Toys & Games

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Avalanche

This early Atari title wasn’t exactly the black-and-white equivalent of a Swiss Alps nightmare, but it was the closest a video game could come in 1978. At the top of the screen were several rows of...

Barbie

In a 1950s West German tabloid comic strip, there lived a buxom blonde character named 'Lili'. She was very popular in two dimensions, so it figured that three dimensions - especially given those hip/waist/chest measurements -...

Barney

Barney & Friends was an inane PBS children's television show about a stuffed purple dinosaur who grows and comes to life. The series quickly developed a devoted following among pre-schoolers, who of course petitioned their parents for...

Barrel of Monkeys

Lakeside Toys first introduced Barrel of Monkeys in 1966. It only took seconds to learn, but the challenge could keep players hooked for hours. Inside that plastic barrel were twelve little plastic monkeys, their little arms...

Battleship

"B-11". "nah!" "A-3" "D'oh . . . You sunk my battleship!". In this "classic naval combat game" the open seas were cluttered with ships of war, five on each side. But unlike real war, these nautical stood...

Battling Tops

Battling Tops was as close to watching gladiatorial combat as most kids got (except those kids whose dads took them to illegal cockfights!). Once you sent that top into the arena of battle, all you could...

Bayko

Bayko was the invention of British engineer Charles Plimpton who patented it in 1933. Originally called 'Bayko Light Construction Sets', the name 'Bayko Light' was taken from Bakelite, a sturdy early synthetic plastic developed by Leo...

Bazaar

One of the most frustrating things about almost every pinball game is the gap between the two flippers. No matter how good players are, they will always run into a frustrating situation where all they...

Beanie Babies

Referred to by collectors as the "Original Nine," the first line of Beanie Babies debuted in Chicago in 1994. The arrival of the bead-filled plush toys signalled the start of one of the greatest and longest-running...

Betta Bilda

Already blessed with injection moulding skills, Airfix decided to take the plunge into the building construction kit market with Betta Bilda in 1961. No doubt influenced by the success of Lego, the company doubtlessly believed...

Big Jim

Big Jim was a poor cousin of GI Joe, so kids could still afford him on a newspaper delivery boy's salary. The 9.1/2 inch Jim had a button in his back that, when you pressed it, made his...

Big Trak (bigtrak)

Big Trak (styled 'bigtrak' in the UK) was the brainchild of an electronically minded Milton Bradley Company (who released Simon and Microvision during the same period) and looked like a toy version of the futuristic...

Big Wheel

There was nothing more glorious than getting a brand new Big Wheel. And nothing as inglorious as our mothers' mandates that we not ride in the street with the neighbourhood kids - that we were confined...

Billy Blastoff

He may not have looked as space-ready as Major Matt Mason, but don't let Billy Blastoff's cherubic little face fool you. This kid packed the skills and the power for some serious interstellar action. With a...

Bionic Woman

The Bionic Woman was a spin-off of another bionic-themed prime time hit, The Six Million Dollar Man. In the dramatic opening credits of the show, Jaime Sommers paraded her newly acquired bionics while sporting a track...

Blow Football

Blow Football was extremely simple. Each player had a straw and used it to blow the lightweight ball into the other person's goal. It required little skill except dodging your opponents spittle. A patent for Blow Football...

BMX

The BMX Burner from Raleigh (pictured below) was the action bike of 1982 in the UK. It was capable of stunt tricks and riders were encouraged to wear protective clothes and head gear.

Boggle

The world has its share of word games, but perhaps none as hyperactive as Boggle, which was first released in 1973. Sixteen letters, three minutes, two or more frantically scribbling players - for more than 40...

Bonanza Action Figures

Life was good at the Ponderosa Ranch in the mid-60's. Bonanza was the most-watched program in the USA, the Nevada mountains were still pristine and beautiful, and Little Joe was still a handsome little heartbreaker. And somewhere...

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12-Inch Remixes

In the 1980s, if you liked a song you went out and bought the single on 7-inch vinyl. If you loved it you went out and bought the 12-inch version instead. This was an exciting innovation in popular...

16 Magazine

Founded in late 1958 by George Winters, 16 magazine set the standard for all teen magazines. many imitators popped up over the years, and 16 withstood some pretty stiff competition but always remained true to its beginnings. 16 was never the...

2-XL

The 2-XL was a "robot with a personality" manufactured and released by Mego Corp. in 1978. This small 'talking' robot came complete with an 8-track cartridge and a voice that sounded like Lou Costello. On the box,...

3-D Movies

Stereoscopic films had been around since the 1920s, but the 1950s was unquestionably the golden age of 3-D, with excited teenagers flocking to the cinema to see such classic fare as The House Of Wax (1953),...

60s Speak

THE BAWL GAME Baby-sitting. Self explanatory really. BOSS We know who the boss is.... Bruce Springsteen, of course. And as a verb, it means to order someone around - But in the early 60s "boss" was an adjective....