Vintage Marxmanship vs. The Most Fire Toys of 2016
What all the kids are doing these days.
THEN: Marx Merrymakers (1931), a classic windup toy, features a four-piece "mouse" band gathered around a piano wherein the clockwork mechanism is contained. Their sound may be a bit tinny (ha!), but all that matters is that the music brings them together.
NOW: Why share the spotlight when you can have it all to yourself? Clip your smartphone (you're at least in 6th grade, right?) to the SelfieMic Music Set and create your own music videos where YOU'RE the star. Upload! Share! Your 1,873 besties can't wait to care!
THEN: The Cold War loomed large in the turbulent '60s, and not even your daughter's dollhouse was immune from its influence. Certain specimens from Marx Toys included fallout bomb shelters, a quaint reminder of America's Red Scare hysteria.
NOW: The Barbie Hello Dreamhouse is soooo fetch. It is equipped with an elevator, flatscreen TV, glam chandelier, and even Barbie's own laptop for exchanging compromising photos and sensationalist articles with her friends! Quaint bomb shelter not included (but probably should be).
THEN: Doggone Millenials never work an honest day in their lives. With over 100 variations of service station and construction playsets introduced from the 1930s to the 1970s, Marx showed young whippersnappers what it meant to get their hands dirty.
NOW: Legos remain the toy of choice for prospective architects, engineers, mechanics, and urban planners (the "City" line). If you can envision it, you can build it. Think the former GAF site would be better served as a ninja training academy or space-pirate watering hole? Your call, (Nick Scott) Junior.
THEN: The Big Green Machine (1975) was the nimbler, more extreme successor to the iconic Big Wheel. Its stick-shift steering allowed for sick stunts and spinouts, and elevated parental anxiety.
NOW: Who's mommy's favorite liability? You are?! Good, let's strap a motor to you. The Power Wheels 12-volt Wild Thing accelerates to dizzying speeds of up 5 mph, and can turn on a dime. Of course, a supervising adult can tame the engine if it gets too wild out there.
Sorry, but all my friends ran out of batteries: Who can control the Great Garloo (1961)? You can! This motorized mutant would do your bidding right out of the box. Compare that with Hatchimals (2016), which you have to nurture and train all the way from eggdom to adulthood. Yawn. – Matt Swanseger