Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nostalgic 1980s Toys

What do popular culture and history have in common? ...Nostalgia. 

Nostalgia is a longing for a space, time, or object that no longer exists or is without of one's reach, but it is also a romance with one's fantasies. 

We are constantly exposed to nostalgia - at the movies, in song lyrics, and in the greeting cards we exchange.As globalization spreads and people find themselves uprooted from their homes and local communities, nostalgia rises. Spend a day on Facebook or Twitter, and you'll see just how nostalgic our generation has become. 

In a broad sense of the word, nostalgia could be considered a rebellion against one's current environment or present-day circumstances in lieu of the stories that accompany a past time. Take for example, toys from the 1980s, if you, like me, run through these pictures and are immediately filled with a sense of longing, a slower rhythm from childhood, then you have just turned history into a private mythology, otherwise known as nostalgia. 

Yet, what happens when you acquire one of these toys at auction, on Amazon, or by chance at a garage sale that you just so happened to notice as you were out walking your dog? Probably nothing other than the original moment of nostalgia. Trying to repair longing with belonging doesn't help you rediscover the toy, it results in an adult analysis of a once beloved toy, which divides us and makes us wonder why we ever truly loved that Green Machine, Easy Bake Oven, or Silly Putty. 

Nostalgia alternates between critical reflection and storytelling. It is enticing, personal, and filled with self-conscious exploration of the stories we told ourselves when we played with these toys... without further ado, here's what you clicked on this link for... 

All my friends had Schwinn bikes... I think mine was green, though since I'm colorblind, I'd have to confirm that with my mother. 

Chuck E Cheese was the only place in town that I knew of who had a Whac-A-Mole game!
I got so many tickets from this game that I was able to buy me and my friends a bunch of Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum! 

In 1982, Pitfall was one of the top games for Atari 2600. It was so cool, they actually made some clone stand-up arcade games from it.

It never failed on family gatherings, my cousins and I would end up playing the lamest games for hours. Usually, while the grown-ups were playing cards and getting too snockered to drive. Ah, those were the days... 

One of my friends had this phone thingy, I don't recall being overly impressed. 

My brother had a Slinky Dog. If memory serves, he met with an unfortunate accident.
Btw, if you stretch him out too far in the middle, he never goes back.
Just sayin'...

Spirographs were cool... as a budding artist, I loved the designs I was able to create with this system.

Please, do they really need an introduction?

We played this game with our friends for like ...ever! 

We had every character from Star Wars. I say we, but what I really mean is me...
I was the Star Wars fan in our house. 

I had a Kermit lunchpail, but not an action figure.

I loved this show! Especially the Swedish chef! 

No one ever sank my battleship! 

We spent more time setting this game up than we ever did playing it...
all we really wanted to do was see the ball roll around and trap the mouse.

I'd like to say that my mother never dressed me up Hippie-style.
According to old photographs, I would be wrong.

It was Miss Scarlett with a Candlestick in the Ballroom. 
Or wait, was it Professor Plum with a Rope in the Cellar? 
Or wait, I know, I know, it was Colonel Mustard with a Lead Pipe in the Billiard Room! 
All I know is it wasn't me...or was it??? 

Amazing how many times my brother beat me at this game.
Apparently, seeing colors comes in handy for some games more than others. 

I always spilled the darn beans! 
Reminds me of the song...

It's amazing what came out of my Easy Bake Oven.
Is there such a thing as life foreshadowing???
Dude! Evil Kenevil!
This was my brother's toy, but I think I played with it more than he did. 
I loved this thing almost as much as 
the Millennium falcon...commanded by Han Solo and his Wookie first mate, Chewbacca (Chewie)... the highly modified YT-1300 light freighter first appeared in Star Wars (or back in the day what we simply called Star Wars as opposed to the current Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). This is one heck of a hamburger with an olive on the side if you ask me! 
I never saw this helmet...but it would have been very cool to have at the time. 
This game was lame, but addicting. Especially when you have younger siblings. 
Ah, my BIG WHEEL! I went everywhere on this thing, to the neighbors, to the Ice Cream Truck, and even to other planets, to the moon, and to where Wonder Woman lived... ah, memories. 
This reminds me of Soul Train (it came on after American Bandstand) on Saturdays.
We didn't have stairs in our home so it took some creativity to get our Slinkies to work... 
Hence, the broken arm in 3rd grade. 
We never could find all the pieces... I still don't know where they all went? 
But this thing was so cool...we used to make our own TV shows on it and watch it under our forts, which we made in the living room.
Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu. 
In my mind, I never missed. 
This guy was just as creepy in person.
I think it was our aunt and uncle who bought this for us...
He met with a terrible accident. 
All I'm saying is that Evil Kenevil might have been involved. 
We had Bullwinkle.
Trolls weren't too popular by the time I was a kid (they came out in 1959), but my friends' younger brothers and sisters loved them in the early 90s. 
If you get all the rings on the pegs, someone always comes up and bumps it! 
The only time my Rubik's Cube looked like this was when I first unwrapped it.
Of all the puzzles I solved, this one stumped me. 
So, I took it apart and rebuilt it. 
Unfortunately, it never moved again.
Must have been the glue?
I cannot tell you what we used to try to make this thing spell.... 
My friend's little sister had this... It thought it was pretty cool, but basically a waste of time when you could just watch Scooby Doo on TV. 
My friends and I played this for hours....
it was good for sleepovers. 
I span myself silly. 
I'm sorry to say that my brother didn't have this toy for too long.
I really wanted to know what was inside it. 
It was a little difficult to puncture, but a 10-year old can break through just about anything. 
Btw, it was all gooey inside. 
Hey, look, the old guys from the Muppet Show!
This game was lame. 
I actually liked the Little Professor, though my teacher wouldn't let me use it in math class.
This is a huge View Master, mine was handheld.
Snoopy, Scooby Doo, Flintstones, etc.
Ah, the places we'll go...
I loved boxing with my brother, so our mom bought us this.
I suppose it was her way of teaching us "not to hit?"

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