In 1987 Fisher Price released the PXL2000 toy, ultra low tech, video camera that recorded monochromatic, low quality, video on audio cassettes. A commercial flop at the time, its now highly prized by film makers and artists for the uniquely grainy, antique, mysterious look it creates on film.
Since those involved in the Rudolph TV special had no idea of the future value of the stop motion puppet figures, many were not preserved. In 2005, the remaining two puppets of Rudolph and Santa appeared on Antiques Roadshow, damaged from years of rough handling by children and attic storage. On the show, their appraised value was between $8,000 and $10,000. Sadly, the other puppets in the hot attic “melted.” These are the only remaining puppets left.
The figures have been shown at conventions since then, after being restored in 2006. They were successfully sold at auction on November 13 of 2020, netting a $368,000 sale price, doubling the expected return.
Play-Doh before it was known as Play-Doh, was actually used as cleaner for walls and wallpaper when coal was used to heat homes. After WWII coal was phased out by natural gas to heat homes. Near bankruptcy, the company pivoted to become one of the most successful toy companies in the world.
In 2015 “Hello Barbie” was released. She used speech recognition and connected to wifi. When you pressed her belt buckle, Barbie saved what you said to the cloud so she could learn your likes and dislikes and incorporate them into future conversations. Some parents found it “too creepy”.
The craze for collecting toy soldiers began with the French in the 18th century. When Napoleon Bonaparte planned his military campaigns, he used models made by Lucotte, a toy soldier maker, to show the positions of his armies. One day he handed a few of the figures over to his son to play with.
Toddlers play more creatively when they have fewer toys at their disposal.
The Slinky was invented by accident, when a Mechanical Engineer was working to devise springs that could keep sensitive ship equipment steady at sea. After accidentally knocking some samples off a shelf, he watched in amazement as they gracefully “walked” down instead of falling.
The U.S. has 3.1% of the world’s children, but consumes 40% of the world’s toys.
In the 1960s, Wham-O made a “giant” Super Ball, roughly the size of a bowling ball, and dropped it from a 23rd story window as a promotional stunt. It destroyed a parked car on the second bounce.