Toy of the Year 2015

Toy of the Year 2015

Toy of the Year?

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I gave an airing to our box of Ugly Toys and Baddies because a Dinosaur toy won the overall Toy of the Year award at this year’s Toy Fair in New York. This toy rolls along by remote control on balls under its front legs. It has a friendly look. Dinosaurs are, once again, the “in” toy, thanks to the recently made film “Jurassic World”, the sequel to “Jurassic Park”. Besides some other technologically based dinos, herds of the plastic creatures that you will see in the film shall flood the market. They are designated collectibles.  https://www.yahoo.com/tech/the-7-coolest-toys-of-toy-fair-2015-the-111515103729.html

From 2000 to 2010 I made monster toys available for play when we had Family Events. Very few children chose to play with them.

These are from our collection of “Ugly Toys” and what I call “The Baddies”. (Except for the picture from e-bay all of the Dinos that you see in this episode are in our collection).

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A herd of Dinosaur Toys from the 1980s

A herd of Dinosaur Toys from the 1980s

            Dino Toys of the 50s and 60s.

Dinosaur toy figures go back to the 50s and 60s. You can see how they looked here http://www.ebay.com/itm/1950s-1960s-Vintage-Marx-MPC-Sinclair-Nabisco-Prehistoric-Dinosaurs-Play-Set-/221301990837?&_trksid=p2056016.l4276

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Cereal manufacturers copied them as premium toys to be found in their boxed breakfast foods. We learned paleontology at the breakfast table. Kellogg’s, in children’s minds, was connected with the collecting of small plastic dinosaurs each of which had its name engraved under its legs.

          The Other Kellogg and his Dinos

There was another Kellogg connected to dinos, one that few children would have heard of, Dr. Remington Kellogg. No discussion of vertebrate paleontology in the 1960s would be complete without acknowledging his contributions to that science. In 1962 he retired as Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Many years later the Smithsonian produced its own dinosaur figures. With a stretch of the imagination we may link breakfast cereal with a famous museum.

The 1980s. The Years of the Monsters

Monsters invaded toy shops in the 1980s. http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/the-14-ultimate-toy-lines-of-the-80s-for-boys#.ermXgmjok  is a nicely put account of those horrible  toys of the 1980s

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Somehow they look less menacing in the pictures than in real life.

            Successful Toy Marketing Using Knowledge of Myths

Some of us can see the elements of those myths and fantasies, which have always been in the rudiments of play and storytelling, in the monster figures. It was the success of the Cabbage Patch dolls and other miserably faced dolls, so ugly that they were cute(!), which gave impetus to the marketing of the “monster” toys. We are still seeing the effect of the wide research and successful marketing of that era.

A True Story of a Young Psychologist’s Triumph using Dinos

My personal connection with dino toys began with Patrick, a ten year old who never did well in school tests. I had a project in the school in Marylebone, London, which he attended. On Fridays all the classes in the school had written spelling tests. One day it was my job to give the spelling test to his class. I knew he had a large collection of those dinos from cereal boxes and knew all their names so the words I gave were the names of the dinosaurs. Few of the other children in the class spelled “dinosaur” correctly. Not one of them could spell the names of the dinosaurs though they all ate cereals for breakfast. It was a marvelous experience for Patrick to achieve the best mark in a school test. Yes, it did affect his future school career for the good.

How I came close to a Bolt of Lightning. Another True Story

Whilst I was at that school a thunderbolt came through an open window near where I was sitting during a storm. A near-death escape. Other windows were smashed as well as a stained glass window in the church next do

Just so that you may know how to talk about dinosaurs a group of herbivorous dinosaurs are called  a herd and a group of predators a pack. The naming of animals is according to whether humans were hunting them, being hunted by them, or just watching.

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I made this collection of words from descriptions of Dinosaur and of Monster figures that were either on the toy boxes or in reviews.

cute/ugly              crude           dark and deadly

myths            mystical images           symbols of evil

grotesque                                    ugly                                                gross

horror inducing                             putrid playthings

morbid                               mutants                                  monstrous

gruesome creatures           cruel events             repugnant

deformed

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