Monday, December 7, 2009

Retro Remembrances

While emailing a friend recently, I had mentioned a certain puzzle toy I played with during my childhood. It was a type of brainteaser puzzle, reminiscent of a Rubik cube, but it was rectangular and had movable tiles raised in a picture of a figure eight. The gist of the puzzle was to match the corresponding colors to each other while completing the picture on four sides.

Confusing description, isn’t it?

Anyway, determined to find a photo to send along with the email, I searched the vast online network and came up with zilch, nada, nothing similar to the toy I had. Instead, I discovered something even better. I discovered a treasure trove of fond memories.

I discovered classic toys I haven’t seen since 4 years of age. These are toys you won’t even see on shelves today unless it is in a retro store. Please take a moment to walk along with me during this photo show.

I had a top similar to this - completely metal as my hand pumped the handle on top until it spun fast enough to stand on its own. I don’t remember if it had a circus scene like this one. The pictures were so faded I couldn’t make out what it was . . . not that it really mattered. Once it spun fast enough, I paid no attention to the pictures while more interested to see whether the top would go bouncing off the furniture.

Is there anyone who didn’t have a farm set? I had three, all with the little Playskool people and farm animals. My favorite had a chute on the side with a lever where you could flick the plastic hay bales up onto the slide and down into the waiting cart.

Wow! Now this one brought back memories and made me write this post. I had a screen musical box. The top button was to switch it on. The large button was to wind the toy up. It played songs while the picture slid on movable rollers in the box. I remember two songs: Row your Boat and London Bridge. Sometimes, the paper wouldn’t slide to match the music and I had to use hands to move it along until everything was right.

There were such wonderful toys to have during my childhood. Does anyone else have a fond memory of a classic toy they used to have?


  1. I had a similar top to the one pictured; probably close to the one you had. It was metal, played a tune - can't recall what the tune was, unfortunately - and the tune played faster or slower depending upon the speed with which I pumped the top.

    I had a "radio" version of the little TV screen toy you show. It played the totally outdated and not politically correct "Ten Little Indians" (which I suspect no kid learns these days.)

  2. MLGF: You're right! My top did play a tune, although a warbly one at that. It was a hand-me-down from my sister.

  3. Great post! I recall the spinning top, I had one very similar to the one you post here. Some of the other toys I recall in a bit older version.;)

  4. Ah, I remember the farm set. The doors mooed when you opened them. Loved it! Also my view master. I had a little Cinderella thing for it. I watched it over and over and over.

  5. I had a top like that once. :) I think my favorite retro toys are Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots (I didn't have any, but my cousin did) and Easy Bake. I know they still make Easy Bakes, but it's no longer socially acceptable for me to play with one...sadly.

  6. I never have quite understood the top, though I did have one. Hm...

  7. Zuzana: It's those older toys that hold the fondest memories. Because most of mine were hand-me-downs from my older siblings, I truly cherished every dent and scratched paint.

    Angie: YES! The barn doors mooed! It was great, until the mooing sound wouldn't stop even when the doors were closed. LOL!

    Jenna: My parents didn't let us have a Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em. They thought it was too violent for us to have. So instead my siblings and I whomped on each other. (I had an Easy Bake too.)

    Colby: Yeah, but at least the tops relieved a little boredom. :-)

  8. Oh - yes. The lovely memories that top and musical TV box thingy brought back! Wonderful... My top played a tune as it went around and around...

  9. Ladyfi: Isn't remembering those toys from yesterday such a wonderful experience!

  10. the triangular thing is new to me but those other retro toys brought back a floor of memories. did you have the toy telephone with the jiggly eyes too?

  11. Lime: I did. It freaked me out though... like they watched me everywhere I went.


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