Remembering Holidays Past and B. Shackman & Co.

During my childhood and many years thereafter, my parents would make an annual trip to NYC in December for a psychiatric meeting. For several decades, they stayed at the Waldorf Astoria where the meeting was held. As a native New Yorker, my dad loved going back to NYC and combining the professional trip with pleasure. My parents would always see at least one Broadway play, went to museums and art galleries, and enjoyed eating at the Lexington Candy Shop, the original 2nd Avenue Deli, Carnegie Deli, and later Sarge’s Deli when they stayed in Murray Hill. One of my fondest memories is when plain cardboard boxes of candy would arrive from Russ & Daughters. Back in the 1960s, gourmet candy shops were scarce in Chicago. My dad would go to the store on the Lower East Side and order dark chocolate covered coffee beans, chocolate lentils, and chocolate-covered raspberry rings that were shipped to our house. I fondly recalled this in a 2014 blog. Although my dad was strict in many ways, this didn’t apply to candy – we ate as much as we wanted, which kept our childhood dentist busy! In addition to buying candy, my parents liked shopping at B. Shackman. If the meeting was in early December and Hanukkah occurred later in the month, they would bring home cool little gifts purchased there. In much the same way as Christmas stocking stuffers, we would receive these nifty little items after receiving our major gift the first night. I clearly remember receiving the animal erasers with googly eyes. B. Shackman sold an amazing array of novelty toys, miniatures for dollhouses, and reproductions of antique toys and paper ephemera. Interestingly, many of the reproductions they sold in the 1960s would now be considered vintage collectibles. Plenty of B. Shackman…

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Five Classic & Timeless Toys That Are Still Around Today… Seriously!

I have written in the past about toys from the 1960s-1970s that would not pass today’s more stringent safety standards. I have also written about how much I loved picking out toys from the Sears Wish Book every holiday season. This post is a tribute to simple toys that are still around today, despite the incredible technological innovations children have at their fingertips. Children these days are often computer literate to some degree before they are out of diapers! They are playing video games and Wii as little tykes and many have tablets with tons of apps. Yet these simple toys have endured for ages and appear to be just as beloved as they were back in the Stone Ages when I was a child! Candy Land Designed by Eleanor Abbott, Candy Land was acquired by Milton Bradley Company (now Hasbro) and first introduced in 1949. My personal love for this game came from the visuals – I loved the candy graphics that appeared on the Candy Land board and little cards, no doubt due to the sweet tooth that was nurtured by my dad. My nostalgia for this game is tied strictly to the visual elements, because the game itself was rather basic and simplistic. I don’t like the newer graphics which look tacky and ostentatious. I am not surprised that a VCR version and electronic version were released in 1986 and 1998, respectively. Licensed versions include Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer, Disney Princesses, and SpongeBob.

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Backyard Toy of Yesteryear Provokes a Torrent of Comments

Backyard Roller Coaster

A few days ago, I posted an ad of a backyard roller coaster on a Facebook page dedicated to advertisements from the 1960’s-1970’s. This ad and another photo were shared by a reader on my Toys from the 1960s-1970s blog. I know nostalgia strikes a chord with many people, but that blog has elicited far more comments and views than anything else I have ever written. Published in December 2013, the blog still generates a good deal of interest. What is even more amazing is that the Facebook post has evoked a torrent of comments, some of which I will share further on in this blog. Reader Robert Jaye shared information about this backyard roller coaster in June 2014: We had a backyard roller coaster set from Montgomery Ward. It was little more than a tubular slide set. The tubes slipped over one another and one climbed to the top of the slide, and sat on a cart with wheels that were molded to ride the tubes. You pushed a release and down you went, all of five or six feet at a gentle slide angle. You rolled on for another five feet before encountering two small bumps that slowed you down before you rolled off into the grass.

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