Thursday, December 21, 2006

wish list...

I remember getting the Sears Wish Book sometime around Thanksgiving. Mom and Dad would hand it to myself and my siblings (two sisters and one Wolf, just like Rudyard Kipling) with paper and pens. Our mission was clear: go through the book and aid Santa in his quest to find out what we wanted for Christmas. We were duty bound to fulfill our mission, so we set off and tore through the pages. The gleam of newly minted toys and old favorites shone through the book like newly lit Christmas tree lights. Our pages were filled with items that we wanted, we hoped for, and that we secretly knew we probably wouldn't get, but still....

It was a form of Christmas magic. We then took our lists to Santa (or representative) at the mall. We waited in line while we looked at the "automatronic" Christmas scenes of Santa's workshop, the Elves Employee lounge and Reindeer stable scattered around the mall. Once we made it to the Big Guy we handed over our hard work and confided in Santa just how good we were that year. And by the way, there's a cookie and glass of milk in for you big guy. After we saw Santa we walked through the mall, looking at everything. We didn't always come here, so it was a treat. Especially when Dad would walk through Sears and buy us a few goodies at the Candy and Nuts counter. I always got the candy fruit slices. Let's just say that my brother and sisters and I were very lucky children indeed. Thanks Mom and Dad.

In a fit of nostalgia, I found scattered on this great modern day internet, various pictures of wishbook items that inevitably made it on the list. (Note: Although all of these items were scanned from a Sears Wish Book from late 70s- early 80s, they are not all from the one pictured above. I just like the cover.) Everything here (except one) actually made it under our tree from Santa himself. Santa was always good to us, and we were very fortunate children. Just looking at these pictures brings back a flood of memories and fuzzy and warm feelings. So, you have been warned. If you weren't a kid in the 70s or 80s you may not recognize many of these, but some are still around. So today, get a comfortable seat in the Wayback Machine, and check these things out. Sometimes I'll add comments, to some I won't, and please share your own comments and memories with us in the comments section.
For now, I present to you items from Christmas Wish List past:


Firehouse TreeTots Treehouse.


Winnie the Pooh Honey Tree.


My sisters had Strawberry Shortcake Everything. Even Blackberry Walnut. I think that was a character. Or, er...maybe not


They also had Cabbage Patch Dolls. My sister got the first year they came out and got her picture in the local paper. I remember these things caused more violence in the Toy Stores than Tickle Me Elmo ever did.


BIG TRAC! BIG TRAC! I loved Big Trac! You could program it to bring your dad a glass of milk, or so said the commercial. But what kid was gonna do that? You were sneaking cookies back into your room, easing stuff out of your sister's room, and other surreptitious activities.


Big Wheels


Atari. Now you can buy one of those "Plug and Play" Ataris with a gajillion preloaded games. Try and explain how that is cool to a kid raised on PS2 and Xbox. Once they get done laughing you can go back to the spare room and play it by yourself. Just don't mumble to yourself to much or your wife might take it away from you.


Awesome art stuff. Who didn't have a Light Brite or Etch-a-Sketch?


Battle Mountain. This thing was supposed to be based on Iwo Jima, but it always looked more like Normandy to me. All I know is that it was all kinds of awesome, and my friends and I played with it till it was Battle "Pile of Pieces"


This was the first calculator I ever owned. I learned how to spell H-E- double hockey sticks on it. "Little Professor" indeed.


Fisher Price Theater. I had the Mickey Mouse Ghosthunters cartridge. I never got tired of watching the part where Mickey, Goofy and Donald bust through the door of the Haunted House. I could rewind it and fast forward it, and it still was amazing that I could do that. Then we got a VCR. "Kid Magic" gone.


Erector Set. Luckily I had the red storage case as well. Although that didn't always prevent a stray nut or bolt finding its way into the vacuum.


Fisher Price was da' bomb.


Sesame Street Playset. I was big time into Sesame Street when I was a kid, and I had this Playset, which became a little world all its own, with no songs about numbers or letters. Just good times, man. Good times.


Even more Fisher Price goodness. Loved the parking garage playset.


Even though I hadn't seen the movie, I loved this game. Of course, after playing this game, I thought the movie was about a giant Shark that worked as a cranky garbage collector for a very opulent and wasteful underseas community.


I had all of these games at one point and time. And I loved them. I wish I still had them. I was the only kid my age on my street, so it was play with siblings or play against yourself. Sometimes I won, and sometimes, I won. Luckily Quiz Wiz and Merlin negated any of those problems. I just recently found my Quiz Wiz, minus any books or cartridges. I wonder if I could find any.... I wish I could find Stop Thief, also. I loved that game!


