then jamming on the break and spinning out.  Invariably, the back wheels would begin to split and you'd end up riding them scooter-style with one foot on the seat.  In an attempt to hold on to the boys getting older, Marx released a sleeker version called THE GREEN MACHINE with a slogan, "For Guys 8, 9, and 10 years old, who really know how to ride!"  Funny, that's Michael Jackson's slogan, as well.


JARTS

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. 


ATARI 2600

It's not the first videogame system, but Atari's 2600 cartridge based console was clearly the most successful of the vintage platforms, with over 500 games released before fading away to the likes of Nintendo and Playstation.  The simple beauty and elegance of the low memory games and easy to use joysticks made them a family favorite for a long time.  There's a great program called "Stella" which you can download from ATARILAND for free that plays all the old Atari games right on your computer.  And as the games are all about 4K or less, you can download the entire catalog in 4 different sections HERE.  Atari even had PORNO GAMES if you can believe it!


MEGO'S WORLD'S GREATEST SUPERHEROES

Back before superhero toys were tiny hunks of crappy plastic you could fit in your pocket, Mego made "The World's Greatest Superheroes" which had real cloth costumes (complete with gloves that you'd usually lose in a day).  Most male collectors grimace at the term "dolls" to describe them, insisting they should be called "Action Figures" instead.  Of course, most of those same people look forward to a hot date with their fist, a jar of Vaseline, and Mork & Mindy fan fiction, so I don't take their opinion much to heart. 


MY LITTLE PONY

These little creatures were some of the hottest toys for girls of all time, with knockoff versions still available to this day.  I've owned and collected many of them through the years, myself, and you can read about some of my favorites, RIGHT HERE.


CAP GUNS

When I was a kid, you could shout, "I'm gonna bust a cap in yo' ass" without getting in trouble, 'cause it was totally OK!  Cap guns were fantastic treasures, making a ton of noise and giving you the glee of killing without the remorse of guilt that would follow if you really went through with it.  There were small plastic caps for some guns, but my favorites were the tiny red rolls of paper caps that you'd tear of.  I remember wrapping about 6 rolls of caps around a stick and setting it on fire, watching it pop all over the place.  Those were the days!  Of course, you can't get any realistic looking toy guns anymore, they're all day-glo orange.  Maybe if we can convince gangs to start spray painting their guns orange, they'll make the toy ones look real again.


THE EASYBAKE OVEN

Man, when you were a kid, there was nothing yummier than a "just add water" cake baked in a light bulb powered oven!  These were pulled from the market for a short time in the 80s, after kids found with just small modifications they could make an Easy Bake Meth Lab. 


SLING SHOT

From Dennis The Menace to Bart Simpson, the sling shot has been a standard issue toy for troubled cartoon boys since the Dawn of Man. 


NERF FOOTBALL

The nostalgia of backyard football games with a Nerf ball is something I'll never forget.  I always seemed to catch with my face, so these things were a godsend.  There used to be this great commercial for them that went, "Nerf Football... RAH RAH RAH!".  Remember how you'd play with these on a rainy day and they'd gain 8 pound of water and splash your face with each catch?  It was OK with the footballs, but the Nerf Basketballs became completely unusable once they got wet.  I'm still waiting for the Nerf Girlfriend, myself.


SLOT RACERS

I always had such a tough time with these, as every slot racing experience I ever had resulted in the car flying off the track on the first hairpin turn, cause I could never control my speed properly.  We had one called TCR: TOTAL CONTROL RACING that was pretty cool, that let you change lanes!  I imagine racing videogames have diminished the popularity of these over time, however.


SILLY PUTTY

A failed experiment to invent a new kind of rubber for military use resulted in Silly Putty!  One of the cool things you could do was press it on a newspaper comic strip, and it would lift the image off.  You could stretch it and warp it, and perform impossible feats like actually making Fred Basset funny.


TONKA TRUCK

The staple of any sandbox (next to catshit), these rough metal trucks were one of the most durable and long lasting toys ever created.  They even had commercials in the 70s that showed an elephant stepping on one, to show you how tough they were.  I always thought Tonka could make a killing if they'd license their name to make real cars, as most guys would identify with the strength and trust the brand.  Of course I also think that licensing the Summer's Eve brand into a line of Popsicles is a good idea, so what the hell do I know?


STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

For a while I was teased by other kids in my 5th grade class by them singing the Strawberry Shortcake theme song with "Bob Berry Shortcake" instead.  Those assholes didn't know that one day, I'd get my own website and get revenge on them here someday!  FUCK YOU ERIC COKER!  FUCK YOU TO HELL! 


GI JOE WITH KUNG FU GRIP

What did GI Joe have in common with my ideal girlfriend?  No, not stubbly facial hair, it was KUNG-FU GRIP!  Man these old Joes were great.  You could bury them, throw them, and drop them off a bridge, and they'd always come back for more!  It was a crime when Hasbro brought him back in the 80s as 3 inch tall wimp-a-troopers, but at least they've wised up and have restored him back to his original size again.


FRISBEE

How could you not like Frisbees?  I love this ad, which reminds you that it "Flies like CRAZY!"  Crazy like a Frisbee Fox, that is!


STAR WARS ACTION FIGURES

As much as I despise smaller action figures, there's an eternal charm to the Star Wars dolls that I can't resist.  While Lucas was negotiating the budget with 20th Century Fox for his first Star Wars film, they foolishly let him have all the toy rights, figuring movie tie in action figures were no big deal (and in 1977 they weren't).  To date, Lucas has made Eleventy Quintrllion Dollars from these toys. 


TOY TRAINS

First introduced in 1547, it wasn't until real trains were invented in the 1800s that toy trains really took off.  I always loved those scenes in The Addams Family TV show when Gomez would set up elaborate toy train wrecks. 


LEGOS

Any toy that can spawn sickness like THIS is OK by me.


JUMP ROPE

Though my experiences with jump rope usually involved swinging it over my head once, then tripping on my face, I was always in awe of those kids that could do all those freaky hyperspeed rope tricks like spinning around, touching their toes, and performing Advanced Calculus, while two ropes swung around them.  The rhymes were pretty cool, too, though there was this one that went, "Cinderella dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow, made a mistake and kissed a snake!"  It seems like a pretty bizarre mistake for Cinderella to make, unless she was planning some hot oral action.


MARBLES

Back before kids had real toys, marbles were all the rage.  Like a primitive form of Magic The Gathering or Pokemon, kids would gather and battle against their pals in hopes of catching all the other marbles.  I'd play with them today, but it turns out, "I've lost all my marbles!"  Haw Haw Haw!  (Sorry, I just put that joke there so my Grandpa could get a laugh).


GREEN ARMY MEN

Perhaps no toy taught a boy about the horrors of war more effectively than little green army men.  You could spend hours posing and moving them around in your backyard simulating all the great battles you saw on movies and TV.  I even bought a few Asian Barbie dolls, so they could enjoy their weekend passes with style.


YO-YO

The YO-YO may be the only toy who's name has been used for an Asian Cello Player and a fat black rapping chick!  Popular for more than 2000 years, it's said that even Jesus owned one as a boy!  Of course, his "Turning the Yo Yo Into Enough Fish and Bread to Feed Thousdands" trick has been pretty damn tough for even the most proficient Yo-Yo experts to duplicate.


HOT WHEELS

Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Johnny Lightning cars were always cool to keep in your pocket as an easy toy to take around on long trips.  The best way to play with them, however, was with those super cool race tracks made out of orange plastic that you could set up in all sort of crazy patterns. 


BARBIE

With the exception of those pictures of your mother we passed around, undressing a Barbie doll was the most common way for a kid to see a naked lady for the first time.  What a shock it was for me to learn that real women had nipples and genitalia!  And what a double shock it was for me to learn that real women didn't have a penis, after that horrible hooker incident in 1989! 


TEDDY BEAR

Perhaps I'm just weak, sentimental, or, oh how do you say it, a sissy, but I think The Teddy Bear is the coolest toy of all time.  You can take them anywhere, sleep with them when you're scared, and cut open their backs with a steak knife, and mom will happily sew them up again with a promise to never tell Dad as long as you give her $5 and wash the dishes. 


So, did I forget your favorite toy?  Email me at the address below and ask "how could I dare leave out (insert lame toy here)"

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com