Do You Remember These Toys From Your Christmas List in the '50s & '60s?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Image: Media Library

About This Quiz

The 1950s and '60s brought us the Hula Hoop, Etch-A-Sketch and many other toy industry icons. If they were on your Christmas wish list as a child or you’re a fan of vintage toys, do you think you can identify all the toys in our quiz from a single image? Take a walk down memory lane and find out!

In 1961, two years after Barbie first sashayed onto the scene, the world was introduced to her boyfriend, Ken. Although Barbie and Ken went through an “Earth-shaking” breakup in 2004, the famous couple were back together in 2011.

Over 70 million Electric Football games were sold in the 1960s and 1970s, with Christmas time consistently recording a spike in sales. The metal field on which Electric Football is played varies in size from 24 x 13 inches to 61 x 27.5 inches for the full-sized set.

Simple, loads of fun and great exercise, too – a winning formula for any toy! It was a formula the Hula Hoop certainly got right when it was first introduced in 1958. The Hula Hoop has certainly led to plenty of gyrating rivalries since then, with the record for keeping one spinning now set at over 3 days!

The modern two-handed pogo stick design was patented in 1957 and became a big success once it hit the market. It wasn’t just kids who wanted to find a pogo stick neatly tucked under the tree on Christmas morning – adults were pretty crazy about them, too.

Following on the popularity of its Chatty Cathy doll in the early 1960s, Mattel released the educational See ‘n Say which featured pictures and sounds of barnyard animals. Just like the Chatty Cathy dolls, the sound in the early versions of the See ‘n Say was activated by a pull-string – no batteries required!

The Scrabble word game might have been around since 1938, but it didn’t really become a widespread favorite until 1952. That’s when the rights to the game were sold to Selchow and Righter, the same company which sold Parcheesi. Within 2 years of the acquisition, well over 4 million sets of Scrabble were sold.

In 1953, semipro pitcher David Mullany created the Wiffle Ball as a better way for his own 12-year-old son to practice baseball. By the end of the year, the Wiffle Ball was being mass produced and the game of Wiffle Ball was a national sensation by the end of the decade.

The year was 1871 and Yale students entertained themselves by tossing around (empty) pie plates from the Frisbie Pie Company located close to the university. By 1955, when Wham-O toy company began selling its plastic flying discs, it decided to do so under the name Frisbee in honor of the Yale tradition.

Silly Putty (at one point called Nutty Putty) was discovered by accident during some very serious scientific research. The “real solid liquid” was a disappointment to scientists looking for a rubber substitute, but when it was marketed as a toy around 1950, it was an insanely huge success.

Maggie Magnetic Inc. began marketing the Whee-Lo (or Magnet Space Wheel) in 1953. The toy’s action was repetitive, mesmerizing and provided kids with hours of mind-bending fun!

The company that gave us Chattery Teeth in 1949 took the silliness to a somewhat grosser level when itbegan to produce fake vomit in the 1950s. It marketed it by the not so icky name “Whoops”.

1950 marked the start of the Fisher-Price Little People play set, although they weren’t called Little People at the time. It all began with Looky Fire Truck which was soon followed by Super-Jet and Racing Rowboat. The popular Little People Play Family didn’t actually come along until 1960.

Inventor Arthur Holt sold Fisher-Price toy company the rights to his design for a noisy walker in 1957. The company named the toy the Corn Popper and parents of children learning to walk fell in love with it. In the years since its release, the Corn Popper has remained one of the industry’s most popular toys.

Thomas Dam created the very first Troll doll in 1959 for his daughter. It was carved from wood and had glass eyes and woolen hair. His daughter loved it and her friends wanted their own, so he began making and marketing them under the name Dam Dolls.

Wham-O’s 1961 creation of the Slip ‘n Slide may have been perfect for hot summer days, but it was still a treat for kids to find under the tree on Christmas morning. The company issues a recommendation that only children should use the toy, as it poses a risk of injury to any one older, so – back off, teenagers and adults!

Barbie first appeared in 1959 wearing that now-classic striped bathing with her (blonde or brunette) hair done up in pretty fancy topknot. She was advertised as a “Teen-age Fashion Model” and every little girl wanted one. Many of them got their wish it would seem, since 350, 000 Barbie dolls were sold in the first year alone.

The Flatsy dolls were not-quite 2-dimensional and not quite 3-dimensional, but that didn’t matter to little girls who were all hoping and praying they’d get one when the toy came out in 1969. The original Flatsys had floor-length hair and came in themes with matching clothes and accessories.

The Fisher-Price Chatter Telephones of today may be made from plastic, but when the company first released its soon-to-be best-selling toy in 1962, it was made of wood. The toy was originally named the Talk Back Phone.

Did Albert Carter know that the Syco-Seer he created in the 1940s would by 1950 be converted into the hugely successful Magic 8 Ball? Probably not, but you can’t help but wonder if he ever posed that question to it.

Red Ryder is a comic book character, created in the 1930s but still popular and on television in the 1950s. His BB gun, which every little boy hoped to find among their Christmas presents, was a Winchester-style rifle. The Red Ryder BB Gun has remained one of the best-selling BB guns over the years.

The Candy Land board game was first put out by Milton Bradley in 1949 – as a temporary stand-in product. The company soon found, however, that Candy Land had become its best-selling product and so decided to keep it – smart move!

This popular party game was first published in 1958 and has sold over 110 million copies since. Co-creator of the series, Roger Price, is also creator of the Droodles syndicated cartoon feature.

