Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas! And the Sum Total of my Childhood Christmas Pictures

  Some of you may have been wondering why I did five posts on my friend Lori's Christmas pictures. Well, to be honest, she got so much great stuff,and also,there are very few pictures of my childhood Christmases. Apparently my mom only took Christmas pictures on two or three Christmases. Most of those were posed pictures taken after all the presents were opened.  The other thing is, you will have seen the ones with toys in them in previous posts. However, I'm going to go ahead and show you the sum total of all my childhood Christmas pictures. There  aren't many.
  We'll start with Christmas of 1964. I was nearly three at the time, since my birthday is at the beginning of March.
  I'm guessing this is Christmas eve. There are no opened presents under the tree, and our hair isn't curled. Mom used to curl our hair Christmas eve so we had curly hair on Christmas. She was always disappointed that she didn't have curly haired children.

There is one of our inflatable reindeer. It looks to be Rudolph.  My sister and I both had a reindeer. Mom made us pretend to be looking up the cardboard fireplace for Santa Claus. As young as we were we protested because we thought it was stupid to look up a cardboard fireplace for Santa. It didn't even go anywhere!

Christmas morning,1965. My sister got Barbie's New Dreamhouse,(on the left),and I got a set of metal kitchen appliances. I wore the washing machine out. It really agitated and had a hose to drain the water out.There was also a sink,stove, and a refrigerator,plus an extra piece that must be just a cupboard. I remember the fridge and the washing machine best.
+I think the thing laying on the shelf to the right of my butt is a little wooden rolling pin. I know I have one, but I don't remember if it cam with this stuff or something else.

I also got a set of pink plastic cups with a matching coffee pot,and white dishes,with white cutlery. The pink box in the foreground had my Tiny Thumbelina in it. I don't see her anywhere. She was my second Thumblina. I had had a white haired one before, one of the larger ones I think. Mom threw her away. I don't remember why. I do remember her laying on top of the trash pile in the woods,where we had to put things that didn't burn because there was no trash pick up in the country in those days. I do remember begging Mom to get her down. Gee, this is getting sad! Moving on! I did get another Thumbelina, my Newborn Thumbelina, which I did a post on HERE. I still have both the last two. Thumb's pink box was used to keep those dishes in way into the 70's. 
  Ok. Wait a minute. Our hair is curled here! These pictures are print dated March and May of 1965,meaning they were all taken the Christmas before. Maybe some are from a different Christmas and it took Mom a whole year to get them developed? We look the same size though.

This is obviously after the present opening because of the loose paper under the tree. My sister and I had matching sweaters in green and blue. Mom only wore that sweater on Christmas,and had it when she passed away in 1986.

Here are my sister, and me, with our hair still curled. I'm holding the Christmas elf,or pixie as we called them then,which my sister got me for Christmas that year. He was one of my favourite toys and I played with him a lot. I still have him,and he got his own post HERE.

Here we are in my sister's room.

If you look closely,you'll see that I have Pixie tucked down beside me in the chair. That's my sister's Miss Revlon or maybe a clone doll. She does still have her. The chicken in the basket was actually a pot holder,made by our Grama I think. I have a green one. I didn't realize they were potholders until my sister told me recently! My mom had the red chair reupholstered one year and gave it to my sister's daughter for Christmas. I don't think they still have it though. I do still have the toy phone on my sister's dressser.
  Ok,I think I solved this mystery. Here's another picture of us in my sister's room. I know we got the giant dogs for Easter. (Mine is blue.) Maybe this one is Easter? That would account for the date on the pictures. But I still have Pixie with me. The weird thing is, if this is the same day as the picture above,why did my sister bother to move the phone from the dresser to the bedside table. Wow! Were there originally two of those?  I only remember there being one, and there's only one now.It does have the remain of a battery compartment and some wiring though, so maybe there were two and you could talk to each other?

