The decade introduced Ken dolls, G.I. Joe, Hot Wheels, Lite-Brite, and much more.
On Black Friday, parents and grandparents will scramble for Star Wars toys. Again! There has always been that one must-have holiday gift over the years, from the remote control BB-8 to Tickle Me Elmo to Furby to… well, all the way back to toy soldiers and Barbie dolls.
The Sixties introduced several iconic dolls, balls and play things to American toy chests. Let’s take a look back and revisit what the hot new toy was in each year of the decade. Which ones did you ask Santa for — or better yet receive?
1960: Chatty Cathy
Second only in sales to Barbie in the decade was this talking doll. Pull the ring and string from her back and Cathy (or a tiny player inside her tummy) would speak one of 11 phrases. “I love you” was one, of course. Seven more phrases were added in 1963.
1961: Ken Doll
Barbie made her debut in 1959. She went without a boyfriend for two years. In this, his first year, Ken had “real” hair of sort, made from felt, before getting his plastic do.
1962: Barbie’s Dream House
A year later, Barbie finally had a place to live, a cardboard ranch complete with mid-century modern furniture. Years later, she would add levels and decadence to her abode.
1963: Esy-Bake Oven
When introduced in 1963, Kenner’s baking kit utilized two lightbulbs and came in two colors — yellow and light blue.
1964: G.I. Joe Doll / Johnny Seven O.M.A. Gun
Soldier toys were all the rage in 1964. The Johnny Seven O.M.A. (One Man Army) gun flew off the shelves. But it would be Habro’s hot off the press G.I. Joe doll that would prove to have legs (literally and figuratively), spawning countless action figures and cartoons.
1965: Wham-O Super Ball
You will not find Zectron on the periodic table, but what a substance. Wham-O’s miracle rubber contained polybutadiene, hydrated silica, zinc oxide and stearic acid. Which is a lot of chemistry behind “Super Fun!”
1966: Suzy Homemaker
Like “Chatty Cathy,” Suzy Homemaker was so popular to become part of the American vernacular. This line of shrunken appliances — and its dolls — introduced in ’66 from Topper Toys gave both Easy-Bake Ovens and Cathy a run for their money.
When launched in ’67, Lite-Brite was billed in catalogs as “An amazing new toy that lets a child color with light.” It came with 16 pre-printed picture sheets to lay on the “magic box.”
1968: Hot Wheels
Matchbox had been selling tiny cars since for over a decade when Mattel jumped in the game with Hot Wheels in 1968. The initial line of models included American muscle like Camaro, Corvette, Firebird, Mustang and more.
1969: Flatsy Dolls
Ideal Toy Company premiered these sort-of-two-dimensional dolls at the end of the decade. They came in three sizes, and each with a theme. These groovy, mod relics are quite collectible.