An official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing', which tells time"
December 13, 2006 10:01 PM   Subscribe

The most dangerous toys of all time. Lawn darts? Check. Cabbage Patch Dolls that chewed off your fingers? Check. Working radioactive U-238 Atomic Energy Lab? Check. To spark more memories of holidays past, peruse the 10 weirdest toy ads of all time, and don't forget the Cheap Toy Roundup if you don't have enough cash. Or you could always get a Talking Jesus from Toys for Tots.
posted by blahblahblah (62 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Incidentally, the "ghost of Orson Welles" in the Sizzlers ad (one of the weird toy ads) was the great Paul Frees.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:18 PM on December 13, 2006


Creepy Crawlers were soooo damn fun to make. Cooking up multi-color plastic bugs---well worth the burned fingertips.
posted by tula at 10:22 PM on December 13, 2006


Awesome! Thanks blah3.
posted by The God Complex at 10:29 PM on December 13, 2006


Some of those dangerous toys look great. Not dangerous, but a weird toy.
posted by tellurian at 10:34 PM on December 13, 2006


And one last thing I forgot to include in the main post: a terrific collection of atomic toys from the 1950s until today. And check out the theme song to the Chargertron ad (#8 in the weird toys) - it could only be from the 1980s.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:39 PM on December 13, 2006


I bought a bunch of discount lawn darts a few years ago and they were still a bunch of fun. I wouldn't trust a kid with them, but I sure as hell got a kick out of playing around with them when I was camping.
posted by The God Complex at 10:39 PM on December 13, 2006


Strangely, I have a new respect for Cabbage Patch Dolls.
posted by mazola at 10:40 PM on December 13, 2006


I loved creepy crawlers. Never did burn myself though, even as a stupid kid I guess I had the sense to let the thing cool before touching it. Actually, I'm pretty sure I still have that thing in my attic somewhere...
posted by bob sarabia at 10:42 PM on December 13, 2006


Clackers have always looked slightly less-than-lethal.
Lego bricks at midnight, barefoot at the top of the stairs.
posted by cenoxo at 10:47 PM on December 13, 2006


Lots of toys aren't kid safe but are good fun for adults, lawn darts being the best example. But heck, you can do some pretty wicked damage with a croquet mallet.
posted by fenriq at 10:55 PM on December 13, 2006


I have such warm memories of the Thingmaker. And by warm, I mean lost fingerprints. I don't know if the little metal wires came with the set, but my brother and I would make twisty worms and whathaveya till the bottles of goo ran out. Then it turned into a match of Will It Melt? God, I loved that thing. It turned me on to the Extreme Baking I practice today.

There was also this toy that used dry heat to turn plastic cubes into movie monsters- Does anyone remember what that was called?
posted by maryh at 10:57 PM on December 13, 2006


How actually dangerous was the atomic lab? We did cloud chamber expiraments just like this in high school and college and I imagine many folks here did too, so what's the fear? I guess its purpose according to the link, "to demystify nuclear energy and encourage a deeper, less hysterical understanding of it" failed pretty miserably.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:03 PM on December 13, 2006


A kid was pegged in the head with a lawn dart
Her dad didn't see 'er, that's the worst part;
A kid was pegged in the head with a lawn dart
So they're now off the shelves at the K-Mart


I remember having weird lawn darts with strange rotating vanes on the back. They had big plastic heads with removable metal tips, so you could take 'em off if you didn't want to watch your children brain themselves. I can't remember what they were called-- Aerodarts, maybe?
posted by phooky at 11:08 PM on December 13, 2006


Ahhhh lawn darts!!! The most fun thing we did with them was to throw one straight up as far as we could, and watch it turn gracefully and land about 6 inches from our feet. Thank goodness our tender feet were protected by our hard heads!

I'm amazed I am still alive. Lawn darts got stolen by some kids from the projects half a block down.
posted by The Deej at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2006


I had this building set in teh early 1990s that would allow you to build, and then had a device to destroy what you just built. I dont remember what it was called, but it had this little machine that would pick up one side of the building and topple it.

Amazing fun.
Id have the bridge crash onto the building. HAve htem all crash on my sister's dolls.

