The Most Popular Toys in the 1960s - Cool History Facts

The Most Popular Toys in the 1960s


The 1960s was a golden era especially for toys. Children had countless toys to choose from, and parents were willing to spend money on toys compared to other decades. This totaled with big families led to an influx of cash streaming into the toy industry. Anybody invested in the toy industry at that era was reaping the big bucks.

Many toys introduced in the 1960’s have stuck around for many years. This is proven by looking at a toys’ catalogue from the 1960’s and it’s pretty similar to a catalogue from the 1970’s and some of them are still around to date.  One can still pretty much find toys like GI Joe, Operation and Twister in today’s toy stores. An electric toy meant it was new and hip. Toy manufacturers were taking advantage of this and making toys electric in any way possible. Boys loved to play war, and girls loved to play house. All these toys were made electronic to suit their needs.

Licensing was the biggest and unmistakable difference between toys that cropped up in the 1960’s and the toys that came before that. After batman’s huge success in1966, batman themed toys were flying off the shelves by the throes. Toy makers evidentially took advantage of this, I mean, which business minded person wouldn’t? And with that came batman themed anything and still people bought them.

This showed toy companies, that if they can’t find the right license, they can practically mint money.  In modern day, it is expected that a toy will be themed after something in the movies, or on TV or from some type of media but that trend really grew in the 1960’s and might not make it big in this day and age.

1964 was the year that plastic, monster figurines made it to the toy shelves. They were grotesque, fantastic, sinister, and apparently a great hit. They included old stand-by like Frankenstein’s monsters, and Dracula. There was also a crop up of characters called “weird-ohs and “rat and bat finks”, these characters were also used in games, jigsaw puzzles, and even in liquid soap dispensers. As one would have guessed, this trend came with a lot of complaints from parents who were not too comfortable with the monsters as toys for their children.  Due to these complaints, dolls returned to the more conventional and acceptable characters. This saw the rise of the high fashioned doll-Barbie, who was supplanted by Skipper, Barbie’s little sister as her popularity grew. Electrically powered race cars also cut into the popularity of the electrical trains.

1965 saw the popularity of skateboards continue to rise, nearing almost $100 million in sales. This however became a menace because of skateboard related injuries that saw the California Medical Association call the skateboards a “medical menace” which further led to some towns passing ordinances against their usage.

Slot cars also became popular, with many slot car centers opening up. The centers provided tracks on which the plastic cars could be raced and enthusiasts competing for prizes.  The GI Joe was a growing popularity that even caught up with the boys since raggedy Andy and proved to be a new niche for toy manufacturers to explore.

Batman and secret agents invaded the toy field in 1966 as the skateboard craze was levelling out. The batman merchandize came in all sorts of shapes from; art toys, games, costumes, wheel toys, model kits and walkie talkies. Battery operated automobiles that ran on tracks and tubing’s were a popular addition to this era of spy toys and undercover agents.

The realism in dill trends continued with manufacturers producing dolls whose facial expressions could change by moving an arm or a leg.

Some of the toys that made it big in the 60’s were:

1. Molded Plastic Playsets like army Men, Cowboys and Indians
2. Die-Cast Model Cars, Trucks and other vehicles
3. Barbie and skipper
4. Hamilton’s Invaders
5. Baby Dolls
6. Electric Ovens
7. G.I. Joe
8. Pinball Machines
9. Liddle Kiddle Toys
10. Batman Toys and merchandize
11. Talking Toys and Pull-String Toys
12. Stuffed Animals
13. Disney Toys (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck)
14. Warner Brothers Toys (Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Yosemite Sam)
15. Troll Dolls
16. Dennis the Menace Toys
17. Popeye Toys
18. Bozo the Clown Toys
19. Flintstones Toys
20. Electric Trains (Lionel)
21. Rag Dolls (Raggedy Ann & Andy)
22. Peanuts Toys (Snoopy & Charlie Brown)
23. Electric Race Cars
24. Miniature Doll Houses
25. Wind-Up & Friction Powered Cars & Trucks
26. War Toys like Guns, Sword, Cannons and Tanks
27. LEGO Bricks & Playsets
28. Jack-in-the-Box
29. Johnny Speed Race Car
30. Image Projectors
31. Rocking Horses
32. Petal People
33. Hippity Hop Inflatable Ride-A-Ball

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