December 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

billmas2.jpg


Hi everybody.

I hope you're all having a warm and safe holiday. I've been sitting here by the virtual fire, thinking about how lucky I am and how grateful, too... and I got to thinking about the amazing toys I grew up with as a kid in the late Sixties. Really imaginative and cool stuff -- and dangerous, too! You could shoot your eye out with BB guns or burn off your precious little fingers with Creepy Crawlers. It was full-on AWESOME.

Anyway, the gang in the tech booth at PJTV went to the trouble to make a great Christmas set, and if you want to see some videos from The Golden Age of Toys, all you have to do is click HERE. (Just select a speed on the left and the viewer will auto-install for high-def playback with a broadband connection. If you don't want to view in high-def, just click on the FLASH PLAYER.)

The folks at my new PJTV family put it up for free -- without registration or subscription. We hope you have as much fun watching it as we did making it.

Posted by Proteus at December 24, 2008 4:10 PM







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Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!




Comments



I absolutly loved the Creepy Crawlers! I went on to collect wheel weights and melt the lead and plastic, in a patio brick oven, into the molds making my insect army - because that hot pad was just not dangerous enough for me; I needed to add lead and fire to the mix.

Once that got old the resulting battle between the lead insect army and my green plastic army men in the nuclear fires at the gates of hell - on and around the brick patio grill - was legendary. I remember it well as I cleaned the muck out of all the drains under the patio to make the money to replace the grill. My parents were not all that fond of cooking on melted lead. But, in hindsight, it was sooooo worth it!

Merry Christmas Bill! Thanks for the memories.



MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!

Some wonderful Christmas music to give you that Christmas spirit (which I have in MEGATONS this year!):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDPwNPAV6tA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw6H3crLzpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjqxVHfQ3EQ



Major Matt Mason. At least until the wires in his arms and legs broke.



I was just watching Denis Leary's Christmas special (from 2005) and he did a bit on this very topic. BB Guns, Electric Football, and burning yourself on the creepy Crawler oven.



When you think about it most of the toys from when I was a kid usually involved either maiming yourself, maiming another kid or attempting to swallow something that probably should not have been swallowed. Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, lead toy soldiers, or Cooties which was a dice game played with a brightly colored plastic bug which you assembled but tried not to be the last person putting on a leg or antenna. But they all came with pieces that were just right for when a light snack seemed called for.

Any variety of toy guns were available though my favorite was the spud gun which could shoot a pellet of potato onto the ceiling to stay for days until the odor drove your mom insane. We would have all died within minutes if the new spud cannons had been available. Cap guns, the coolest were Roy Rogers but never Gene Autry, were always good for a collection of black fingernails or as a friend of mine found out that you could setting yourself on fire from a misfire. The smoldering piece fell on his frayed shirt.

But my childhood fave had to be the pogo stick which logic would dictated, at least to a kid it made sense, would work fantastic if you could just jump on the pegs from a higher distance. Thus bouncing back up even higher. Patio tables worked fine but patio covers meant a quick trip to the ER for your first broken bone. We had lawn darts but I don't remember any fatalities or serious injuries. Also chemistry sets that had enough chemicals to make some really vile stink bombs. Maybe our parents were actually trying to kill us for the insurance money and to avoid college costs?



Merry Christmas to you and yours.



Creepy crawlers were the best! Thanks for reminding me.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.



Christmas 1972. My parents bought me a wonderful product called Plasticast. It consisted of a two-part acrylic polymer and a series of different shaped molds. Yep.
Still, the best was my buddy Scott Logan.In 1964 He actually still had a toy soldier kit where you poured hot lead into molds to make your own soldiers! Good times!



Lest my earlier comment was unclear, perhaps playing with lead is not that good an idea, but even a baby can understand the concept of "hot", and I truly resent living in a world where everything comes bubble-wrapped and foam padded, with myriad idiotic warning labels everywhere! I grew up being able to leave the house in the morning,going of into the woods, and coming back at dinner time.If I didn't come then, no big deal, just no dinner! I have always liked to eat, so that only happened once. Today we live in a society where we are afraid to let our children walk around the block unsupervised.



Don't forget Creeple Peeple either. Wow, what a time trip. Found this place too: http://www.timewarptoys.com/toptoys.htm

What memories...

Merry Christmas All!