  That bed had metal head and foot boards and when you accidentally hit your head on the headboard it sounded like a gong. (Trust me.) My mom later revarnished the night stand, which was originally one side of a vanity,(Thus there are two of those nightstands.She cut the middle section out so she could have night stands.) I still use them by my bed.
  I remember taking this picture. Dad had just arrived. There's Pixie on my lap again. I seem to have been playing with my Tonka camper and the plastic farm animals when Dad got there. Still have both of those too. I always loved that camper because the windows slid open and the door really opened and you could put toys in it.

Here we are the next year in our next house. I loved this place. It's my favourite place I have ever lived. Our hair is in curlers in preparation for Christmas morning. That's why we have things on our heads. Mine is a hand me down nightcap. It is white,with small red stars. I still have it, and my kids occasionally wore it too.

My mom wanted a fireplace so badly, that one year she left this cardboard one up all year! It had an electric light behind the cardboard fire,with a metal wheel that sat on top of the bulb. The warmth from the light made the wheel spin,which was supposed to give the effect of flickering fire light. The light and wheel are the only parts of the fireplace left, and are in my attic somewhere,as is the spinning wheel planter on the mantel. My kids sang Christmas carols from that carol book my sister is holding. That's my bald baby picture on the wall.
  Ok! Christmas morning. I'm working on getting into my new doctor's kit, probably to eat the candy pills! Those were a really bad idea and aren't made these days. I got a metal ironing board,a metal wash tub,a metal and wooden wash board, (because I am THAT OLD!),wooden clothes pins,and an umbrella style clothes line. I have said this before, but my sister took it apart and stole the bits that held the line up to turn into finger cymbals. Say, why did I need the washboard and stuff when I got a washing machine the year before?

You will have recently seen this picture in my post on the Barbie Suzy Goose Regal Bed. (If not, you can see it HERE.) That's it there in the middle of the floor. That's Tearie Dearie by Ideal laying on the bed. Her pink cradle/bath tub is in the left foreground. And that's my  great Remco Tiger Cat jeep. I played that to death. I still have the doctor kit and the contents,(except for the candy pills!),the Regal bed, Tearie Dearie and her clothes pins and washboard,and the radiator from my jeep! You can't see them here, but I got clothes for Tearie Dearie too,a well as a little white haired doll and some clothes for her. 

 I'm holding the white haired doll. I think she was a cheap generic doll. Notice all the shipping boxes. I think Mom did most of her shopping by catalog. I know that's how we picked out what we wanted. In fact, before I could write I used to just cut out the pictures of what I wanted from the catalog and glue them to a piece of paper. As you can see, my sister got a red doctor kit just like mine. Later I used it as a case for my Sesame Street finger puppets. I don't think they're still in there though, because Emma used to play with them when she was little. The guitar next to my sister was something I think Mom really wanted for herself. She's the one who played it most. She always wanted to play guitar,so she bought one for my sister! She taught herself to play "Uncloudy Day", which she would play standing on the register,(heating vent), for the acoustics! When I was about 9 she kept asking me,"Wouldn't you like to have one of those little organs?" This was when the small electric 'chord organs' were popular. I kept hemming and hawing,until I realized she wanted it. Mom and Dad never got presents from anybody except me and my sister,and we bought those at the Five and Ten or made them. So I told her yes. We both played it until it wore out.    
White haired girl can be seen in Tearie Dearie's bed with her in the picture below.

  Emma played with the white haired doll for a while when she was little, but the doll had gotten brittle with age and her legs fell off! Side note: See that multiple corner on the wall by the telephone niche? One day I woke up from my nap to find that my sister was already home from school and was in the kitchen,(The room beyond the corners). I was so excited that I jumped off the couch,which was sort of the direction this photo was taken from,and went running for the kitchen, calling her name. Well you might notice that the rug stops just at the corner of this chair. After that there was wood floor,and then a section of linoleum that was printed with small bricks.The linoleum continued on into the kitchen. I did not take naps in my shoes,therefore I was only wearing socks. I think you can see where this is going. Once I ran out of carpet and hit the linoleum, my butt hit the floor and I slid on it straight into that multiple corner,which I hit with my head. The walls were plaster, but I swear those edges were steel enforced. I have an invisible dent in my forehead I can feel to this day,hat I'm sure is because of that corner. Second side note: That's the recliner I hid behind when Chris Jennings turned into a werewolf on "Dark Shadows".
  Here's a rarity. It's a picture of my mom and dad on Christmas.

