Toys, especially the good ones, only happened on birthdays and Christmas. If you were unlucky enough to have your birthday in December, you’d get one of your Christmas presents early/late and told it was a birthday present. Other toys happened throughout the year but these were usually from the rotating stand in the post office. They cost about £1 (25p in 80s money) and consisted of moulded green plastic soldiers in various immobile poses, a truck whose wheels would fly off the first time it drove on carpet and a paratrooper who you’d throw out of the window in the hope his parachute would open and he’d glide to earth gracefully only to watch it plummet like spent firework into next doors garden, the one with the massive Alsatian. But what were some of the better toys of the 1980s?
more popular in the 70s, the Space Hopper remained a mainstay of the toy
section in the Winter Argos Catalogue throughout the 80s. I’m not sure why because this novelty was usable for about twenty minutes before someone dislocated a
kneecap or a shoulder. I think the name ‘space
hopper’ came about because the sensation of bouncing around the room on a huge
orange balloon with a face drawn on it is exactly the same as that experienced
by astronauts when they bounce around their spaceships on large orange balloons
with faces drawn on them. If we ever do invent technology that allows common
civilians the chance to visit space, I doubt we’ll be hopping in it using
Either this inspired the Child’s Play movies or vice versa. Teddy Ruxpin was a teddy bear with a lazy eye whose face would attempt to imitate whatever cassette you’d inserted into it’s back-hole (by which I mean there was a cassette-shaped hole in his back). Whether it was a nice bedtime story read by Kenneth Williams or Iron Maiden’s latest album, Ruxpin would move his mouth along with the words.
The bear came with compatible tapes whose left and right track were split into the audio and the instructions for Teddy’s facial expressions. The final tape the manufacturers released was called ‘Teddy Ruxpin visits the dentist’. Compared to previous releases such as ‘Teddy Ruxpin Sings Love Songs: A Special Collection of Teddy’s Favourites’, ‘Lost in Boggley Woods: Teddy and His Friends Meet the Wogglies’ and ‘The Mushroom Forest: You Can Be Anything You Want to Be’ (which sounds like a Happy Monday’s album), it was the best one yet!