Take a look at these three toys that took the late 60’s and early 70’s by storm. Where you lucky enough to have one for Christmas?
Invented in France in the 1950’s by Arthur Granjean and originally named ‘L’Ecran Magique’ (the magic screen) it was spotted at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg by the Ohio Art Company who decided they wanted to take it to the US.
Ohio Art had the idea to put the magic screen inside a red plastic frame and the Etch-A-Sketch was born.
The idea was to try and draw a picture by twiddling two knobs on the front of a television-like screen. Once you had drawn your picture you could turn your Etch-A-Sketch upside down, give it a shake and the picture would disappear, ready for you to draw another.
It was easier said than done, as drawing curved lines was extremely tricky, so most people’s creations tended to look somewhat abstract.
Ohio Art ran a highly successful marketing campaign and sales sky-rocketed.
In the 1970’s pink and blue frames were issued but the best-selling version was the classic red.
Klackers, also known as Clackers or Klick-Klacks, came to the British market in the late 60’s and lasted into the early 70’s.
They were very simply a string with two acrylic balls on the end held together with a ring or small handle in the middle. The game was to get the two balls click and clack against each other by swinging them and building up momentum, so they hit top and bottom in an arc, making a really annoying noise as they did so!
Kids loved them but they were banned from schools as they had a tendency to shatter and some children couldn’t resist the urge to use them as a weapon – they were very similar to the South American hunting device called bolas after all!
Following a series of Klacker accidents they were finally withdrawn from sale. Although a safer lightweight version was produced in the 80’s with plastic rods it never really took off.
Barrel of Monkeys
Barrel of Monkeys was first introduced in 1966 by Lakeside Toys.
Simple to learn but challenging enough to keep players hooked for hours, Barrel of Monkeys was and remains extremely popular.
Consisting of a plastic barrel with 12 little plastic monkeys with arms and hands that can easily hook onto each other, the object of the game was to connect all of the monkeys by looping their arms into one long chain. If you dropped a monkey, then you lost your turn.
Made by Milton Bradley and sold by Hasbro today, Barrel of Monkeys can still be found at most toy retailers.
Did you play with any of these toys when you were a child?