That flowered couch actually has a cover on it. When a spot would wear out, my mom,who grew up during the depression, would snip a piece of fabric from the back of the cover,neatly patch that hole with a piece of plain green fabric,and use the piece she had cut out to patch the front!
  Below is another picture of my sister with me. It's another of Mom's posing ideas. We're supposed to be reading a Christmas book or singing carols or something.This may actually be after Christmas, when mom left the fireplace up all year. Notice my clown slippers. I think I only had one pair like that, but I had two or three pairs with duck heads on them, and one pair with white kitten heads. I don't know for sure about the duck heads, but I know for certain I still have the kitten heads off of those! I was always a sentimental pack rat, even as a kid. As proof of that fact,I'll tell you this story. During first grade I used an old lunch box of my sister's. On the last day of school, instead of me riding the bus home, Dad picked me up,which became a tradition. Part of the way home I realized I had left my lunch box behind. I insisted we go back to get it. Dad said not to worry about it,that he'd just buy me a new one for the next year. But,at seven years old, I was thinking, "But that was my first lunch box! I want to keep it!" When I just kept on Dad went back and we got it. These days I use that metal 'states of the U.S.A.' lunchbox to store family mementos, like my grandfather's pocket watch,one of my dad's dog tags, and my grandmother's locket.

My mom made the magazine rack to my right. She kept looking at the 'baby cradle book rack' in the catalog and wanted one really badly. Finally she decided to make herself one. She drew a template and cut out the pieces, sanded them, and put it together. This is before she stained it. It's dark brown now, and at the moment has records in it.
  Here were are on Christmas,1968. That's my Newborn Thumbelina In my hand. I saw her in the store and wanted her so much. You can see my post on her HERE. She was made by Ideal. She had a pullstring which activated movement that was supposed to look like she was squirming like a real baby.

  And that's the last of my childhood Christmas photographs.  Everybody have a good Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate. See you soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Toys of Christmas Past: Lori's Photos Part Five:Christmas 1972, and Some Other Toys Besides

  This is the last post on my friend Lori's old Christmas photos. Since it's the last one,and there are very few things in the Christmas photos, I thought I'd throw in some of Lori's birthday photos and random pictures containing toys.
  To start with, here is a photo of Lori with one of her all time favourite toys. It's Marx's Tony the Pony.

  Tony was a ride on toy that ran on one gigantic battery.

You can check out a video of a little girl riding a very noisy Tony the Pony HERE. Lori remembers her mother had to order a lot of replacement batteries for her Tony!
  Lori tells me she loved horses as long as she can remember. In fact, she told me that her first word was 'dog' and her second word was 'horse'. No word on when she said 'doll',but chances are it was much later. In spite of that,and probably greatly influenced by her own love of dolls, Lori's mom, Norma bought her loads of dolls. In the photo above you can see Lori also had the first Barbie Dreamhouse. (On the right.) 
  I guess the cowgirl outfit went with the love of horses. I had one too. Mine was a hand me down from a cousin, I think. I was always very into costumes and being other people. I loved being characters,so the cowgirl outfit was just my thing. Of course, I also had a trench coat and a real felt fedora. (I have no idea where the hat came from.)

  Lori apparently had two cowgirl outfits. And in this photo you can see that she also had a toy German shepherd.

But, as I said, Norma bought Lori dolls too. Here is Lori, dressed very out of character in a sort of hippy outfit,with her Crissy doll.

