Christmas Toys

Dec 30, 2013 | 1 comment

Gumby and Pokey

Gumby and Pokey

I can hardly remember a Christmas when I haven’t received a toy of some kind.  I’m talking real toys here, not adult toys like cars or boats or whatever the equivalent for a grown woman might be.  And, I’m talking tiny toys – the sort that can easily fit in a Christmas stocking.  This year I received the 50th Anniversary Edition of Gumby and Pokey, securely contained in their rigid plastic ‘clamshell’ packaging.

They will soon be put away with the rest of the Christmas toys and it is doubtful that they will be released from their ultra-secure wrapping until next year.  Then, they’ll join the other tiny individuals who stand guard near the wind-up toys, eager to be played with by visiting children or nostalgic adults.

On the back of the package are some Gumby facts that I find interesting, Gumby made his TV debut on The Howdy Doody Show in 1956, the year my son, Charlie, was born.  The first bendable Gumby was in 1964 and Gumby sales broke all records two years later.  I can’t help but wonder if Charlie had one of the original Gumbies… definitely collectors’ items today.

Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill

Gumby and Pokey will join our old friend Mr. Bill with his wide-open mouth and arms spread in alarm.  I can just hear him saying “Ohhhh Noooooooo!  Not Mr. Hand!” though that particular villain is nowhere to be seen.   I consider Mr. Bill a legitimate toy for adults since he first appeared on Saturday Night Live.  He is especially close to my heart because he made his debut on my fortieth birthday, February 28, 1976!

The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter

Also on the big coffee table of miniature Christmas toys is the Mad Hatter.  He is wearing a gray top hat labeled “In this Style 10/6” (ten shillings, sixpence). Though he is reminiscent of similar Disneykin figures (remember them?), he is a bit larger and not dressed in quite the same combination of colors.  Disneykins, too, are very collectible nowadays – especially those first 34 released in 1961.  Charlie had dozens of them when he was little… I wonder if he has kept them or, if not, what became of them.

Curious George

Curious George

And then, looming over them all is Curious George.  His arms and legs are articulated and he can be manipulated by pushing on the bottom of his stand.  Although the Curious George books have been around since I was five, I don’t think I ever knew him until Charlie came around and, of course, it was Santa Charlie who saw to it that this lively replica was tucked into my Christmas stocking one year.

Like the dolls of my own childhood –Raggedy Ann and Andy, my Shirley Temple doll, and Betsy Wetsy – I’m sure all these miniature fellows come to life each night while we are sleeping.  How else can we explain those sly smiles or the ever-so-slight changes in position?  Surely Mrs. Crouch isn’t playing with them or with the wind-up toys…

1 Comment

  1. Nancy

    A Monday morning treat to read about the Christmas toys…set me to wondering about my daughters’ Barbies and Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls and, and, and…my own favorite dolly “Biggie” who Santa brought when I was about 5! Yikes, Sydney, are we living in the past, in the present or in our dottage? Life is more than good, it is great. About Mrs. Crouch: Not to be too certain about what she does in her alone times……if ever there is a time when she is all alone. She may hang out with the toys, protected with tissue and plastic…Imagination….

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