Ah the memories.
posted by subaruwrx at 11:12 PM on December 13, 2006


Oh, I remember wanting one of those Cabbage Patch dolls so badly as a kid, but never got one. (I think this was because my parents didn't want to spend 40 bucks for a cuddly toy rather than any safety concerns) I did however own a Sky Dancer. It was fun for about twenty minutes until one got bored and decided to see what would happen if the toy was aimed in the direction of a younger brother. Then it was confiscated. (he was fine, he was fine) I remember trying to pick the foam off of the wings to see if it would truely become a bladed death instrument still be able to fly.

Ah, memories.
posted by kosher_jenny at 11:44 PM on December 13, 2006


Nothing hurts worse than a firmly packed snowball in the face OR the dirt clod complete with fragmentation pebbles (while playing war). All fond childhood memories.
posted by wtfchuck at 12:11 AM on December 14, 2006


The only way to keep children safe is to keep them locked safely within bare-walled cubicles. Clothing and bedding aren't safe, a kid could get strangled by them!
posted by Goofyy at 12:20 AM on December 14, 2006


The only way to keep children safe is to keep them locked safely within bare-walled cubicles.

It sure helps them cope with their futures.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:23 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Of course there's the Gloomy Bear, whose bloody claws attest to the fact that he's daaaaaaaangerous!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:00 AM on December 14, 2006


There's been a rash of vintage TV ads around lately. I wonder who's archiving them? I've always assumed I'd never see them again.
posted by Tuffy at 1:00 AM on December 14, 2006


When I was at primary school both of my parents worked, so they had to have me taken care of after school by a couple of other families who did that sort of thing. One of the families had a son who was much older (probably about 13) and, this being a semi-rural area with a low population density, he had a bow. We used to shoot arrows as far as we could directly up in the air and see where they would land.

I think we had to stop after one of them knocked a tile off the roof of their house. Good times.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:11 AM on December 14, 2006


I did that bow-and-arrow straight up in the air thing...directly into the sun. Lost it, ran around with my arms over my head, and it came down about ten feet from where I was standing.

BB gun wars, anyone?
posted by maxwelton at 1:16 AM on December 14, 2006


vintage TV ads ... I've always assumed I'd never see them again.

Yeah, I've always thought it somewhat curious that old TV ads are not out there a lot more than they are. I'm sure there'd be enormous interest in seeing them. Therefore I've devised a theory: the fact that old commercials aren't a lot more plentiful and visible is due to product manufacturers and advertising firms not especially wanting folks to see old ads.. They figure if you see how stupid the pitches were back then (that everyone fell for), then it'll get you to thinking maybe the current ones that you're now falling for are probably just as stupid. That's my theory, anyway. Now that there's the net, though, at least some of them are out there and viewable.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:17 AM on December 14, 2006


maryh said: ...the Extreme Baking I practice today.

From Kenner's Easy-Bake Oven perhaps? We need recipes and pictures, please.

...this toy that used dry heat to turn plastic cubes into movie monsters.

Mattel's Strange Change Machine?
posted by cenoxo at 1:18 AM on December 14, 2006


My dad used to make me bows+arrows out of coppiced wood when i was a kid. The worst i did was break a window with a badly aimed shot. So much fun.
posted by algreer at 1:42 AM on December 14, 2006


An asshole kid who lived down the street threw a lawn dart at me and it landed in my left hand. So there i stood 6 years old with a metal lawn dart stuck through my hand. You can still see the scar from the stiches on both sides of the hand.
posted by Dreamghost at 2:08 AM on December 14, 2006


BB gun wars, anyone?

Ahh yes, we used to have an on going war with the kids down the road. We wore three jumpers, two pairs of jeans and ran around in the Queensland summer sun loosing off shots at each other, great way to loose weight, and eyes.
posted by mattoxic at 2:59 AM on December 14, 2006


One of the kids in my neighborhood had one of those Johnny Reb cannons. It was perfectly safe. Why I recall standing right in front of it one day. Then I remember my mom crying.