Crissy was a grow hair doll made by Ideal. There was a whole line of Crissy and family dolls. She had a couple of cousins,Cinnamon, (You can see my post on Cinnamon HERE.),and her sister Velvet,and friends like Mia. (You can see my post on Mia HERE.) I once found a whole wall full of shelves full of Crissy and friends dolls at BOTH Goodwill and Salvation Army. You can see a couple of posts about that weirdity HERE, and  HERE.

Crissy is wearing a fashion called Fun Fur Cape, and underneath it what appears to be an outfit called The Peace Poncho,which had a pale green knitted poncho,short sleeved top of green, chartreuse, or floral print,a peace sign necklace,and tan coloured bell bottom pants. Both outfits were sold with black shoes. The weird thing for me in doing these posts has been seeing grown up Lori's face on this little kid. I've known her since middle school, and she really does look exactly the same as she looks in this picture,only with gray hair now.
Lori had a very familiar chimp doll. This guy is Zippy,or one of the many Zippy lookalikes. You still see similar chimp dolls sometimes. I saw one as a prize at a fair just a few years ago.

  This is one of Lori's birthdays. It's 1968,and the doll is Tippee Toes,made by Mattel.

Tippee Toes came with a tricycle and a horse.

There's Lori's Tippee's tricycle.

You may remember from one of the previous posts in this series that Lori had Dancerina too. Well guess what: she also had Tumbling Tomboy.

That's Lori in the red and yellow shirt, and her mom Norma helping with the toys. Tumbling Tomboy's box is on the left. If you look on the far right you'll see 'Tumbling' herself,face down on the floor. I wouldn't mind having a Tumbling Tomboy. Looks like somebody else got the Fisher Price Schoolhouse.
 Also in the second Tippee photo above you can see Lori's Krazy Kar,and a horse, of course. The Krazy Kar,made by Marx, was round and was operated by cranking the handles on the big wheels. The wheels could be moved independently and the Kar could be made to go in circles,backwards, and forward. I found one at a yard sale years ago and Ivy LOVED it. She nabbed it right away. I suppose she was the only one of the kids small enough for it at the time anyway, but she did really love it and claimed it for herself. It's in our basement now, waiting for those grandkids I'm never going to have.
  In the picture below,it's Lori's birthday in 1969. She got a Super Spirograph. Spirograph is another of Ivy's favourites. I only had a Spirotot, and a Spirofoil,but Ivy has a load of Spirograph toys,including a Spirotot,several different vintage Spirograph sets, a Spirofoil, a Twirlograph and a Magic Designer,the latter two being early Spirograph type toys. She's 19 now, and still likes to Spirograph sometimes. She even took some Spiro pieces and her gel pens to college with her.

The Barbie fashion in the striped box seems to be Firelights.

If anybody knows what any of the other things are, please leave a comment.   Now we come to the Christmas pictures. This seems to be the Christmas of 1972.               

I can't quite make out what the box under the tree is,and there seems to be a styling head at the front right. But look at that row of horses front left. She used to get Breyer horses. I may have even bought her some way back when. She still has a bunch of Breyer horses.
Looks like Lori got a sleeping bag this Christmas,and maybe a pair of ice skates to the left of the sleeping bag?

