This post is part of a series I am writing about the most popular toys from the past 60 years. You can read my toys of the 1950’s post here.
For the most part, 1960’s toys were similar to those of the 1950s, but some new additions jettisoned the toys into the modern realm of being much more involved. It seems like the concepts behind toy design got more interesting, and kids responded enthusiastically.
1. G.I. Joe
Joe was born in 1964, as an “action figure” for boys. They wouldn’t dare call him a doll. How could someone so manly be a doll? Although, looking at them, do they remind anyone else of the Village People? Just a bit?
The first GI Joe’s were named Rocky the marine/soldier, Skip the sailor and Ace the pilot, but by the end of the first years production they were simply known as GI Joes.
photo credit: Expert Comics
2. The Easy Bake Oven was inspired by chestnut vendors in New York City, and the original oven used an incandescent lightbulb to heat the food! My sister had one, and as kids we would cook all sorts of bizarre things in there. I think we finally melted the thing down; not a pretty sight. But it was soooo fun to pretend we were grown up and to revel in the excitement of using a dangerous kitchen appliance.
3. Etch a Sketch
Etch a Sketch was invented in France in the late 1950’s by a man named Andre Cassagnes. It has always simultaneously frustrated and intrigued me. It’s got such a unique feel and look as an art-making tool. I love seeing when people can do really great things with Etch a Sketch. Do you remember the part in Elf where Buddy Etch-a-Sketches the Mona Lisa?
Technically, Legos were created in a plastic version in 1947, but it wasn’t until 1963 that they were made with their current material. This worked out a bunch of kinks and technical problems. Lego began offering Lego sets in the early 60’s as well. I am just starting the years of finding tiny Legos all over my house and I am going to try really hard to embrace them. Each time I step on one of those tiny, painful corners I will remember how brilliant Beckett is becoming because he plays with them….
5. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
I always wanted these when I saw the ads in the 70’s- I didn’t realize they came along during the 60’s, but wow, did they last. How could you not like a toy that features two robots wailing on each other?
Also on the list from the 60’s were: Super Balls, Life, Sea Monkeys, Barrel of Monkeys, and Operation. NExt time, I’ll explore toys from the 70s. This will be a nostalgic one for me.