Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ripcord Motorcyle

I can remember these toys and had so much fun with them but there is little info on them. I remember the ripcord part of the toy. I remember having this blue motorcycle and possibly a red car but not any of the pictures remain to what I remember in my head.
You would insert this plastic ripcord in the motorcycle and pull it back through really fast set it down and it would take off, I loved these toys because they such a noise when you pulled that ripcord.


I was never really was never impressed with the game of “Kerplunk”. I did own the game as a kid and played it often against my friends. I just never got into it.
It consists of a plastic tube, a number of plastic rods called straws and a number of marbles. The plastic tube stands upright on a base that contains four separate trays and the straws are passed through holes in the side of the tube to form a "web". The marbles are then placed in the top of the tube and held in place by the web.
At the start of play, the entire tube is rotated so that a hole in the base of the tube is aligned with the active player's tray. Players take turns removing a single straw from the cylinder while trying to minimize the number of marbles that fall through the tube and into their tray. Once a player has committed himself to a particular straw by touching it, they must remove it. The player who accumulates the fewest dropped marbles wins.


I loved drawing as a kid and I had hours of fun with the “Spirograph”. Spirograph is a geometric drawing toy that produces mathematical curves of the variety technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. The term has also been used to describe a variety of software applications that display similar curves, and applied to the class of curves that can be produced with the drawing equipment.

Two Screen Legends

Two true movie icons when I was growing up were Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. I watched a lot of theri movies they had out when I was growing up. But they both were best known for their roles were they where carrying these big guns.
These two actors made an impact on me as a kid and not only me but my friends too.  Their movies were action packed and both of these guys had true grit. Charles Bronson did not stay in the limelight as much as Clint Eastwood his impact on films remained.

Clint Eastwood

Charles Bronson


I was staring at a gumball machine around 1978, trying to figure out if I wanted to waster my twenty five cents on something called “SLIME”. It was in the prize packaging but it looked all gooey and stuck everywhere to the plastic that it was encased in. I deposited my quarter and out popped my prize of SLIME. I had hours of fun with this SLIME and my mother possibly cringing on the inside.
This was my first encounter with SLIME and later on they came out with a small glowing green trash can packed with more SLIME  and more hours of fun. I think every kid in my neighborhood had a can of this stuff. The only downfalls this SLIME was the smell, the feeling it left in your hands and it got dirty quickly. But as a kid, I owned several cans of it.

The Weebles

Who did not love the “Weebles” in the 70’s? I had a lot of different Weebles growing up and their dwellings. They were egg shaped people or animals and they were weighted on the bottom so you could push them around and almost over but they would not completely turn over. The slogan was “weebles wobble, but they won’t fall down”.  I remember every kid having these and I remembered how confusing it got when we all got to playing with them, who’s was who.  I remember having certain dwellings for each one of these Weebles and if I didn’t have one someone else did.
The company had a relaunch of the “Weebles” in the 2000’s and they are still around today.


I do not remember when I was introduced to the “Lite Brite” but I do remember all the fun I had playing with this toy. I remember all the times trying to create really neat glowing pictures and hurrying up and turning off the light to see how they looked.
As a kid, we all tried to outdo one another’s picture. This was a fun but challenging game and loaded with hours of fun and possibilities. They are still around today and I actually still own one.

Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel was a huge stunt performer from the late 60’s to the 80’s; he was an American daredevil that jumped motorcycles from ramp to ramp. He broke all sorts of records and bones during his time in the spotlight. I remember watching his events on T.V. when I was a kid. He was a huge icon draped in the colors of red, white and blue along with stars and stripes.
He was something to watch and I remember how all the kids in my neighborhood were glued to their T.V. sets waiting to see his next crazy stunt. We all idolized him growing up, making us want to try and jump things with our bikes or build ramp to ramps.
He even had a toy line out that every one owned. I remember all the fun winding him up on that ramp and watching him blast off while trying to make it through that fire ring cardboard cut out. I do not even think he made it through that ring but maybe once or twice.

Rock’em Sock'em Robots

I was really excited playing with this toy at a friend’s house when I was a kid, so the only thing next was to get one. It was called Rock’em Sock'em Robots. While at my friend’s house we played with this toy, over and over. But when I got mine, I was not impressed any longer with this toy.  I think the fun factor only lasted a few days and I was on to something else. We only played it when the weather was bad or out of pure boredom.

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic

I loved playing with Super Elastic Bubble Plastic. I do not remember where or when I came across this item but I remember hating when I ran out of the tube of plastic. I spent countless hours using this and making all sorts of bubbles.
After researching this, I found out that they called this item due to the fumes that were created by using the liquid plastic; I never knew that you could not inhale when using the product due to fumes. I am wondering if my parents knew the dangers lurking behind this product. Probably not! But back then, we were not as caring as we are now along with now having stricter guidelines from the government for the toy makers.

