Toys and Memory

I spent a large chunk of last week organizing our basement. Currently it’s nothing but cinder blocks, but there’s enough height to the ceiling it could be finished out into a nice rec space, which is something we’ve been planning to do since we first moved in… a decade ago.

Anyway, while sorting through various boxes I ran across this little collection of catalogs. I didn’t have a Mego catalog lying around, so I tossed Kirk into the photo. If I’d been feeling really ambitious I would have dug out some Lego catalogs too.

Add Legos and some Six Million Dollar Man toys into this photo and that’s pretty much my favorite run of toys from my youth. (I’m not counting board games or books or comic books, obviously.)
Mego dolls, check. I had a lot of the Star Trek ones, and the Enterprise set, and I played the hell out of them, along with some Marvel figures, especially Spider-Man. When I was younger, that Fisher-Price castle was the coolest thing ever. Fisher-Price also had the Adventure people sets, which I never really got into (it annoyed me that they had no elbow or knee joints) but I sure loved the parachute set. I’ve no idea what I got out of taking the parachute guy out into the yard and throwing him up and watching him descend gracefully in his chute, but I did it, a lot.

Then there are the Micronauts. Man, were those cool. I think that they were only around for a couple of years, but they sure were nifty. I recall playing with those a lot with my pal Mike Boone. I gave some of my surviving units to my friend David Bartley, a big Micronauts collector, when I left Indianapolis, but held onto a few favorites for my kids. Space Glider’s harness actually survived handling by both children so that the wings still pop out on command.

Viewmasters — I sold off all of mine years ago on E-bay but I still had this catalog. I remember using them for months before figuring out that if you lined them up properly the image became three dimensional! I just hadn’t read the fine print, I guess.

And then there were the Marx Best of the West toys, most famously Johnny West. They might have been the last big gasp of the western toys. Me and my friends Bryan and Aaron Brooks had those, though the Brooks brothers had a much more complete set, including the really cool Indians. I can recall liking the Sam Cobra villain set the best, because it had so many gadgets. I used to hand over his gear to some other character who didn’t look as villainous and pretend he was some kind of western spy.

Anyone else have fond memories of these?