  The center of the picture shows something called a Vertibird. Made by Mattel,Vertibird was a tethered electronic helicopter. (A 'vertibird' is a vertical take off and landing aircraft.) You can see a commercial for it HERE. On the right you can see a game called Manhunt. Manhunt was an electronic board game made by Milton Bradley. It's described on the box as 'the electric computer detective game'. You can see a video about how to play the game HERE
  The best thing under the tree, to me, is the game at the front left. It's open and you can see part of the game setting on the left, and the inner lid on the left. It's Seance by Milton Bradley.
  Seance looks so cool! I think I would have loved it, and I think doll people can appreciate it. The game didn't have a board. It had more of a setting,or scene. There were cardboard pieces to build a drawing room, with walls, a 'wooden' floor with ornate rug,a parrot cage on a stand,and a set of chairs. For the center of the room there was a large plastic desk with 'carved' legs. The players of the game vied to inherit the most valuable objects from 'Uncle Everett'. There were tiny stock certificates and jewelry and a painting of Aunt Zelda. The gimmick was that the desk contained a little record player! A two sided record played random messages from Uncle Everett, telling the players what they had inherited,or maybe that they had inherited nothing,when a switch on the side of the desk was activated. When all the objects were inherited the record was turned over and Uncle Everett would tell the players the value of their objects or how much they owed in taxes. Whoever ended up the farthest ahead was the winner.
  The game is considered a 'sequel' or companion game to Milton Bradley's earlier game, 'Voice of the Mummy', which featured a record player in the mummy's sarcophagus.
  You can see a video showing all the game components HERE.You can see and hear the game working HERE. And if you're really interested,you can read a post about the game HERE. It sounds like fun,but it's very expensive to buy these days!
  Well, that's it for Lori's photos. I may not be back until after Christmas, but when I do come back,it will be with a review if the newest doll from Maru and Friends. And don't forget to check back New Year's day for the first Doll-A-Day of a whole new year of a different doll every day!  

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Toys of Christmas Past: Lori's Photos Part Four: 1965 and 1966

  There are only two photos in this post,but there are still some interesting toys. We'll start with Christmas, 1965.

  In this photo four year old Lori is holding her Baby First Step doll. You can see my post on Baby First Step for a better look at one of the dolls, HERE. The gimmick for this Mattel doll was that she operated on batteries and actually walked. You can watch a video of the doll walking HERE. There were later versions of Baby First Step, including a talking version. Lori's is the first version though. You can see a commercial for the original version HERE.
   That's the only photo from let's move on to Christmas, 1966.

  On the left is the Budding Beauty Vanity and matching stool,by Marx. I remember seeing those in the Christmas catalog when I was a  kid.

You can see the commercial for the Budding Beauty vanity HERE.
  On Lori's right there's a Hasbro Talking Telephone. It's the red one, which was the Mickey Mouse Talking Telephone. You can see a commercial for the Mickey Mouse Talking Telephone HERE. There were several others,including Snow White, Jungle Book, and Mary Poppins. You can see the commercial for the line of Hasbro Talking Telephones HERE.  The phones ran on batteries and used records to make them talk. There were 8 two sided records included with each phone.
  The green cube also on Lori's right is a Suzy Homemaker washing machine. Suzy Homemaker was made by Topper. There was a whole line of Suzy Homemaker
 appliances,like stoves that really baked,washing machines that really washed clothes, and a blender that really blended. I had the Suzy Homemaker blender. You can watch a commercial for the Suzy Homemaker line HERE. You can watch a video of the washing machine at work HERE. Note that it was referred to as a washer and dryer,but the only thing it did to dry was spin the water out. That's what's known as the 'spin cycle' on a washing machine,and not a drier!
  The doll Lori is holding is also made by Topper.

She's Baby Magic.

Baby Magic had a gimmick. She had several actions,all of which were operated without actually touching the doll.

'She does all this without touching her.' But is she 'the greatest doll ever invented'? Come on. Isn't that a bit of a huge claim?
 To say she did it all without needing to be touched was a bit misleading. She didn't have to be touched, but the actions did require a magnetic thimble to be waved over her in certain ways.

For example,to make her cry you waved the magnet over her eyes in a horizontal direction. To make her eyes open and close the magnet was waved up and down in front of her eyes. You can see her wink HERE.
  There's one more post on Lori's Christmas photos. After that we'll see my review of the newest doll from Maru and Friends. And soon we'll be off on a new year of Doll-A-Day!

The Toys of Christmas Past: Lori's Photos Part Three: Christmas,1970

  Here we are again, looking at some  of my friend Lori's Christmas toys from the 60's and 70's. My family took very few pictures, and we have a scant few from Christmases. But I recently found that Lori's old photos were a treasure trove of toys past. I have updated the first of these posts with a couple more pictures if you want to go back and check that out.
  This time we're looking at 1970.
  Lori was born in 1961, so she was 9 the Christmas of 1970.