Lawn Darts

One of the best but probably dangerous games invented was “Lawn Darts”. I remember going to my grandparent’s home for family functions and we all gathered in the back yard to either play horse shoes or lawn darts. I loved lawn darts far more than horse shoes.
You would take the two colored darts of your choice with a weighted metal tip and try to toss them underhand toward a horizontal ground target, where the weighted end hits first and sticks into the ground. The target is typically a plastic ring, and landing anywhere within the ring scores a point. The target is typically about thirty to thirty five feet away.
It’s the same principal as horse shoes but I always felt this game more appealing to me. I remember how much fun my family had playing this games. These memories last a lifetime.


I think every kid I was friends with growing up had a “Merlin”. It was a red hand held game that consisted of six different games, some of which could be played against the computer or against another person.
It was not a very appealing toy; it was rectangular device about eight inches long and three inches wide. The play area of the game consisted of a matrix of eleven buttons; each button contained a red LED. It looked like an over sized phone. I remember how addicting this game was and all the fun we had playing this as a kid.

Little Professor

I loved the “Little Professor” calculator/educational toy. It was created from Texas Instruments in 1979. Little Professor was easy to transport, thanks to its convenient hand-held size. It was also easy on the eyes, thanks to its attractive design, which depicted a professor with a white mustache reading a book under its keypad. The top of the device (which formed the top of the Professor’s head) was appropriately shaped like a graduate’s mortarboard. It also housed the LED display, which was positioned right above his eyes. When you read the LED display, it was like reading what was going on in the Professor’s brain.

Unlike a calculator, though, the Little Professor did not do the math for its young users. Instead, it suggested math problems to the user that could be solved through addition, multiplication, division, or subtraction. The Professor came with four colorful game cards, one for each type of problem, to facilitate the mathematical fun. The user would then work out the problem on paper and enter the answer into the Little Professor’s keypad. If the answer was correct, the Little Professor would award that person points. Little Professor also offered five levels of difficulty to keep budding math geniuses on their toes.

Little Professor was quite successful in its time and it is still produced today by Texas Instruments in a sleek model that has replaced the old-school LED display with a digital readout.

Wonderful Waterful

The “Wonderful Waterful” was a water game that was pretty basic but loads of funs. It was a game of pure luck. There were a few different games. But I only had a couple of these, I owned the basketball themed one, a ring toss and a tic tac toe one.
These were reasonably priced toys so every one could afford them, I remember playing different ones at my friend’s house. But the three I owned were my favorites.


I remember being at my grandparents home when I was introduced to the “ SLINKY”. I do not remember how it was at their house, maybe it was one of my uncles left it behind. This was a very basic toy made from a helical spring that stretches and can bounce up and down. It can perform a number of tricks, including traveling down a flight of steps end-over-end as it stretches and re-forms itself with the aid of gravity and its own momentum.
I used to love watching it come down the flight of stairs at my grandparent’s house. I never really mastered it but it was fun to try and make it do all sorts of things. But the one downfall was the tangling part, mine used to get so tangled that it would leave me angry then my mom would help get it back to normal.
 Shortly after the SLINKY came the SLINKY Dog. It was a pull a along toy dog with a SLINKY in the middle as the body. I not owned the SLINKY but the SLINKY Dog as well.

Slip 'N Slide

One of the most popular summertime activities was “Slip 'N Slide”. It had a very basic design followed by the most common colors at the time, red and yellow.  The toy is a long sheet of thin plastic, flanked lengthwise on one side by a heat-sealed tubular fold. The tube can be attached to any ordinary garden hose. Water runs through the tube and out small perforations, spraying onto the sliding surface. The Slip 'n Slide then becomes very slippery, enabling users to jump onto the plastic and slide the length of the sheet.
For what I can remember, I was only kid in my neighbor with one of these and when it eventually bit the dust due to abuse.  My dad came home with a huge plastic sheet of plastic, rolled it out, coated it with dish liquid and drenched it with water. There was our new slip n slide and now a bunch of us could go at the same time and race, this was far better than waiting turns.
While researching this, I found a safety notice behind it and thought to post it. Both the manufacturer and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend that only children use the toy due to the risk of back and neck injuries when teenagers and adults use it. Injuries occur because people heavier or taller than children might stop suddenly when diving onto the toy.
I will say this, there were times when we all got hurt at some point in time on the original Slip and Slide or our homemade own. But all in all, there were some good times with these, dangerous or not!

