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Posted on Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 6:30 a.m.

Unwrapping memories: What toy do you miss from your childhood?

By Kyle Mattson

You dreamily stared at the television commercials describing every detail, wrote eager letters to Santa, then begged your parents to the edge of insanity.


Tinker Toys were invented in 1914 and continue to be sold today by toymaker Hasbro | Photo By: Nina Hale

Finally, after all that waiting, the moment arrived and you tore into that carefully wrapped box, revealing the toy of your dreams.

Whether it was a Furby or Spirograph, every generation had that must-have toy. While many have been long forgotten and are merely memories, others have continued to reside on the shelves of stores around the world.

In 1998 the National Toy Hall of Fame was established in Rochester, NY, to recognize the toys which have become icons in American culture. Each year a select few toys are added to the collection through a nomination process, with dominoes and "Star Wars" action figures making the cut in 2012 (See a list of all inductees to date).

As children count down the hours until the night the man in the red suit will arrive, we're wondering: What toy(s) are in your personal hall of fame?

Here is a list of some favorites from us here at complete with links to vintage commercials for each:

Bob Needham: Legos

Kyle Feldscher: Tyco Remote Control Car

Cole Bertsos: Doodle Bear

Kyle Mattson: Super Soaker

Peter Cunningham: Nerf Guns



Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Slot Car sets Matchbox and Hot Wheels Model Cars


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

I also remember getting the game Operation for Christmas one year. That was a huge game at the time.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Mid 70's "Smash Up Derby" Evil Kneival stunt cycle: And then I got a shotgun for Christmas when I was 13, that was the worst present ever


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

we used to live by some forest preserves back when I was a kid ... folks would still walk the trails in the winter so the snow would pack and get icy... which meant it was time to get the red ryder sled out, call my buddies and hit the trails. Great times ... still have my sled today (up on the basement wall for decor :)


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 6:07 a.m.

Easy Bake Oven? Anyone?


Wed, Dec 26, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Easy Bake oven!! YES!!!


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

I also miss the Toys R Us commercial from the 70's.


Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Oh how I miss my train set and racing car set. That's what I lived for on Christmas morning.

Tom Teague

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

Mr Machine by Ideal. There is a You Tube commercial for it that dates from around 1960. "Here he comes. Here he comes. The Greatest toy you've ever seen. And his name is Mr. Machine."

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Rare Ideal Mr. Machine TV commercial

Tom Teague

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Meant to add this: My father worked shift work in Oak Ridge, TN in 1960, so my brother and I were forbidden from having noisy toys that might wake him. Someone confiscated Mr. Machine's bell. I still have MM and the box he came in but, despite a very intensive search of the house's attic, I have never found his bell.

Harry Potter

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

What the heck is a Furby or a Spirograph. When I was a kid we played with mercury. Kids these days won't learn anything from these ridiculous toys.

Jim H

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

Lionel train set and HO slot cars.

Jim Pryce

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

I liked a game called Battling Tops. I also had something called "Sammy Slugger" who was a spring loaded baseball player who would hit ping pong balls.

Homeland Conspiracy

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Battling Tops Ruled!!!


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Raggedy Ann/Andy dolls!

Dog Guy

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

In 1952 Santa brought me a Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab: best Christmas present EVER!


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

GI joe's command center, helicopter, Jeep, space capsule etc...( the 12" guys not the tiny ones )


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Even though it was prodigiously dangerous, I loved my Light Bright!


