Archive for June, 2010

Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s interviewed on Strange Kids Club

Posted in blogging with tags on June 8, 2010 by Paxton

Wanted to give a shout out to a great interview on the awesome blog Strange Kids Club (SKC).

Strange Kids Club

SKC posted an interview with Shawn Robare from Branded in the ’80s.  I’ve gotten to know Shawn over the years through visiting his blog and talking with him over Twitter.  You guys have probably noticed me linking and talking about him a lot.  He’s a great guy and Branded is one of my favorite websites to visit.  Now, thanks to this interview I have another favorite blog, Strange Kids Club.

Strange Kids Club is an awesome repository for pop culture nostalgia.  Lots of images and video links and great articles on trailers, cartoons, movies and wrestling.  Lots of fun and the design of the site is fantastic.  Congrats to Shawn on a nice interview and congrats to Strange Kids Club for a great blog.

So click on over and read the great interview with Shawn where, and he was very kind to do this, he mentions The Cavalcade of Awesome as one of his favorite blogs.  Right back at you, Shawn.  And stay tuned everyone as Shawn and I are trying to find something to do together.  It should be pants crappingly awesome.  I kid you not.

Famous First Editions: A look at the origin of our most famous toys

Posted in Americana, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , on June 4, 2010 by Paxton

There are so many toys that have become timeless. Toys your parents played with, toys you played with, toys your own kids will play with. As I’m soon to be a dad myself, I got to thinking about these toys that have become ubiquitous, that have spanned the generations to be enjoyed by different children in different eras.

Here are some of our most famous toys that have been around for decades and look to be around long after all of us are gone.

1st Matchbox car 1st matchbox car with box(Pics via darkens.net.nz)
Matchbox die cast cars – Matchbox cars were started in 1953 by British toy company Lesney Products. Co-owner Jack Odell created the idea for the tiny cars because his daughter was only allowed to bring toys to school if they could fit in a matchbox. So he decided to scale down one of their larger toys, the red and green road roller, and that became the #1 1A Diesel Road Roller (pic above), the first Matchbox car ever. A dump truck and a cement mixer would complete the first 3 cars in what would come to be known as the original “75 series” of Matchbox cars. The website darkens.net.nz is a great resource for pics and information on vintage Matchbox products.

1968 Sweet 16 Hot Wheels 68 cougar
Hot Wheels die cast cars – As seen above, Lesney dominated the small die cast car market from the time they introduced Matchbox cars throughout the ’60s. Mattel decided to throw it’s hat in the ring to grab some of that die cast money with it’s Hot Wheels line in 1968. That series of cars in 1968 has come to be known as the “Sweet 16” (see pic on left via Worthpoint.com). They were all released at roughly the same time, but the first numbered car was #6205a – The Custom Cougar (pic on right via Hot Wheels Wiki).

1st issue Barbie(via Dolls4Play)
Barbie – A Mattel executive’s wife noticed that all girls’ dolls looked like infants. There were no adult female dolls for kids to play with. When she brought this up to her husband he and the rest of Mattel were unenthusiastic about the idea. I mean, she was just a woman, what the hell did she know about dolls? Am I right? Anyway, on a trip to Europe the wife came across the German Bild Lili doll, which was an adult female doll based on a popular comic strip character. She bought three, brought them home to America and worked with Mattel engineer Jack Ryan to create the first Barbie doll which was named after her daughter, Barbara (see pic above). Barbie was introduced at the 1959 Toy Fair in New York.  Retailers were reluctant at first but within a year the dolls were selling out of stores across America.  Ken was introduced in 1961 (named after Barbara’s brother) and then Skipper in 1964 (no idea where that name came from).

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