Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Top Ten Toys from the 80's

I am a child of the 80's. Obviously.

I don't know why, but for some reason last night I had a dream and I was back in my old house, as a child, playing with all my toys. I woke up, and this blog was forming in my head. I had to rush to find some paper to write down all the toys that were popping up from my childhood!

Too many to name, really, and there are some good ones, but I thought I would narrow it down to 10, which has been very difficult. The 80's had some good toys, and we see that these days many of them are making a comeback. As it should be. Respect your elders, and respect their awesome toys. That's what I always say. So here you have my list, in no particular order, because if I had to put them in order we'd be here all day. And please, when you're done reading my list, feel free to comment and let me know if I left something off that you absolutely loved as a child (in which case I will tell you to write about it on your own damn blog), or if you grew up in a different time than the 80's, what were your favorite toys?

10. Sit & Spin
This picture is a new Sit & Spin, and apparently, nowadays, they talk. Whatever, that's a load of crap. Back in my day, we had to make our own fun. So we sat, we span, and we sang. And that's just how we did things. I really wish they made adult sized sit & spins. Get your head out of the gutter! I just mean that I would spin and spin for hours (I was easily amused as a child), and I wish I could recapture that feeling, that head rush you got from it. Now, I'd probably vomit all over the place, though. Probably better that they don't make big ones.

9. Mr. Men & Little Miss Books

I loved these books as a child. And the best part is, they are making a comeback. I saw them in the store the other day, and I was very tempted to buy them all up, but they were quite pricey. Good news! I found them in a catalogue, 6 for $7.00, and you can get 1 set of the Mr. and 1 set of the Little Miss and you can be your sweet behind that I did just that. Merry Christmas to me. I do not know what it is about these books that entranced me so as a child. Ok, yes I do. Sort of. After the books came out, Arby's started giving away the small figures in their children's meals.
And boy howdy did I love me some Arby's. Any excuse I could get to eat there. A Junior Roast Beef? With only ketchup? And curly fries (before curly fries became popular)? Yes please. And bonus I get a Little Miss Figurine? SOLD.

8. Fisher Price Record Player

I used to be a DJ in a former life. Did you know that? Oh yeah. I tore it up with some plastic Fisher Price records. I used to bring down the house with classic jams like "Mary Had a Little Lamb", "London Bridges", and a sure crowd pleaser "Do you know the Muffin Man?" Everyone was on the dance floor when I started scratching. Fivel, Santa Bear, and Rainbow Brite all got up and started to boogy. I gave up DJing when they started using vinyl. Humph. Vinyl. Crazy kids.

PS Boogy is a word you don't hear much of any more, and I'm going to try to bring it back. Who's with me?

7. Monchichi

Everyone sing it with me now,

Monchhichi, Monchhichi! Oh so soft and cud-a-ly! With his thumb in his mouth he's really sweet! It's fun to play with their little feet! La la la! La la la! Happy, happy Monchhichi! I love you Monchichi!

I need therapy, but I could do a whole post just on the cuteness and lovability of the Monchichi. Let me be clear. I. Loved. Monchichi. Another picture perhaps? Oh, what the hell.

6. Get in Shape Girl

The 80's were the time of Jane Fonda and legwarmers. Of Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical" and headbands. Leotards. High top sneakers. 3 pairs of color coordinated socks, all scrunched down together (over your legwarmers, of course). It was not a time of high fashion, but darn it, it was a time for fitness (and let's face it, we thought we looked good). Get in Shape Girl was for little girls who wanted to get in on the craze. I loved it. There were several different sets that you could buy that included various weights, batons, jump ropes, headbands, sweat bands, water bottles, etc. Some even came with a video. I only had one set, and it came with some sweat bands and a couple of purple weights. I used to put the sweat bands on and climbed some trees. That was my fitness regiment. My cousin Ang had more GISG stuff than I did, and I was jealous of her. I feel certain that this is the reason why to this day, she is skinnier than I am.

