There are hundreds of toys out there to thrill kids these days, from interactive and fun outdoor toys and themed games to intricate and elaborate gimmicks complete with flashing lights and laser beams. Back in the day though, there were some toys that really, really shouldn’t have made it. Their commercials alone are enough to make you think the makers must have been conned into a dare, or at the very least induced a bucket-load hallucinogenic substances.
1. Milky the Marvelous Milking Cow
The name pretty much says it all, although this 1970’s toy is most certainly not marvelous, it’s just weird. Milky comes complete with her own trough, cow bell, green tarp and removable rubber udder. When you pump her tail she dips her head to drink water, when full, she moos and you can go to work on her teets to extract a ‘pretend milk’ substance. Over and over again! That’s it. Milky doesn’t do anything else. I’m sure most kids would have gotten bored after the first run and tried to feed Milky a whole range of liquids to see what colour her ‘milk’ would turn. It gets me wondering why the makers didn’t invent a whole range of farm animal toys – think how popular ‘Sally the scrumptious Turkey’ could have been in toy stores, complete with mini butchers block and removable head!
2. Ball Buster
Bust your dad’s balls as you play this wonderful family game! Yes, really. This ‘strategy’ based game involved a bunch of balls on bendable sticks that stood upright on a game mat. You’d move your ball around the table, sort of like Checkers, and keep it away from all the other balls that are waiting to bust it by being flicked against yours. This toy’s peak popularity period has become the only acceptable time in history where it’s okay for a seven year old to scream ‘stop busting my balls!’ to his family around the dinner table. The commercial hints at fun family quality time but ultimately, the hysterical monotone and innuendo, complete with a winking wife right at the end, are the reason why this toy looks like such fun.
3. Swing Wing
This 1965 toy did nothing but make kids look like they were having epileptic fits whenever they used it. The Swing Wing is basically a hula hoop cap-like thing worn on the head that twirls when the neck and body are moved in a circular motion. You actually have to see this one to fully understand – it doesn’t look like fun at all! I have no idea why a monkey or elephant are in the commercial, or why parents would allow their children outside to Swing Wing in the first place. Scandalously, it’s been suggested that the toy was recalled due to causing neck injuries on children as they jerked back and forth manically to make it swing. Thank goodness there are cooler and less dangerous outdoor toys available these days.