Toys and Games of the 1960s

The 1960’s saw revolution in the developed world’s societies. Political, cultural and fashion revolutions were all taking place and everything was changing at great pace. Countries were buzzing with change and there was great excitement and color. The stage was perfectly set for big developments to occur in the toy industry. It is true there were huge changes in the toys that people were purchasing but it was more of an evolution than a revolution. The pace of change that had been started in the 1950s was now being built upon.

The Etch a Sketch with an appropriate picture of the 1960s

At the start of the decade in 1960 the Etch a Sketch was introduced, and it went on to sell 600,000 units that year. It had a flat grey screen with a red frame. At the bottom were two large white nobs. If you turned the left knob it drew horizontally and if the right one was turned the line went vertically. Using this simple device children could draw sketches and when they were finished all they had to do was turn it upside down and shake. The image would disappear and then the child could start a new sketch. This creative toy is still sold today.

The Easy Bake Oven was introduced by Kenner in 1963. It started by selling 500,000 in the first year of production and 1997 16 million had been sold world-wide. The oven came with its own packets of cake mix and small pans. It gave the opportunity for children to produce their own creations. Over the years Hasbro has taken over from Kenner and the oven has been modified with time.

In 1964 the Marx Toy Company introduced the “Rock em Sock em Robots”. The two mechanically controlled robots would fight each other in a ring to see who could knock the other robot’s head off first. The game was introduced in the UK as “Raving Bonkers”. In the mid-1960s there was a craze for slot cars. Although Scalextric had started in 1957 their popularity did not really rise until the 1960s. The cars run as there is an electrical current that runs through the central groove on the track.

Mettoy slot cars became popular in the 1960s

The cars are attached to the groove by a round guide pin and the electricity is attracted to the car by “pick up shoes” which are attached to the chassis. The voltage and the speed of the car is controlled by a resistor in the hand set. This new concept of being able to race opponents by using electricity was irresistible for the youngsters and all types of car racing models and sets became popular. It was not only Scalextric that were popular as Mettoy and Arora Plastics Corp also produced racing cars.

Batman also had a huge influence on toys in the 1960s. The success that he had enjoyed going from comic books to television, and then in 1966 to Batman The Movie, had a huge influence on the rising popularity of his toy sales. Models of Batman and Robin were great sellers as were the batman capes, the bat mobile and the Batman walkie-talkie. The 1960s was a great time for the toy industry as new toys were being related to what was being seen on the television. Advancements in technology saw more creative toys being created and now electricity was being used for the pleasure of the children.

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