Jack In The Box

As a kid, I loved playing with the “Jack In The Box”. I t was a brightly colored box containing a colorful clown that popped out when you used the crank on the side. It would play a off beat tune while using the crank while you awaited the clown to pop up through the door on top of the box. He was supported by a spring and a loaded trap door that held him in, sometimes in mid crank he would pop out early.
Later on, came “Jack In The Box” restaurant.  It was located near the Forrest City area. I only remember one location that was close to us. We would dine here from time to time. I remember the sign was a real catcher. It was of a Jack In The Box.
I only remember them for their hamburgers. They did not survive long here but they are still in business.

Note: This is not the actual Jack In The Box of Florida.

Taco Tico

When I was a kid, long before Taco Bell surfaced, there was my favorite place to eat as a kid was Taco Tico.  Taco Tico is a chain of Tex-Mex cuisine fast-food restaurants. This establishment serves tacos, tostadas, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, refried beans, quesadillas, taco burgers, and sanchos available for dine-in, take-out, or drive-thru. The first Taco Tico was opened in 1962.
The Taco Tico we visited was in Pine Hills, close to our house. We ate there at least once a week and my favorite item on the menu was the “Taco Burger”.  I really did not want any other item on the menu but that burger but I often opted for regular tacos.
Shortly after the rise of Taco Bell was the demise of Taco Tico. I was not a huge fan of Taco Bell because they did not offer the taco burger.  From time to time, I create my own taco burgers at home, but that Taco Tico taste can never be recreated. They still remain in business to this day.

Sit ‘n Spin

I loved the toy, Sit ‘n Spin. I remember sitting there on the floor and spinning and spinning.  It came in a multitude of visual designs however all were multicolored (using some or all of the primary colors red, green, yellow, blue). It features a large circular two-part plastic base. One part is in contact with the ground, and is connected to a smaller plastic disk above it. The other part of the base, another circle, is free to spin about the axis.  You would sit on this part of the base, cross-legged and straddling the pole, and turns the disk, spinning the child in the other direction.

Gre-Gory Bat

One creepy toy that I had as a kid was the “Gre-Gory Bat”. He was a reddish brown colored bat with a clear chest you would press the button on his back, you would see his chest fill up with fake blood. He had a fifteen inch wing span and the deal was when you stuck you finger into his mouth and squeeze him it looked as though he was sucking your blood. He had his feet closed so you could loop rope through them or other random item so he could hang upside down.
He really was not that impressive but seeing his chest fill up was rather neat at the time. I think eventually I broke his chest plate to see the inner workings of him. i seem to have done this when I was really bored with certain toys.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine

This was one of my favorite items as a kid, you can take ice cubes and make your own sno-cones with whatever flavor you wanted. But as any toy back then it did not last. My first new one was short lived but we did pick one up at garage sale for cheap and I was back in business for a while. I cannot believe these are still around today.


Underoos is a brand of underwear for children, produced by the Fruit of the Loom company. The packages include a matching top and bottom for either boys or girls, featuring a character from popular entertainment media, especially superhero comics, animated programs, and fantasy/science fiction. In many cases, the garment mimics the distinctive costume of the character, encouraging the wearer to pretend to be the character. In others it features an image of the character and/or logo on the undershirt.

I owned several of these underwear outfits back in the day. I remember each one so vividly because my mom worked at a retail store that sold almost all of these at one point in time. I even tried to wear mine for Halloween one year. Now that I look back at them, how did my parents even let me run around in them.

Halloween Was Never The Same

The year was 1978 and another film I saw as kid was Halloween.  This is another one I should not have seen as a small kid and the Halloween holiday was not the same for any of us kids. I mean it was based around Halloween and I remember how scary it was to go Trick or Treating around the neighborhood after seeing this.

Cheech and Chong's "Up In Smoke"

In 1978, there was another movie that I should not have seen as a kid, Up In Smoke.  This was from a comedy duo named Cheech and Chong.  Did my parents know about them? I am sure they did, but did they know about the film?
I remember viewing this movie with my best friend and the fun we had in the days that followed seeing it. We mimicked these two guys, for what seemed like weeks, they were so funny but we did not know the real reason behind them being funny until later on in life, much later! We followed these two guys for a number of years until they broke up and faded away. But these two guys had such a cult following and still do to this day.
I could not believe that my parents allowed me to view these movies at all, but they probably thought that we would just play and not watch the films so closely. But back then you could only play so long until people got mad and yelled at us or our parents.


In 1975, shortly after watching, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a new scary movie surfaced. Jaws! It changed the way I viewed going to beach with my family. I was now scared of the water and what lurked beneath its surface. This movie was about a huge great white shark that terrorized a beach. This was another on of those movies that I should not have saw as a small kid.
I never wanted to step foot in the ocean again and for many years I sat by the waters edge and played.  I was convinced that Jaws existed at every beach we went too. Trust me, there are sharks everywhere in Florida but not like the one in the movie but as a small kid, you could not convince me of this. I thought Jaws was alive and well at every beach. I am sure that my parents regretted that I ever viewed this movie.
You see today’s films that come out saturate the T.V. with commercials about the films and back when I was a kid, you would maybe see one commercial or so about new movie. We would just load up and go to the drive-in without knowing what’s playing on a Friday or Saturday night. Believe me; I have seen more movies back that I should not have seen.
Jaws is a great movie and another one of my favorites.