Ah, yes, Creepy Crawlers. I tried buying the kit myself once when I was a kid, but the price tag wasn't printed clearly, so instead of costing $1.98, it cost $7.98, which was more than I had in my pocket. Oh well, it was not to be, I suppose.

I remember in the mid-'60s "military uniform" kits sold in the grocery stores of the day (on shelves behind the meat cases), where you could buy either a GI outfit, complete with WW2 helmet, web belt, canteen, and toy (but accurately-detailed) M1 Garand or M1 Carbine and .45 pistol, or the German equivalent, with a 98 Mauser or MP40 and Luger instead. One of the German ones even had a black helmet, complete with swastika and SS runes. Talk about politically incorrect. But I always liked being one of the "good guys", so I got the US kit one Christmas. Good thing. Two of my best friends were Jewish, one of whose parents survived Bergen-Belsen. Showing up at his house wearing an SS helmet would not have gone over well.

The most dangerous toy I ever remember getting was a "Robin Hood" archery set, complete with a fairly strong wooden bow, wooden arrows, and rubber tips. These I promptly removed, and then stuck the ends of the arrows into the pencil sharpener. I knew enough not to shoot them at anyone, but I still hadn't completely grasped the concept of "maximum range". Fortunately, I lost all the arrows before I killed anyone.



Oh yeah! Major Matt Mason and creepy crawlers!
I had something that took the concept just a bit further. It was called "Injector" something. There were two piece molds that clamped together then you melted plastic beads in the machine and injected the hot plastic into the molds. Sweet!



Since my brother and I were fairly close in age, we generally got TWO of everything. So we had TWO Major Matt MasonS. Later he got Sgt Storm and I got Jeff Long. And you are right, eventually the wire would break but we learned to repair the damage with my mother's bobby pins. My mother sent those little guys and all their stuff to me a couple of years ago and they are in my closet now. I think I might have to pull them out 2nite (it is Christmas, after all)



Childhood in the days of yore was short and punctuated by many painful events. Creepy Crawlers taught me the meaning of a second degree burn. I bit my lip and sucked up the pain lest my parents take the machine away. By age ten I had mastered the math between the cost of "goop" versus what a snake or spider might net on the playground economy. I was in business.

Bugs and spiders quickly gave way to the games of Avalon Hill. The little company from Baltimore produced board games based on major military battles and campaigns. I played them all. My twelve year old mind quickly assimilated the math neceassary to calculate odds and the likelyhood of success or failure. There was strategy, but most of it was a math puzzle played against a live opponent.

Avalon Hill eventually produced Panzerblitz. The disigners took an ordinary boardgame and added a third dimension. I was challenged at age fourteen to fight the campaigns of the Russian Front like a game of Vulcan chess. The ordinary considerations of strength and maneuver were complicated by range, elevation and terrain. The days were still pre-computer. We kept the data in our heads.

My comrades and I decided to expand the battalion and regimental units of Panzerblitz to divisional and corps level. Our board was literally the size of a pool table with hundreds of die-cut pieces. Panzerblitz quickly turned into "Panzer-jam." The roads of Russia were simply incapable of moving mass formations in short order. The exercise was a bust, but I learned the meaning of logistics.

Then I learned to drink, and read the greats of western literature, usually with a book in one hand and a glass in the other. The adolescent rage normal for my age manifested in a desire to run away. So I did. I ran away from home three times between 1978 and 1981. To the local flophouse? No way. To some utopian commune in California? Nope, not there either.

I ran away to Europe. I was young and dumb and full of *stuff* and rather feeling my oats. I ran and I ran, and ran and ran, until I begun to run into things. Like the Parthenon. And the Kunsthistorische Museum der Stadt Wien, and the Louvre (which is a wee bit overrated compared to the Petit Palaise). I ran until I ran out of gas.

I came back from Europe on empty, but with a gleam in my eye. And what the hell does this have to do with Christmas memories and gifts for children? Nothing. Or maybe everything.

If you, dear reader, would bother to consider my words, you might understand that the very best gift we might give our children is an appreciation for Western culture. I used to rant in my youth about what might be. Today, I rant about the necessity to preserve our traditions. Time and experience bend the mind toward what is possible over what might be imagined.

