Sunday, June 14, 2009
More toys from our youth that would be illegal today
After writing about the Johnny Seven One Man Army rifle (a toy from the sixties that Chuck Schumer would personally ban), I resurrected this old list. If you can think of more toys that would be completely illegal today, please let me know in the comments.
Jarts! a.k.a. "Lawn Darts." I'm not sure how many thousands of punctured limbs these things were responsible for, but the class-action lawyers must have cleaned up.
Tonka Dump Trucks: fabricated entirely from Ginsu knives by Tonka. They could slice fingers off if slightly mishandled.
Stretch Armstrong: the kind filled with jelly. If these were sold today, a hypo-allergenic, ADD nutcase would swallow the jelly, get sick, and his parents would sue the Chinese manufacturer. The entire episode would be the basis for a 20/20 special hosted by John Stossel; Nancy Grace and Greta would also devote a week of shows to the injustice.
Bow and arrows: remove the suction-cups from the ends of the arrows and -- whhoooooeeee -- you really could put an eye out; and I'm sure some kids did.
Bangsite!: evil-smelling, granular crap that came in an industrial-strength toothpaste tube -- it may have been calcium carbide. Mixing Bangsite with water made an explosive gas. Some kids had Bangsite cannons, heavy cast iron things that were relatively safe to use. Normal kids took a metal baking soda can and punched a nail hole through the bottom. This turned the can into a three-man, crew-served weapon. One kid tipped some Bangsite into the can, spat on it, jammed the lid on, and placed the can on the edge of the curb. Second kid put his foot on the can to brace it. Third kid applied the match to the nail hole. KAF---INGBOOM!!! -- with a burst of flame, the lid goes flying clear across the street. I still cannot believe that my parents knew I was doing this, and let me.
Airplane, ship and tank models: yep, we spent hours in our rooms with model glue... and our parents didn't care a bit. These days, an ambulance would be called and our rooms fumigated for a month.
Flexy Racers: a sled on wheels that was missing only one thing: brakes. These mysteriously disappeared from the market after -- I'm guessing here -- some kid rolled onto the Interstate and got pancaked by an 18-wheeler.
Wrist Rockets: basically a weapons-grade slingshot that fit around your wrist and used massive rubber tubes as the bands. The ammo was indistinguishable from a heavy ball bearing. Slightly less powerful than a .357 Magnum, and slightly more powerful than a .38.
Snow sleds with steel runners: on a decent hill, you could hit 70 MPH and some kids did, may they rest in peace.
Water-air rockets: I don't remember the brand, but this was a rocket that you filled with water and then pumped full of air. Let's just say that after a couple of hundred concussions and numerous missing teeth, it was removed from the market.
I'm sure I've missed dozens. Let me know in the comments if you can think of other noteworthy dangers from our youth.
Commenter Airedale remembers Crazy Clackers, "...a string with a golf ball sized glass marble. I use to see those things wrapped around telephone pole lines. They were ninja weapons in the wrong hands....which meant every kind of kid had the ability to give themselves permanent brain damage if they got a bit too curious with these miniature bolos."
Commenter Paul J. recalls the Kenner Mold Master (I had one of those!): "Hot soft plastic you poured into into a mold and made toy guns and vehicles. Rarely came out right but you could reuse the plastic. How many times I burned my fingers I could never say. How I didn't burn the house down who knows."
Exceller observes that a chemistry set and the ubiquitous Slip-n-Slide could be highly hazardous as well.
Update II: After a little research and Tom P.'s comment, I think I actually had a Mattel Thingmaker and not a MoldMaster.
This was a freaking hotplate that allowed you to bake goop in molds. What could possibly go wrong with 300-degree plastic goop?
Linked by: Doug Powers, who reminds us of the brilliant Irwin Mainway. Thanks!