The Slinky debuted in 1945 and it's 80 feet of wire wound in a helical coil has remained a favorite toy for kids over the decades. Variations on the Slinky which were introduced in the 1950s include Slinky Dog, Slinky train Loco, Slinky worm Suzie and the Slinky Crazy Eyes.

Every little future cook wanted an Easy-Bake Oven when the toy first hit the market in 1963. Within the first year, half a million Easy-Bake Ovens were sold by the company, Kenner Products, which later became a division of Hasbro.

The PEZ dispenser had been around for some time before the makers decided in 1955 to add character heads to the canisters. Whereas sales were lackluster before, they really skyrocketed with the new design. It was yummy candy and a fun, collectible toy all-in-one!

This “drink-and-wet” doll was first issued in 1934 and was still a favorite in the 1950s when she hit the peak of her popularity. Apart from drinking and wetting, Betsy Wetsy also had “go to sleep” eyes, and jointed arms and legs.

Over 600 billion Lego pieces have been manufactured since the toy first appeared in 1949. The toy has spawned movies, theme parks and an entire subculture of Lego builders.

The yo-yo has been around in various cultures for millennia but production of the modern Yo-Yo began in 1928. Around the time of the Second World War, its popularity waned but true to form, the Yo-Yo bounced back in a big way in the 1960s.

This nursery staple was introduced by Fisher-Price in 1960. Apart from comparing sizes and identifying colors, the toy also teaches hand-eye coordination.

The Conquest of the World was the original name of this French board game released in 1957. Parker Brothers acquired the rights to the game, tweaked it a bit and released it again in 1959 as Risk: The Continental Game. The name was later changed to Risk: The Game of Global Domination

No, they aren’t dolls – they’re action figures! In fact, the term “action figure” actually originates with the G.I. Joe figures when they were first produced in 1964. It was thought up as a way to make the toy more appealing to boys.

Stop-motion clay animation all began with the creation of Gumby by Art Clokey in 1953. Gumby first starred in a 3-minute 10-second movie which led to him being given his own television program. Bendable Gumby action figures were introduced in 1955.

This murder mystery game is known as “Clue” in the U.S. and “Cluedo” in the U.K. Similarly, the murder victim in the U.S. version is Mr. Boddy but in the U.K. version it is Dr. Black. The game has spawned an entire franchise since it was first released in 1949.

Milton Bradley released its version of the classic battleship game in 1967. It owed some of its popularity to the fact that it was different from the paper pad versions previously available as it was sold as a plastic board game.

The Red Rocker and the Blue Bomber boxers were first introduced to kids in 1964 and, needless to say, they were an instant hit! Kids back then had much bigger robots to duke it out with since the more recent versions are only about half the size of the originals.

The Yahtzee dice game hit the market in 1956 and by the end of the next decade roughly 40 million sets had been sold. Its popularity is maintained to this day, with owner Hasbro revealing that 50 million sets of the game are sold annually.

A (very) scaled-down model of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation coach, issued in 1952, was Lesney Products’ first major success and a hint of big things to come. By 1953, the company released is first set of Matchbox vehicles – a car, a dump truck and a cement mixer.

Colorforms came out in 1951 and its simple concept made it an instant hit and kept it popular for decades. Children could enjoy hours of fun making countless scenes and designs using vinyl shapes stuck onto a background.

In 1964, Norman Stingley accidentally created a synthetic polymer which he realized had amazing bouncing power. Wham-O toy company bought the rights to the compound, reworked it a bit and named it SuperBall. By Christmas of 1965, the company had already sold over 6 million SuperBalls.

The Game of Cootie was only one of several games produced by Schaper Toys, but this bug-building game, created by William Schaper himself, was by far the most popular. It was released in 1949 and had already sold in the millions within the first few years.

Tonka Toys Incorporated put its first toy pickup truck on the market in the mid-1950s. This was followed by a Jeep (1962) and the best-selling Mighty Dump Truck in 1965.

Not many people know that Play-Doh started out as a wallpaper cleaner. In the mid-1950s when the market for that particular product started to wane, the makers came up with the bright idea of using it as children’s modeling clay instead.

The Barbie doll was first marketed in 1959, and by 1962 little girls could add her Dream House to their Christmas wish list. This original Barbie Dream House was just a cardboard cutout but in the decades to come, newer versions would contain a working elevator, flush toilet and a working doorbell, among many other innovations.

16 inches high, decked out in red and silver, and futuristic enough to capture the imagination of every child – that was Robert the Robert. This 1950s remote-controlled robot could walk forward and backward, turn left and right, and even had a chest panel you could open to reveal tools inside.

The Toy Story film franchise made Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head popular with the current generation of children. When Mr. Potato Head first came on the scene in 1952, he was a real hit with children back then, too. The only difference is that they had to stick the little plastic body parts into a real potato!

This simple game was released in 1966 by Lakeside Toys. It consisted of 12 plastic monkeys with S-shaped arms and all you had to do is link them in one continuous chain. It wasn’t really as easy as it sounds but it sure provided hours of non-stop fun!

Chatty Cathy spoke 11 phrases and had “go to sleep” eyes. She holds the distinction of being the second highest selling doll of the 1960s (Barbie took first place).

Mattel now owns both brands, but when Hot Wheels debuted in 1968, they were pretty stiff competition for Matchbox cars which had been around for over a decade. The original set of 16 Hot Wheels cars included a Corvette, an Eldorado and a Firebird.

Believe it or not, when the inventor of the first prototype for the Etch A Sketch showed it to toy companies, no one had an interest in it. Ohio Art Company eventually decided to invest in it, however, and started marketing the soon-to-be iconic mechanical drawing toy under the Etch A Sketch name in 1960.

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