Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 FAVORITES (46) - Toys, Toys and MORE Toys!

With Thanksgiving over, the Christmas shopping season has officially begun with "Black Friday" (and the fairly new "Cyber-Monday" as well!).  So now everyone is making their respective Wish Lists for their friends and family and trying to decide what they want or need (or think they want or need!) for the Holidays.  It is a time-honored tradition in our culture and, of course, I was no exception growing up.  Every year at this time, my relatives would descend upon me and question me as to what I wanted for Christmas.  And as a child, the "Go-To" answer was obviously: TOYS!!!!  So many Toys have been popular throughout my lifetime.  But which ones were the best ones?  Which ones have withstood the test of time?  This week's 10 FAVORITES is devoted to the Toys that created a frenzy whenever they were released and how important they have been within the fabric of our culture.


The Easy Bake Oven
How many Toys can make a "delicious" snack for you and your friends?  Young girls everywhere have had hours of enjoyment from the little bulb in a box that can bake you a cupcake!

TOY #10
The Disney Princess Franchise
This one is a bit of a cheat as I am giving a spot on this list to an entire franchise that includes Toys, backpacks, pencil cases, sleepwear, etc.  But the House of Mouse has empowered young girls with a franchise that has made more money in the last decade than any other Toy company in history.

TOY #9
Teddy Bears
The classics are always great!  Every kid has had a Teddy Bear in their lifetime.  They will always be a part of our culture no matter what.

TOY #8
Remote Control Cars
This was one of the first Toys I clearly remember wanting really bad.  All the commercials for them made them seem like they gave the boys who had them magical powers or something.  Now with the popularity of both NASCAR and Disney/PIXAR's Cars, this generation of Remote Control Cars have taken on a new life.

TOY #7
G. I. Joe
G.I. Joe is the ultimate when it comes to masculine Toys.  Combining the classic Army Men Toy with the similar style used when Matel created Barbie, the Great American Hero was the original Action Figure.  Since then, so many movie and cartoon characters have become popular figures but G. I. Joe has remained the pinnacle.

TOY #6
Train Sets
Like the Teddy Bears above, the classics still never go out of style.  Trains are one of the first vehicles little kids enjoy identifying and a Train Set will always be welcome in a child's home.  Plus, the adults get as much enjoyment from them.  This is one of the few Toys where adult collectors can get truly obsessive about (and this goes well beyond the typical Trekkie or Comic Book Guy!).

TOY #5
Tickle Me Elmo
One of the most popular toys of all-time has also become one of the most beloved.  Elmo has become the most popular character on Sesame Street, even passing the irrepressible Big Bird.  And the laughing and moving stuffed doll based on the lovable red monster has caused more stampedes at Toy stores than most other Toys in history.

TOY #4
Cabbage Patch Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids are enjoying a surprising nostalgic resurgence now thanks to the many kids who had them when I was kid now having kids themselves. 

TOY #3
Hot Wheels
This one is a personal favorite of mine.  Both my brother and myself loved collecting the many different kinds of cars the Hot Wheel company released.  We even enjoyed building the tracks and racing them against each other (though the tracks never really lasted!).

TOY #2
Her placement on this list is most definitely due to her longevity.  She has lasted longer than almost any other doll in Toy history.  She has many clothes, many friends, many houses and many boyfriends (including the ever-popular Ken!).  There is truly no one like her in all of the Toy world.

TOY #1
What can I say about this timeless Toy?  Everyone I know has had a set of Legos somewhere in their childhood.  And now with the number of video games devoted to the world of Legos (LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.).  They even have their own popular Theme Park: LEGOLand (located in the San Diego, CA area).

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