Let our children imagine that they might patrol San Francisco Bay in a cardboard submarine. When the time comes, bring them up hard. Innocence is but a fleeting moment in a tough world. It won't last. Never does, never has. Indulge while you can; educate when you must.

~Paules OUT



Plastic army men (doomed, yet brave) , "Talking G.I. Joe" ("I've got a tough asssignment for you!") and the johnny-come-lately "G.I. Joe w/the Kung-Fu Grip"...

Realistic replicas of a 1911 & an M1...

Stumbling back to 'Base Camp' (the front porch) after fighting off yet another wave of Rooskies, grabbing some chow (straight from my sister's easy-bake oven), and heading out to beat-back the Chi-Comms, my snow-disk strapped to my left arm just like Captain America...

The ugliest, purplest, banana-seated Huffy bicycle known to man - the inordinate weight of which would later prove it's worth in collisions with 'enemy armor'... (hand-brakes - ha! My steel fenders laugh at your cables!)

Record albums (yes, LPs) of radio-show-styled superhero stories
(Metamorpho - Met!-A!-Morph!-O!...The Element Maaaaaannnnn!)

And yes - A Red Ryder BB-Gun that could zip through both sides of a coffee-can without knocking it over (never once shot my own eye out)

This Christmas, MuscleBaby-The-Younger got a foam sword & shield (trainers), and MuscleBaby-The-Elder got a tent & nearly every Nancy Drew book known to man.

(next years she's getting that BB-Gun - He's getting plastic army-men, as soon as I think he might not eat too many of them)

Merry Christmas!

- MuscleDaddy



My Dad always said that BB guns were too dangerous for kids as people didn't treat them like real weapons, so, he started me out with my own .22 rifle when I was about 7 years old. Needless to say, I had a very good training in weapon safety and gun control (hitting what I aimed at). To this day, I have never fired a BB gun.



Um, well. . .my brothers got a BB gun once, and I got to use it, but only once. I think my favorite was simply the Suzy Homemaker stand mixer and the Easy-Bake Oven. Both had potential dangers, but not like the ones the males faced. However, today I'm a top-notch baker and can do cookies, cakes, tarts and cheesecakes with the best of them. Sadly, I don't work for The Food Network. Yet.

So, anybody for Dark Chocolate Cookies with Dried Cherries? (Start your insulin first.)

Happy Holidays--all 19 of them!

Tyger



I was lucky enough to have grown up in the same small "terrific toy" window as you Bill. My best friend at that time was a boy named Mark. Being a girl, I quickly came to discover that the boys got all the best toys. Barbies were okay and of course we had all the cool baby dolls that could eat and urinate, but nothing compared to boy's toys.

I was thrilled that you mentioned the Creepy Crawler machine. I suppose the girl's version was the "Incredible Edible" machine, same concept except you could eat your creations, a precursor to gummy bears and worms I suppose, but with a much more toxic and bizarre flavor akin to sugery rubber/platic.

After the holidays and the educational burning of the fingers (I'm pretty sure I burned mine more than once, but I'm kind of slow that way) Mark and I then found other uses for the Creepy Crawler machine. Our hot plate was most useful to torture enemy plastic army men who had been captured in battle. Eventually, we would melt them all down at once, leaving only their heads protruding from a block of solid plastic which was easily removed from the torture device. Heaven knows how many of those army man bricks will be found by archiologists someday, and God only knows what the future peoples who find them will think of our sort.

When you mentioned the submarine, I thought you meant that cool sub that you put the baking soda tablets in and it would dive and rise all night long in the bathtub. Remember those?

Bill - You need to get on that having kids situation. You'd make a great father. Wish I could help, but I'm too old for that now and my husband probably would approve my attempting to help you procreat.

Thanks for the memories!



Edit to above:

I meant to say my husband "wouldn't" approve of helping you procreat. LOL.



I made movie and snack money with my thingmaker by selling bugs and spiders made to order. It was an ongoing lesson in running a small business, including the disaster of the hotplate dying with no replacement easily available -- I used an electric range cooktop, only to be finally put out of business in junior high due to lack of plastigoop.



Used to love when the "Christmas catalogs" came, especially the section with all the GI Joe dioramas!