                                         Plus every kid around this era owned the Jaws game.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The year was 1974 when I saw "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" it was my first scary movie and I should have never seen this until I was much older.  I remember going to the drive-in and seeing this movie and at first I did not know the impact this movie had on me until I was at Kmart in the toy section.
 I was all alone looking at the toys when I saw the plastic chainsaw out of the box. It made a real sound by pulling the small handle with the cord attached. I looked down at the end of the isle at I was on and saw another kid staring at me and I looked at him and yelled that I was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and started to chase him down all the isle in the store, I was jerking that handle and shouting I was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre while this kid ran for his life. We both were away from our parents and finally I was caught by the manager and then he found my mom.

(not the actual chainsaw I used)

I am sure it was embarrassing for her at the time and probably she laughed about later down the road. I know I did, I thought it was so funny. I told that story throughout my life. I am glad the movie didn’t have a deeper impact on my life than what it did. That movie is one of my favorite scary movies of all time. I wonder why?!

Still Being An Entrepreneur

Another money making idea I had when I was in elementary school was cinnamon toothpicks.  I personally did not come up with the idea behind making them but selling them but selling was all my idea. I was introduced to them on the school bus, my friend offered me on and I was hooked. But you really had to be careful with them because some would be so bad because of being soaked for so long in the oil that when you rubbed your eyes they would burn also. I think all in all these were a bad idea, years later they were monitored and put out by manufacturers.  This way, you knew they were safer than buying them from some kid on the bus wrapped up in aluminum foil.
I learned many lessons buying these and making these to sell. Back when I was a kid, there were only a few places that sold the cinnamon oil and I actually had to have other people buy it for me, like my friends older brother. He would go to the store and buy it for me, because my parents would not purchase it for me. I would them take my toothpicks from home and secretly make my own toothpicks to sale. I sometimes let them soak for hours sometimes days and if I got another jar of the oil, I would let some soak for a week or so. But due to all the kids catching on to selling them and making money off of them I would make a lot the ones that soaked for a few hours.  But by doing these, people did not like them because they did not last long. It got to the point that kids would ask, how long have the soaked. It was crazy to think that kids cared that much.
I remember having three bottles at once and letting them just soak. I was losing money left and right, it was not like the candy adventure because not many kids caught onto that one but this one was different.  I remember selling many toothpick packs all at once. I would group 25 toothpicks to one aluminum foil pack and sell off the whole pack at once. I am sure they were reselling them by the days end and robbing me of sells. I would make five dollars or more a day from selling these and sometimes if I did have candy I would make money from selling it on top of the toothpicks.

The Entrepreneur In Me

It’s funny to think back to how I was in elementary school. I loved candy and each morning on my way to school, my mother would stop at the local convenience store and let me buy two dollars worth of candy and then I would go to school and sell it. I did this for many years until I started to take the bus to school. I would also take requests for candy and supply them with the candy and a small mark up. If I bought a pack of candy for twenty five cents I would sell it for fifty cents. It all depended on what candy I purchased.

The pack of Spree candy was great and my favorite. I would buy it for like fifty cent and due to it being in a roll, I would count out like five pieces and sell them for a quarter or more, this all depended on if the kid was a friend or not. I would make so much money each day and take it home and put it in my piggy bank.

These are the various candy items I sold when I was a kid. I do not think I ever told my mom that I was making money off the candy until later on in my life. I really think back then she would have frowned upon this but now, she would have thought of this as an investment and bought me more candy. The only downfalls I experienced were getting caught with candy and or not having enough for me throughout the entire day of school, which happened a lot. I would sometimes have to buy back candy if I felt the need to have some towards the end of the day.

                             These were the ones thats I sold the most of and where always cheap.


One of my favorite items as a kid growing up was the “View-Master”. I had so much fun with these, I only probably had two growing up, the actual view-master itself. I remember having a red one and maybe a black one.
There were all sorts of disks that could watch in them. I remember having all so many at one point in time due to us going to Flea Markets and Garage Sales every other weekend. You could score some really neat items at these spots and for cheap.
I remember having famous landmarks from around the world, scenic views, cartoons, Disney, hit T.V. shows and this list could go on. I remember sitting for hours alone or with friends, flicking through each disk and drifting off into each one of them. These were great to have on trips, being stuck in car for any amount of time was a drag as a kid.