See, safe as can be.
posted by tommasz at 5:06 AM on December 14, 2006


I had Milky the Cow. She kind of sucked.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:10 AM on December 14, 2006


Childhoods have definitely changed in the last thirty years; looking back it's sort of amazing that I managed to survive to adulthood with two eyes and four limbs intact. My son, who is now 17, has never seen the inside of an emergency room while I can't remember all the times that I ended up there as a child. I think it was six or seven times but they all sort of blur together.

None of these toys sent me to the hospital but we were inventive enough to damage ourselves without expensive toys. If kids today were allowed to behave as we did, the county would investigate and take them to foster homes.
posted by octothorpe at 5:39 AM on December 14, 2006


cenoxo, I don't even know how to start thanking you for that Time Machine link. The photos of the toy and its packaging just hurled me back to my childhood. And the explanation for how the things were manufactured cleared up questions about that damned toy I had for years.

As for my Extreme Baking, every time I put something in the oven, it's JackAss time. I just have a very liberal interpretation of 'recipes.'
posted by maryh at 6:24 AM on December 14, 2006


My grandparents had a set of lawn darts, and they were always on the game to play list when we visited. Supervised? Half the time not. Injuries? Just the usual emotional scars inflicted by defeat at the hands of siblings in a game. =D
posted by Atreides at 6:33 AM on December 14, 2006


I'm loving the bizarre ads. My that Lazy Daisy is a fun toy! And "pretend milk" from a cow. Yum!

About the Creepy Crawlers:

At least those who dodged serious injury or disfigurement could safely eat their creation. Oh wait, the critters were toxic, too.


Enter-- Incredible Edibles, which were simply Creepy Crawlers which you made from edible goo. Of course if you had Incredible Edibles (me) and your friend had Creepy Crawlers (Vicki Chaffee) then some confusion might ensue.

And dangerous?

Hey what about Clackers? What's better than two glass balls on a string that smash into each other?

Posted by: Jupiter8 | December 13, 2006 01:40 PM
Jebus, nothing was more dangerous than clackers. Even when you were playing with them correctly, they were terrifying! I always played with my head pulled waaaay back. Hours of fun, my friends, hours of good times.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:02 AM on December 14, 2006


The commercial for the Johnny Reb cannon is pretty awesome, especially the last line: "Remember, every boy wants a Remco toy. Also girls."
posted by dame at 7:20 AM on December 14, 2006


I'm suprised model rockets weren't on the list. My most exciting memory is of a 3 engine cluster rocket where only 2 engines ignited. The thing was shooting along parallel to the ground at a height of about 10 feet when finally the third engine started and it headed up again. We were lucky that it didn't hit anything !
posted by rfs at 7:20 AM on December 14, 2006


Lawn Darts were fun, man! Why can't they market them for adults?
Let's send some Christmas thanks out to radarmagazine.com for putting the whole list on one page! How refreshing! I think I will show my thanks by clicking on all the ads on that page...
posted by Lord Kinbote at 7:24 AM on December 14, 2006


Good old Jarts. I remember having "Jart fights" with a friend of mine. I also remember getting a Jart to the back of the head whilst fleeing in terror. Some people would say that that explains a lot.

"BB gun wars, anyone?"

Indeed, indoors, in a small basement. You know what I found out about BB guns? Firing a BB gun outdoors in the City of Milwaukee is considered "discharging a firearm". At least that's what the cop told my mother when we went to the 4th District police station to get mine back (complete with evidence tag).
posted by MikeMc at 7:30 AM on December 14, 2006


I had Milky the Cow. She kind of sucked.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:10 AM CST on December 14
[+]
[!]


Me, too. Such a shitty toy that, during my teen years, I'd occasionally convince myself that it must have been a false memory because no toy that lame would actually have existed.
posted by COBRA! at 7:39 AM on December 14, 2006


What about Bag o'Glass from the old SNL sketch with Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin? (Try as I might my YouTube skills have failed me.)
posted by LilBucner at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2006


So there i stood 6 years old with a metal lawn dart stuck through my hand. You can still see the scar from the stiches on both sides of the hand.