5. Dazzle Dolls/Glamour Girls

I didn't take the above picture, but it sure looks like something I would have done. I loved nothing more than taking my camera and lining up my dolls, my stuffed animals, my shoes, my rocks, whatever; and taking some pictures. The one above looks like it was taken in the bathtub. Totally something I would have done.

But I digress. Glamour Girls/Dazzle Dolls are the toy I had the dream about last night. I had completely forgotten about their existence, which is sad because they played a big roll in life in the 80's. Things are about to get embarrassing. For me. Confession: I have a very clear memory of being in our old house, upstairs playing with my Glamour Girls. I am listening to Kool & The Gang sing "Joanna", and my Dazzle Dolls are dancing to it, while prancing upon the top of our Fisher Price parking garage/car wash toy. My mom is downstairs, watching Falcon Crest. Or maybe Dallas. I'm pretty sure my brother and I are supposed to be in bed, but somehow, we're awake and playing. For some reason, Kool and the Gang songs feature prominently in my childhood memories. "Fresh" and "Joanna" are my 2 favorites. And "Get down on it". And "Cherish".


4. ColorForms

What a simple concept, and what an awesome toy. ColorForms seriously provided me with hours of entertainment. My favorites were the Smurfs, Garfield, and Muppet Babies. Do they still make ColorForms? Anyone know? Anyone? Bueller?

3. Cabbage Patch Kids

I know I can't be the only person who remembers the craze that surrounded these dolls. When they first came out (was it in 1983?), everyone wanted one. You couldn't find them anywhere, and when you did, they were pricey. I don't know how much, it was probably like $9.99 but dammit back in the 80's that was a lot of money! (I'm just kidding, I think they were closer to $25-$30) My first CPK was named Patty Candy and I loved her. She was a preemie, so she looked nothing like the one pictured above. Although my second one did. Her name was Susan Francois. I had a lot of Cabbage Patch Kids. And I remember all their names. I will not bore you with such details. But I will tell you that I have a lot, a LOT of pictures of them.

2. Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine

I did not have an Easy Bake Oven. I don't want to talk about it. But I did have a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine Maker, and man, I loved it. For that first day it made great sno-cones. Until the blades, which were already pretty dull, got even duller, and then you'd put the ice chunks in there and you'd have to crank it for 45 minutes just to get a tiny cup-full of ice. Plus, it only came with a few little bottles of syrup, and once those ran out, my parents refused to buy any more, so we had to eat plain ice. And we lived in Michigan, so if we wanted plain crushed ice, we just walked outside during the months of November - April and had all the plain crushed ice we could ever want. It was called snow.
1. Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake was my first love. And you know they say that you will always have a place in your heart for your first love. I am not exaggerating when I say that I lived and breathed for Strawberry Shortcake. I. Was. Obsessed. More than the dolls, I had a S.S. bike with streamers and a basket (so bad-ass), the S.S. "pretend" kitchen (which compared to the play kitchens of today is a piece of crap, but I loved it), and I was S.S. for 3, yes that's right, 3 years in a row for Halloween. The first year, my Grandmother, God love the woman, made me by hand a beautiful Strawberry Shortcake costume. She made the hat and the smock out of this wonderful flannel/felt material that had tiny strawberries all over it (it was cold in Michigan, y'all, we had to bundle up on Halloween). She put stuffing in the hat so it would sit high on my head like it did with my real friend Strawberry. We slapped a red shirt and some tights on me, painted some freckles on my face and called it a day.

I hated it. Looking back on the pictures now, it was seriously a wonderful costume, so obviously labored over and made with love. I thought it was a giant piece of crap. I wanted the store bought Strawberry Shortcake costume. The one with the plastic "cover" that you tied in the back and the mask that stunk and you could barely breathe with it on your face. All my friends at school at plastic, store bought Halloween costumes, and that is what I wanted too. There is even a picture, somewhere, of me in that wonderful costume with the biggest pout on my face. I promise to try and find it.

I'm sorry Gram. That was a wonderful costume.