My brother was all about He-Man and Castle Grayskull. He must have had all of these guys. In fact, he buried one in the backyard and I believe he found it just a few years ago, still fairly intact. Skeletor's magic is fearsome indeed.

PlayMobil Western Set.


Lincoln Logs. Still a classic.


Playskool Holiday Inn. Now, we didn't have this, but my cousin out of town did. And everytime we went to his house it was like, "Hey guys, what's up? Where's the Holiday Inn set?" Harsh, I know. But when you are a kid, and business needs to be conducted, you gotta cut to the chase.

I had Q*bert. Very cool, and surprisingly difficult.

I think every house must have had a Tune Train...


... and a ViewMaster. How about the ViewMaster that projected onto the wall. All kinds of coolness.


Ah, Speak N' Spell. Its very name sends a counter message, but nonetheless, this was one of my favorite toys. And the great irony is, that I am still a terribul...terrabu...a really bad speller. I also found this one recently and popped in some fresh batteries. Surprise! Still works as if it was new. My youngest has gotten a kick out of it lately.


And here it is... the one that got away. This is the one Santa forgot. Bank Shot. It looked so awesome in the ads and in the store. I guess Santa thought that it would warp my mind. Maybe he saved me from a life of heartbreak playing pool in dives for my supper. Who knows? Either way, I'm not complaining, cause we were very lucky kids.



Well, it's time to come back to the present day with mega stores full of Bratz, Hootchie Barbie Dolls, video games, Tickle Me Elmos and DVDs. Hey, its not really all bad. Decades from now, someone will be telling their kids about how they wish they still had their old PSP. But, still...
Do you have any Christmas memories like these, did we miss any of your favorites? If so please share them with everyone in the comments section!
Coming up next, Christmas Candy Review Double Feature. Stay tuned.

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

You'll shoot your eye out kid!

9 comments:

Jessica said...

Thanks for posting those! I had so many of those toys, and the Sesame Street Playset was my favorite. Only toy I don't see on there: the Big-Mouth Orchestra pull toy for toddlers...you'd hit a key and these little guys would sing that looked like ping-pong balls sliced in half...
Good times.

Happy holidays!

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Oh man! I'm only 19, but these bring back great memories... We had that treehouse in kintergarten when I was 4, and I can't believe I still remember it. Of course I had to have an etch-a-sketch, and we also had that middle crayola set, the designer kit one. I had lots of toy soldiers, and I believe I still have some of my favorites in my closet... they were Normandy ones, actually bought in France. We had the Fisher Price airplane and colored rings on a stick of the first image, and the school and parking garage with elevator of the second. And aren't those Playmobil cowboys instead of Little People? We never had a Viewmaster, but I was always enthralled when one of my friends had it. I had a Sesame street Speak N' Spell, and we actually just gave it away to charity a few weeks ago. Haaa, great, great memories. You've forgotten the best toys, though... Duplo and Lego!

Thanks!

Laura said...

Lite Brite!! I *loved* that.

I remember the Sears Wish Books fondly. Thanks for a great post.

Laura (child of the '70s)

Michael said...

How about the old reliable "G.I. Joe?" I used to have the 12 inch G.I. Joes and all the gear, including the water adventure set.
Great article! Hope to see more. I also liked the TCM for the Holidays

Lissa said...

Wow- this was great! More please!
I had the Cabbage Patch & the Strawberry Shortcake stuff (kid in early 80s) also had Rainbo-Brite.

Sallie said...

I still have the Fisher Price house that is pictured. My daughter plays with it now. That Fisher Price stuff is high quality- the doorbell even still works!

I also have a Speak & Read which I learned to spell h*e* double hockey sticks on. However, when you'd search the word, he's say..."Not Found"....The Speak & Read also still works and is used by my daughter. The stuff made back then was such better quality than now!

I loved the picture walk down memory lane. Thanks!

Retro_N_Groovy said...

Great stuff.

I had a lot of this stuff, and I was particularely addicted to Merlin.

I don't care if I ever play an Atari again. I used to get blisters from the joystick!

Robert Burns said...

Anyone know where I can get a Battle Mountain today? Man, I have to have that again.

Big E said...

I had the Iwo Jima "playset"--pretty perverse, in retrospect. I recall that there was also a nearly identical "Guns of Navarone" mountain available at the same time--it was blue, however, and substituted little grey or blue Nazis for the mustard yellow Japanese. Ooh, hey, look: http://www.thefakelife.com/blog/2007/06/anticipation.html

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