Whoa, Dreamghost, that is so.... AWWWWWWESOME!!!!!!! Can you upload a pic????
posted by The Deej at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2006


What about Bag o'Glass from the old SNL sketch with Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin?

I was just going to say the same thing! My favourite toy from that sketch was "Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk"
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:16 AM on December 14, 2006


We used to have roman candle fights at opposite ends of a tennis court...
posted by DesbaratsDays at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2006


No BB Gun wars (my parents would never have let me have one) but we had lots of fun in our teen years with Roman Candle Wars. 'Cuz really, what's more fun than running around on your wooded street firing little balls of flame at eachother.

I know that I had Jarts, but I don't remember any injuries. Also, subaruwrx, I had that same build-and-destroy toy, had forgotten about it until now, and can't remember the name of it either, but it rocked.

Mainly, if you're a kid, anything you have to play with becomes a weapon, or otherwise dangerous. GIve a kid nothing but plush balls to play with, and he'll climb to the room to do dives onto the driveway. Kids hurt themselves as a matter of course.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 AM on December 14, 2006


Such a fun, nostalgia post.

As kids, my little brother, sister and I listened to the Atomic Age singing science records. Our mischievous and playful scientist dad taught us to make time bombs in the bathroom sink with potassium permanganate crystals, a little glycerine (the kind that goes into rose water and glycerine hand lotion), wrapped in toilet paper and add a few drops of water. Kaboom! Way cool mini-explosions.

Got shot in the eye with my brother's suction cup tipped springloaded gun shooter. Nothing compared with the firmly packed snowball thrown into the same eye.

What could put a kid in more danger than a bike and skates or skateboard? The Riyadh car skating video posted by tellurian looks very scary. What are they sliding on, oil slicks?

I got Tiny Tears as a 5 year old and was offended at being on the receiving end of a doll that pissed. What's the fun in that???!!!
posted by nickyskye at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2006


Wikipedia on the subject of porn addiction. The Bullets For My Beast site.
posted by nickyskye at 9:44 AM on December 14, 2006


hahaha, posted in the wrong thread, oops.
posted by nickyskye at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2006


July 4th — Lying prone on top of another kid's roof, lighting pop bottle rockets in an old cardboard curtain rod tube. Tiger tank (VW MicroBus) comes down the street: LOAD ME!
posted by cenoxo at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heh. Balls of flame - those nerf balls would stick to the ceiling and drip flaming rivers of burning plastic if you lit them and threw them up. That sound those flaming drops made is still one of my favorites! vvvvvvvvt, vvvvvvvvt, vvvvvvt
posted by DesbaratsDays at 10:09 AM on December 14, 2006


The Chargertron commercial features the best fake devo ever.
posted by drezdn at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2006


Wow, I can't believe that no one mentioned those red plastic rockets that you fill 1/3 with water and pump a bunch of air into. Boy, would those raise a welt!

Still, all the destructive power of all those toys combined pales in comparison to dirt clod (and rock) fights! Kids would join up at local construction sites, while the trenches were being dug, but before the foundation was in. We'd pretend it was WWII and just wail on each other with dirt clods. Sooner or later it would turn out tat there was a rock in the clod, and someone would get hurt. That never stopped us, though.

We did all sorts of stupid things that kinds now don't get to do... at least not around here. Real fireworks (like ground-bloom flowers and wire sparklers), dumpster diving, playing in abandoned houses filled with junk, driving without seat belts. I'm not saying any of it was a good idea, but it sure was fun!
posted by webnrrd2k at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2006


What about "My First Sawblade Shooter"? And "Battling Blimps" (with hydrogen!) Now those were great toys!
posted by Man-Thing at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2006


Oh, we used to do the BB gun fights. At least we were smart enough to wear eye protection, those plastic science lab goggles, which of course we stole from the school science lab, heh... epic battles, the original 4-on-4 multiplayer deathmatch!

We kept it to the Daisy lever-action repeaters, tho. No air guns, no CO2. And water-balloon grenades.

"I'm suprised model rockets weren't on the list. My most exciting memory is of a 3 engine cluster rocket where only 2 engines ignited. The thing was shooting along parallel to the ground at a height of about 10 feet when finally the third engine started and it headed up again. We were lucky that it didn't hit anything !"

