Toy nostalgia: they were better in the ’70s

Is it just me, or were toys way more cool when we were kids?

Take, for example, this Fisher-Price dollhouse, circa 1975.  It belonged to my sister and me, and my parents have saved it for lo, these many years.

Yes, that is a doorbell to the left of the front door, and yes, it really does ring.  Even thirty-plus  years later, it still works.  (Fisher-Price built good stuff.)

Taking a look inside:

See that?  That’s a master bedroom with a sewing machine.  That’s a kitchen with a faux hearth and a spice rack on the wall.  That’s some seriously awesome interior design right there.

Oh, and let’s not forget the family:

As every parent knows, Fisher-Price figurines don’t look like this anymore.  They are now squat and chunky and blandly smiling and they all (even the policemen and firefighters) look like they are about five years old.    They are much harder for kids to swallow than the cylindrical folk of old, that’s true, but to my mind they lack a certain something … let’s call it human interest.  If you take a look at the family members above, wouldn’t you agree that they each have a certain subtle personality?   That  mom obviously has a great sense of humor (along with eyelashes to die for).  The dad is more serious, possibly a function of anxiety  about his receding hairline.  At the same time, he looks kind of like the cat who swallowed  the canary, which I guess makes sense when you look at his wife.  The daughter appears to be winking, which is saucy and fun. (Then again, it could be that the paint of her left eye has rubbed off over the years.  I honestly can’t remember.)   The son, oddly, seems to have prematurely inherited his father’s hairline.  Even more oddly, he seems not to care.  See what I mean?  Human interest.

And I won’t even get started on the furnishings that didn’t make it into the picture above, like the toilet that has a seat that is perfectly sized for the family’s cylindrical derrieres, or the moveable staircase that has a compartment under the stairs where a small plastic child can hide.   You could do so much with this house and this family and these toys.  And when we go visit my parents, the boys love dragging this house out of the closet and setting it up.  I have to admit that I like playing with it, too.

They just don’t make them like they used to.

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