The next year, (and the year after) my mom let me buy the store bought one. You should see the shit-eating-grin on my face in those pictures.

Right. Back to the dolls. I wish I could say I had them all, but I didn't. I had Strawberry, Crepe Suzette, Cafe Ole, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, and Apple Dumplin'. I always wanted the Purple Pieman and Sour Grapes. Remember how they smelled? Like sweet wonderfulness.

I told you I was in love with a girl. A girl named Strawberry. And if I had to only pick one toy from the 80's, it would be her. And her group of fruity friends.

Thus concludes my list. And it was really hard to narrow it down, I tell you. So here are some honorable mentions.

Pound Puppies, Big Wheel, Rainbow Brite, Shrinky Dinks, Care Bears, My Little Pony, Transformers, He-Man and She-Ra, Pogo Ball........

Do you have any to add?


Anonymous said...

Why is it that we ALWAYS wanted the stupid store bought costumes. Every year my mom made mine and my brother's costumes, and every year I envied those kids with the plastic store bought pieces of crap. I wish I knew how to sew..I would love to make Baby Stinky's costumes every year just so I could "torture" her like my parents tortured me.

Caps..wanna take a sewing class??? you need yet another hobby.


PrincessPea said...

Aww - you had the BEST toys! I had to draw my own Smurfs - I spent I don't know how many hours of my life drawing hundreds of backgrounds and then populating them with all the Smurfs in various scenarios!

Thanks for the nostalgia trip!

Anonymous said...

I was about to say BIG WHEEL...I use to ride my brothers all the time!! Thanks for the toy fun....

noble pig said...

That record player, oh the memories, same with strawberry shortcake..oh my thank you!

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

This is too incredibly strange. MY name is Susan Francois! For real.

Did you cabbage patch doll come with that name or did you give it to her?

Personally, my favorite toys of the 80s were Weebles (they wobble but don't fall down) and Lite Brite.

michelle f said...

Fantastically fun post! I was more a 70s kid, 80s preteen, so I was a little "too cool" for some of your favorites. But oh, how I coveted my sister's toys! My sister was an 80s kid, and had a million Glamour Gals. Once, our dog ate the head of one. When I was on poop patrol that week... well, I won't share the details, but I'm sure you can imagine.

Anonymous said...

Meijer must have had some good sales because I had all the same toys you did. Was this just me, or did anyone else get to spinning so fast on their sit and spin that the top would come off and you would go flying backwards?

Your blog is one of the highlights of my week. You crack me up. Come visit me in Vegas!


Anonymous said...

So basically you were the cool kid in your school with all the great toys??? Ha!! You had all the stuff that I wanted! Actually I caught my 3 year old nephew playing with that SAME record player the other day - he loves it! And I can't believe it still works.

Well, thankfully I had a bunch of friends that were cool like you so I got to play with all of their toys. I pretty much had some Barbies and a bicycle!

Thanks for the great post Caps! You are hilarious!

Kristi G

Anonymous said...

Oh Cappy, I can't wait to see you in your Strawberry Shortcake Halloween outfit!!! HA!

Great post ~


wonder said...

Oh Strawberry Shortcake....reminds me of a little song I made up once upon a time. What about Rainbow Brite? Man I used to love her.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I loved the Sit & Spin!! It got me sicker, faster than anything else around!! And I never learned my lesson. I would sit, and spin until I puked my guts out. I think my mom finally got mad and threw it away. Oh and Munchichi... I miss you.

Jonathan said...

I loved the Fisher Price record player! My wife had a 'Tomyville Tooter' which combined the fun of the record player with a train. Same basic principle, except the notches on the records made the whistle play different notes.

Unfortunately, to get all eight songs to play on the same set of pipes, some of them had to be transposed into horrible minor keys that made the train sound slightly demonic!

We're having a lot of fun warping our daughter with many of the toys of our own childhood.

Bronx love said...

I had two cabbage patch kid dolls, my favorite memory was when my mom took me to Manhattan NY to the cbk store and i got to see one being born and I was able to name it>