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Tag Archive: Fisher Price


Netflix is now carrying a new documentary television series that delves into the creators behind some of our favorite toys from the recent, and not so recent past.  The Toys That Made Us features four episodes in its first season of streaming, each focused on a toy line that should bring in a good cross-section of fandom.  The choices for the first shows include Kenner’s vintage Star Wars action figures and playsets, Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, with an emphasis on the 3 3/4″ line of action figures, Mattel’s Barbie, and the Mattel’s Masters of the Universe No doubt Barbie and G.I. Joe should pull in the older crowd, while the latter half of G.I. Joe and Star Wars will pull in the kids of the 1970s and early 1980s, and Masters of the Universe the kids of the 1980s.

Not a show for kids and not another show about toy collectors, the series devotes plenty of each hour to interviews with designers, marketing, other businessmen discussing the nuts and bolts of negotiating deals, like the lawyer for Kenner discussing the greatest toy deal negotiation ever, and the later not-so-great negotiation because of a loose-lipped CEO.  The Barbie episode features a Barbie expert continually bashing the character as a “hooker” as if she has some sort of love-hate relationship with the doll.  But the politics of toymaking is interesting fodder for the right audience.  Should it be a surprise that toymakers have the same ugly corporate politics, the downsizing, the layoffs, and the takeovers, like every other company?  Prepare yourself for several CEOs and designers as they tiptoe, or not, around decisions and employers they wrestled with in the past as toys and brands came and went.  The creators look back both with nostalgia and anger at the former toy companies that eventually terminated their employment.  So look for an unusual take on these toys and these companies.

The next four episodes will be launched on Netflix later this year, and include Hello Kitty, Transformers, Star Trek, and LEGO.  Sometimes what the show chooses to tell is as interesting as how the show tells it.  The eight toy lines chosen no doubt came from the producer’s own focus groups, like the ideas behind some of the toys they discuss.  If The Toys That Made Us really is a one-time thing, someone else should come along and continue the idea with all the other major brands and influences.

We want to see an episode on Marx toys, including little toy soldiers and the 12-inch action figure series.  We also want to see a history of the broad Mego line of figures, Hot Wheels, Stretch Armstrong, and Big Jim.  How about companies like Fisher Price, Playskool, Playmobil, and Radio Flyer?  A series like this needs to cover more “recent” but still classic toy lines, too, like My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch Kids, Strawberry Shortcake, and figure out a way to capture famous classic toys like Spirograph, Tinker Toys, Play-Doh, Etch-A-Sketch, Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs, and the ultimate multi-license toy, Viewmaster.  How about a tour of the Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers factories of the past?  Who put out more great board games than these companies?  It’s easy to imagine entire episodes on the history of games like Clue/Cluedo and Monopoly.  And how about featuring a current game company that’s been around for decades, like Wizards of the Coast?

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Dont Smile

The gold old days.  Life was simpler then.  Back then we didn’t have the Internet.

Every generation looks back with a sense of nostalgia for those artifacts of a time long ago.  Yet in contemporary times you wouldn’t have thought we’d ever look back one day with any positive thoughts.  Real typewriters, not the electric ones, that gave your fingers early stage arthritis.  A pick-up truck with manual steering that gave your arms a workout every time you made a turn.  The vibrant, eye-popping scent of mimeograph machines and the purple ink that wouldn’t wash off your skin.  The sting of mercurochrome on an open wound.  Ah… the good old days.

Then there are those things that really do carry nothing but positive feelings.  Back in between 1959 and 1972, Fisher Price released toys for little kids wanting their own high-tech fun.  If you’re like us here at borg.com, you remember playing with most of these as a kid.  In reality these toys were low-tech, yet, if the gift recipient was young enough these toys really were a hit.  They have vanished for decades but are back now, and in time for your Black Friday gift buying quest.

Classic camera toy

If your kid is old enough where he has his own xBox and iPhone, don’t bother with these.  These are for kids who haven’t been tempted by those zombie toys of the adult set.  So here they all are: the 1966 High-Def television, the 1959 iPod, the 1961 smart phone, the 1969 electronic keyboard, the 1968 digital SLR, the 1972 iPad, and the 1971 CD player.  You don’t remember an iPod in 1959?  Maybe Fisher Price didn’t use these terms back then, but maybe current kids would have the same fun with the appropriate spin on what they were playing with.

Here’s your post-modern online retro toy catalog to save you some time at the holidays, with our own added updated names, available at discount prices from Amazon.com. Click on each photo for details.

The Original Smart Phone

1961 Chatter Phone

1961 Chatter Phone

Early HDTV 

1966 Two-Tune TV

1966 Two-Tune TV

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