I love my toy’s from the 80’s. I love the music of the 80’s. I love how the 80’s sorta came back into fashion this decade with neon colors, jean jackets and skinny jeans (which is just an updated term for “tapered” and only looks good on humans without any hip fat), which is why I post things about 80’s “stuff” on my blog. So if it seems off topic from the paranormal or strange, well…it is. But I love it and I know tons of you do too! Especially the toys! So in this blog, I’ve decided to highlight a few of my favorites.
Toy #1 – Teddy Ruxpin
When I sat down to write this blog, I didn’t know what toy to start with. So I summoned Google and let it decide for me. I was greeted with the long lost image of my old friend, Teddy Ruxpin. Ahhh Teddy…how I miss you.
Teddy Ruxpin was one of my favorite and yet more frustrating toys. The first difficulty with the animatronic bear was the fact he required four C batteries, which was something we never had in abundance around the house. It also seemed like his extra accessories such as outfits, new cassette tapes and books were quite expensive for the time. I found somewhere saying it was around $20.00 for just one book and cassette tape. So my collection only consisted of, “All About Bears,” “The Missing Princess,” and “The Airship.” If I remember right, “The Airship” was the story that came with him out of the box. By the time I was done playing with my Teddy Ruxpin, I had probably listened to each story well over 200 times. As for the outfits, I remember standing in the isle at the store, probably about six or seven years old, looking up at all the styles I could potentially dress my TR in. The only one I ever got was the green “Hiking Outfit.”
Probably the single most depressing thing about Teddy Ruxpin was when the four C batteries started to run out of power. You knew he was about to die because his voice would drop an octave and start to drag as if he were drunk, the mouth would move in slow motion and the eyes wouldn’t open all the way, making him look like he was going into some sort of coma. I would sit it out until he was barely understandable, then wait for my parents at some point to pick up four more size C batteries for Teddy.
Other than hours of listening fun with TR, there was that fascination with his moving eyes and mouth. No other toy in my possession came alive like Teddy did. Everything else I had had to be “hand posed” and controlled. When the story was starting to bore me, I would sometimes put things in his mouth like crayons and whatever odd objects I could find to see if they would stay in his mouth. I can even remember putting my finger inside his mouth to see if it would hurt. It didn’t.
After writing this, I recently found my Teddy and am looking forward to finding some C batteries which are still impossible to find and bringing him back to life. Something tells me I’m going to be very disappointed, like when He-Man and She-Ra came out on DVD and after watching two episodes I couldn’t fathom how I was able to watch show after show or how the voices of Skeletor and Hordak didn’t get the show canceled after the first episodes. So annoying. So, very, very…annoying.
Toy #2 – Pogo Balls
It was around 1987-88 when this toy got on the “must have” list of every child at my school. Everyone had to have one. It became the coolest thing in the world to show up to second grade holding one of these Saturn shaped toys. I found this random picture on the internet showing the exact green and purple one I owned (complete with a Teddy Ruxpin under the tree as well.) Besides exhausting the hell out of you if you could keep a continuous jump going, this toy got old fast. Real fast. I remember the air in the ball draining quickly and never having the right pump on hand to fill it back up. You couldn’t really “pogo ball” your way to any particular place unless you weren’t human, so it was only good for jumping around in circles for a short time until you felt close to passing out from exhaustion. Not to mention you got a crazy thigh work out just from keeping your feet tightly squeezed around the ball to stay on the damn thing.
|I have no idea whose photo this is, but Pogo Ball, Teddy Ruxpin, BMX bike = bad ass Christmas.
#3 Toys From Restaurants
I’d be watching afternoon cartoons on Nickelodeon when the McDonald’s commercial would come on and bring to my attention what new toy was arriving in my Happy Meal box.
“We have to go to McDonald’s! Barbie’s are back! Barbie’s arrrrre baaaack!” The possessed tone in my voice that pleaded we get to McDonald’s as if the end of the world depended upon it was unnatural.
To McDonald’s we would go.
I was lucky because I had parents and grandparents who thought the toys were cool and they wanted to see me get the whole set. So every week, we would go and try to score the newest toy they were releasing. I would open the Happy Meal box, reach my hand inside, bypassing the hamburger and burning hot french fries and retrieve the prize!