Thanks for the blast from the past, Bill! Being an Air Force brat, my folks never had much money for toys, so we made due and often used our imaginations. Being freshly hooked on Star Trek, I decided to make my own space aliens and painted my Barbie and Ken dolls silver (stole my brother's enamel model paint; he never did figure out what happened to it). My brother wanted the Creepy Crawlers but Mom correctly identified the thing as a hazard. We didn't have many electrical or even battery-powered toys; it was mostly card games and board games in our house. Didn't prevent us from having the best time with this card game where you were supposed to slide colored cards onto pegs with long handled plastic paddles -- of course the game always ended with somebody smacking the other kid with one of the paddles and mayhem generally ensued. We also liked playing Hands Down, which also involved slamming stuff around. I guess we were just violent little cusses...



Do you realize you're a finalist in the Weblog Awards?

Enjoy the attention, run with the noteriety, and take a gander at the recommendations I've made in other categories.

Support An Army Wife in her category of "Best Diarist!"



And in 3....2....1 Where's the Gators post?



Bill, THANK YOU!!! I remember playing with this toy as a kid, and have a picture of me using it, but every time I tell someone about it they look at me like I'm crazy. Finally, I can prove that it really *did* exist.



Senate Bill 2433....It's Already Started

IT'S ALREADY STARTED FOLKS...BE AWARE OF WHAT'S GOING ON!

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-s2433/text SENATE BILL S. 2433 According to David Bossie, President of the group 'Citizens United for American Sovereignty based out of Merrifield, Virginia , website:http://www.citizensunited.org/ The above mentioned Senate Bill (S. 2433) is a piece of legislation in the works that all Americans need to know about...and know now!
This Bill, sponsored by none other than our "President elect" Sen.
Barrack Obama, with the backing of Joe Biden on the Foreign&n bsp; Relations Committee, and liberal democrats in Congress, is nothing short of a massive giveaway of American wealth around the world, and a betrayal of the public trust, because, if passed, this bill would give over many aspects of our sovereignty to the United Nations.

The noble sounding name of this bill, "The Global Poverty Act" is actually a Global Tax, payable to the United Nations, that will be required of all American taxpayers. If passed in the Senate, the House has already passed it, this bill would require the U.S. to increase our foreign aid by $65 BILLION per year, or $845 BILLION over the next 13 years! That's on top of the billions of dollars in foreign aid that we already pay out! In addition to the economic burdens this potential law would place on our precarious economy, the bill, if passed in the Senate, would also endanger our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by obligating us to meet certain United Nations mandates. According to Senator Obama, we should establish these United Nations' goals as benchmarks for U. S. spending. What are they?

The creation of a U.N. International Criminal Court having power to try and convict American citizens and soldiers without any protection from the U.S. Constitution.

A standing United Nations Army forcing U.S. soldiers to serve under U.N. command. A Gun Ban on all small arms and light weapons...which would repeal our Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The ratification of the "Kyoto" global warming treaty and numerous other anti-American measures.

Recently, the Senate Subcommittee on Foreign Relations (where Sen.
Joe Biden sits) approved this plan by a voice vote without any discussion! Why all the secrecy? If Senators Obama and Biden are so proud of this legislation, then why don't they bring it out into the light of day and let the American people have a look at it instead of hiding it behind closed doors and sneaking it through Congress for late night votes? It may be only a matter of time before this dangerous legislation reaches a floor vote in the full body of the Senate.

Please write or call, email your representatives, the White House, the media, or anyone you think will listen, and express your opinions regarding this Global Tax giveaway and betrayal of the&nb sp; American people at a time when our nation and our people are already heavily burdened with the threats of our freedom and economic prosperity.



HO HO HO



Bill, you have some serious competition. Check out the essay at The People's Cube, "Cracking the Obama Code: Don Quixote vs. the Windmill Owners."

The author was born and raised in the Soviet Union, so he knows whereof he speaks. I just now finished reading it, and I'm going to link it wherever I can. It's absolutely brilliant.




I think Bill looks a tad gay, not that gay is bad, I am gay too. Noting or noticing is bad, but perhaps being nice is wrong. I SHALL not notice. I am pretty sure I should not use a run on conjorative ellaborates.



I was clearly wrong with my prior assement of my grasp of the english language. I shall type in spanish or german, but never french.



GREAT to have you here again, Bill. I had missed the Johnny Astro until now...what memories that toy brings!



Good post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thank you :)

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