June 5, 2012 | in Nanny
Mass production and creative marketing campaigns in the 1980’s contributed to the massive toy market we have today. The list of toys introduced in that decade is endless, and yet few have stood the test of time. Most of them have been replaced by something more advanced and appealing to today’s youngsters, and toys from the ‘80’s don’t hold a candle to their pizazz. However, the children of the 80’s are now adults, and many of them look back fondly on the toys of their youth. Here’s a list of 10 awesome toys of the 1980’s that have all but disappeared and are now considered collector’s items:
- Stompers – The first time my son asked for a Stomper I had no idea what he was talking about. These battery-powered 4×4 toy trucks were all the rage and all of his friends had them. Production stopped in 1988 and now these awesome toys have practically vanished.
- MATU – The Masters of the Universe action figures were also a huge hit with kids of the 80’s. He Man, Skeletor, and all the male heroes and villains were popular with boys while She-Ra and her counterparts were an alternative to Barbie for girls.
- Sectaurs – Another awesome toy from that era were Sectaurs, which were based on the Marvel Comics animated mini-series. These action figures rode giant mutant insect puppets as they fought to save the planet Symbion.
- Cabbage Patch Kids – Who can forget the infamous Cabbage Patch Kids dolls that flew off the store shelves in the 1980’s? Every young girl, and even young boys, just had to have at least one to adopt. Their unique facial features and soft bodies were a huge hit, but now are limited edition collector’s items.
- Smooshies – These plush toys that smooshed into their plastic habitats were simple but awesome. Smooshies ranged from a variety of animals to a little baby in a carriage. Cute as they were, they disappeared from store shelves long ago.
- Glo Worms – A combination of soft, snuggly bedtime toy and night light, Glo Worms were the hottest toy of 1982. Other merchandise like story books, night lights and videos followed, but their popularity has since fizzled.
- Rainbow Brite – Every little girl in the 1980’s wanted to have Rainbow Brite, her horse, and all her colorful friends. Inspired by Hallmark cards and the animated television series, these toys were quite popular for some time, but nowhere to be found today.
- Strawberry Shortcake – American Greetings originated this character that developed into a variety of 1980’s toys. My daughter thought anything with Strawberry Shortcake was awesome. Although the TV series was re-launched in 2009, the formerly popular toys are no longer sold.
- Teddy Ruxpin – What could be more awesome than a teddy bear that told bedtime stories? Kids could listen to their favorite stories on a cassette tape player built into his back while his mouth even moved. Teddy Ruxpin was the best selling toy in 1985 and 1986 but has since disappeared.
- Pound Puppies – Who could resist the cuddly cuteness of the 1980’s Pound Puppies? Each puppy and purry, the kitten version, came with adoption papers and their own carrying case. Sadly these toys lost popularity in the 1990’s and have disappeared from store shelves.
You can see a consistent marketing pattern among all these toys of the 1980’s. They start with developing a character in comics, books, or cards that inspire cartoon shows and toys. This clever merchandising ploy works well, forcing parents to buy numerous commercial items to please their kids. Unfortunately the children soon tire of the last “must have” toy and move on to the latest rage perpetuating a vicious cycle that still continues today. Whatever the most awesome toys are now, they will likely soon disappear, and soon the only remnants will be the fond memories that parents of the future nostalgically hold of them.
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