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Electro shot shooting gallery, mousetrap game, slot cars, shrinky dinks.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

wooden train (Skaneateles)... had to go to bed early so brother & i would rise at 4-5:00 a.m. to play with the train day after day after day

Urban Sombrero

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Sea Wees. They were little mermaid dolls (Mommy and baby) that came with a lily pad sponge. They were my favorite bath toy when I was little.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

My Shirley Temple Doll and Barbies Dream presents of my childhood.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Evil Knievil motorcycle that had a windup stand to get it started. I used to shoot it off the stairs for hours.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Too bad the gears stripped out so fast ( at least mine did )


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

I miss those Little Kiddles dolls. I also had a couple of Martian dolls called Cosmic Kiddles. They each had their own flying saucer.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

A Erector set. In the early 60's I was in grade school. This set was delude. It had a motor and everything was steel. I spend years building all sorts of things, from working cranes to carnival rides.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

In 1951 I just wanted my own radio. I got it and it was the best Christmas ever. I had that radio for many years until it just quit.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Creepy Crawlers is the best-known name associated with an activity toy made by Mattel beginning in 1964. Creepy Crawlers toy consists of a series of die-cast metal molds resembling various bug-like creatures, into which is poured a liquid chemical substance called Plastigoop, which comes in assorted colors. The mold is then heated to about 390 degrees F atop an open-face electric hot plate oven. The Plastigoop is cured by the heat, and when cooled, is removed from the mold, forming semi-solid, rubbery replicas Creeple Peeple (1965) — This five-mold set formed strange heads, arms and feet. When assembled onto a pencil, they formed weird, Troll-like creatures.

laura wolf

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

in the same vein there were incredible edibles. they were suposed to be eaten but were pretty inedible.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

You could tell the kids that had Creepy Crawlers by all the burns on their hands & arms. LUV the TV ad thanx

Kyle Mattson

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Interesting Homeland, I didn't realize that Creepy Crawlers went that far back. I would have loved to be in the Mattel boardroom when someone pitched that they make a toy by cutting a step out of the manufacturing process and just have the kids make the toy themselves. This should bring back memories for you:


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

lionel trains,erector sets, lincoln logs,daniel boone cap,howdy doody doll, bb gun. whamo slingshot.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

Nice list, please add Tinkertoys, they came in a capped tube and I enjoyed those to no end. They were made of wood. I should find a set on eBay.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.

murph....did you cut your fingers on the erector set ?


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

I Still have my Lionel train, good times!

Kyle Mattson

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Arboral- I think Murph's list shows how some toys are pretty timeless. In my 80's/90's childhood the trains, erector sets, lincoln logs were all still going strong I recall even having the Daniel Boone cap too.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Wow, what a great list. I remember all of these. I think these were the very best from about 1950 to 1955. Right?

Paula Gardner

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

When I was about 6, I desperately didn't want another baby doll - and I thought Dancerina was the coolest doll ever. Pink outfit, ballet moves, the 'real' ballet shoes. It's the only thing I wanted that Christmas, and I remember the thrill when I got it.Couldn't find a Youtube commercial, but here's one that's for sale: that features a decent demo.

Steven Murphy

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

I couldn't get the link to work.

Paula Gardner

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Not really. And you couldn't have caught me in pink!


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Paula.....Lemme were a daddy's little girl weren't you ?


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Around 1959-1960 my brother & I got the Mattel Shootin Shell pistols and rifle that would "shoot" and spring loaded shell a short distance. They were great and very those days.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

I had various ones of those as well. With the "greenie stick-um" caps.

Duane Collicott

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Just to be annoying, I will point out that it's "LEGO," not "Lego," because it is an acronym of the Danish phrase, "leg godt," which translates to "play well." To be even more annoying, I will also point out that the plural of "LEGO" is "LEGO."


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

I remember having a Detroit news and free press paper route over 6 years. I would get extra tips every Xmas and though it wasn't a toy I took great pleasure in spending all my money on Xmas gifts for my parents and siblings. We didn't have much of anything so to be able to do this meant so much to me.

Kyle Mattson

Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Thanks for sharing Susan.


Sun, Dec 23, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

1949...a wind-up train set. The best Christmas present I ever got. 63 yrs later I remember the joy. We didn't know we were poor back then. We felt rich with a dd and mom who worked hard and loved us very much. Better though was what my father and his siblings got on Christmas...growing up poor in the U.P., and their father blind....on Christmas they got an orange and a clothespin doll designed by their mom to be a soldier or a nurse or a teacher or any number of different "occupations". And they cherished them.