She doesn't look particularly thrilled to be having her picture taken.
  I'm not sure, but the doll next to her appears to be Baby Tender Love.

  Baby Tender Love was made by Mattel. You can see a commercial for her HERE.

Lori and her best friend at the time, also named Tammy.
  The cradle below isn't the one in the ad above, but the changing table seems to be the one in the photo lower down. Lori's mom loved dolls, and later in her life had a doll collection of her own. Lori wasn't interested though.

As you can see from the above photo,Lori got MORE Barbie and Ken clothes this Christmas. Those are the ones in the striped frames. I'm not sure who the other clothes are for. I can only say they don't appear to be Barbie or Maddie Mod. The Ken outfit with the red shirt and the plaid pants is Play it Cool. It also had a brown felt jacket, The Barbie fashion in the front is Scuba Dos,and included a hooded jacket, a bathing suit, flippers,a snorkle,and a face mask. The Trouble game at the left is one of the 'popamatic' games. There was a clear plastic bubble in the middle of the board that contained the dice. When the top of the bubble was pushed the dice jumped and 'rolled' themselves. It's kind of a good idea as well as being a fun gimmick. This way the dice can't get lost. My cousins detailed in  THIS POST had a ton of Popamatic games,and believe me, that was probably the only way those dice were still around to be played with, and not crammed up somebody's nose. Lori's Trouble is made by Kohner. Since then, Trouble has been made by Hasbro and Milton Bradley.
  The pink box under the tree is a cotton candy maker! Ooh! I want one of those! Emma bought herself one when she was a kid. I'm not sure what the thing to the right of it is, but the box in front of that appears to be a vanity set.
  On the right of the next picture there's a loom. Lori may have been more into that than the dolls. The big gift in that picture though, is the doll house. It's the Barbie Lively Livin' House,which seems to have later changed it's name to the Surprise House

There's that changing table.

It's one of the more rare Barbie houses.

The furniture looks different in the photo. And there's that Ken outfit bottom right.
  In the picture below you can see that cotton candy maker on the left,the whatever-that-is in the middle,and on the right you can see a Yarn Art kit. Went well with the loom. (It was 1970. Yarn was big.) But the item on the far right is ALL Lori.

It's the Barnabas Collins game! Barnabas was a character on the popular afternoon horror soap opera,(Yes.There really was such a thing.),"Dark Shadows".
  No. Not the movie with Johnny Depp. Dark Shadows, the TV show, ran from 1966 to 1971. It was VERY popular. Kids used to run home from school to watch it. I remember it came on just as my sister got off the school bus. Our dog got so used to her arrival coinciding with the theme music, that once my sister borrowed the Dark Shadows record from a friend and played it on a Saturday, and our dog went running to look for the bus! It may look pretty cheesy these days, but it scared child-me so much I had to hide behind the recliner when Chris Jennings,who was handcuffed to the radiator, turned into a werewolf.

The series was so popular that there were two Dark Shadows movies made too. I got to see those at the drive in. There was also a series of books,two different Dark Shadows games,and a TV series remake in the 1990's,as well as the more recent Tim Burton remake.  Since 2006 there has been a successful audio book series featuring members of the original cast.

The soundtrack is a classic, and the popular "Quentin's theme" was nominated for a Grammy. And believe it or not, Barnabas,played by Jonathan Frid, was quite a teen heart throb at the time.


 Dark Shadows is one of Lori's all time favourite TV shows. The game was pretty cool. It contained a  skeleton which was put together as part of the game. (And it glowed in the dark!) Also included was a set of Barnabas vampire fangs,and a coffin to contain the skeleton. You can watch a commercial for the game HERE.

  That's it for this time. We still have some of Lori's photos to look at. See you next time for those.