Ah yes. Here's where we escalated things. We figured out how to turn these things into highly accurate surface-to-surface missiles, which we fired at various targets including loaded wood trucks laboriously climbing up the road on the hill in front of my house. We even devised an impact-detonating charge using M-80s, though that only worked about 25% of the time... we had to cut short R&D on that one.

Living out in the middle of rural frakkin' nowhere has some advantages for industrious young high-school nerds! :)

Oh, and I actually have one of these, the Battlestar Galactica Cylon fighter with the launching missiles. Still works great! I've been thinking about putting it on eBay... but really, it's a sweet toy. :)

On preview: "Wow, I can't believe that no one mentioned those red plastic rockets that you fill 1/3 with water and pump a bunch of air into. Boy, would those raise a welt!"

Wow, I forgot all about that! But I had one of those when I was really young... I never ever considered launching it at anybody, I was too amazed with how it flew straight up.

I also remember getting this little rocket thing from a box of Franken-Berry - it was sort of a syringe type thing with a little Apollo-type capsule on the top. You pushed in the syringe and the air pressure would pop off the capsule, it would fly a long way.

And thanks to the wonderful Intar-Wubs, here's pix of the box it came in: Front, Back

Looking at it now, it seems... um... well, see for yourself!
posted by zoogleplex at 10:36 AM on December 14, 2006


very nifty post
posted by Smedleyman at 1:16 PM on December 14, 2006


/can't wait to get home to find my old mini hammock and see if i strangle myself w/ it.
posted by rhythim at 1:51 PM on December 14, 2006


*checks for happy fun ball reference*
*none*
*congratulates self - not on Fark*

Model rockets. Whoo boy. I remember a buddy of mine and I firing a bunch of them at each other in a series out of a round old downspout. Took hours to set up and about 4 seconds to go completely awry. I remember just holding the thing as rockets are coming out of it yelling “Fuck you G.I.!” (for completely no reason) over and over as each one fired. And my mom yelling “Smedley! Time to come in - NOW!”
And being clueless as to why.

I remember those Franken-Berry, Count Chocula cars that you’d squeeze some sort of little ball to make them go. That was fun. I think I swallowed one tho.

I got an old 50-s style bird call I kept in my mouth for a good two weeks. I’d give out a ‘Chirp!’ and then put it under my tongue and look up and around. Must’ve melted.

I didn’t have a BB gun, but it’s funny, in retrospect - how I was able to aquire a wrist rocket sling shot? For the life of me I don’t know any good reason someone would sell one to a young boy. He might fire superballs into traffic on the nearby highway. Lotsa dads are enablers I suppose...
...I have several now of course. So howabout a metafilter meet up for a game of ‘war’?
No Jarts! Even I’m not that crazy.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:37 PM on December 14, 2006


LilBucner writes "What about Bag o'Glass from the old SNL sketch with Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtin? (Try as I might my YouTube skills have failed me.)"

I don't know where to find that one, but the Best of Ackroyd DVD has the Halloween costume sketch (Invisible Pedestrian, Johnny Combat, etc.)
posted by concrete at 9:34 PM on December 14, 2006


Hey, I used to play with lawn darts and nothing bad happened to me happened to me happened to me hapdddfgsfdgfsgdfsgdfsgfgssgdfs
posted by tehloki at 12:39 AM on December 15, 2006


nicksye, many thanks for that singing science records link. I have a cassette copy of Space Songs, but I've been looking for the rest of them for years.
posted by klausness at 2:41 PM on December 15, 2006


(and sorry about getting your name wrong there, nickyskye)
posted by klausness at 2:42 PM on December 15, 2006


hi klausness, so delighted you like those singing science records too!! I love the nature songs especially. Since I don't have your email address, I'll pass on a couple of more treats you (and others) might like here. The Online Guide to Whistling Records...and the truly marvellous KiddieRecords site. :)
posted by nickyskye at 9:34 PM on December 15, 2006


Thanks, nickyskye.
posted by klausness at 6:43 AM on December 25, 2006


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