Monday, January 4, 2010

Retro products

Now that I have reached mid-life, I often think of items that are retro or no longer sold. Some of them have become collector's items. Can you think of any? I will revisit this post as I think of new things. Please let me know of items you remember! If they are from before the 70s, please try to associate them with a timeframe.
  • Pillsbury funny face juice characters and mugs
  • metal lunch boxes with clasps (I had one with Charlie Brown on it that included a thermos) - we did not use backpacks then.
  • space food sticks (chewy candy-food in honor of the astronauts who landed on the moon)

  • wacky packy trading cards with bubblegum
  • candy cigarettes (no longer PC)
  • pixy stix
  • striped knee socks with toes
  • stick pins
  • earth shoes
  • chukka boots (70s style)
  • saddle shoes (they were retro from the 50s to us)
  • MIA clogs (dark red leather; Swedish)
  • Lectric Shave (thinking old obnoxious commercials) - product still around
  • Hai Karate cologne (for men)
  • Aqua Velva grooming products (for men)
  • Earthborn shampoo (featured Dorothy Hammel with her infamous haircut on the front label)
  • Breck shampoo
  • Herbal Essence shampoo (?)
  • Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo
  • Jean Naté (still around but not easy to find)
  • Bonne Bell facial astringent
  • Emeraude "perfume" - ugh
  • Windsong perfume
  • Noxzema skin cream (could still be around, but it was all the rage)
  • Dippity Doo hair gel and special tape/bobby pins for holding curls in place after using it
  • soap on a rope
  • super-sized lip smackers on ropes to be worn as "necklaces"
  • kiddles (I even had the "kiddles" bus mounted on my wall) - kiddles were dolls that were about 3" or 4" inches tall
  • weebles
  • mood rings (still around)
  • sunshine family house with an "all blonde family" - the sunshine house baby looked exactly like my sister
  • flatsies (5" flat dolls), but they're back!
  • Dawn dolls (6" dolls complete with disco wardrobes and a carrying case)

  • I had a barbie named Casey with blonde short hair - can't find her anymore.
  • Black barbies Francie and Julia
  • Baby Tenderlove
  • Dressy Bessie
  • Mrs. Beasley Doll (from TV show "Family Affair")
  • Coppertone suntan lotion (where dog pulls down toddler's pants to show tan line)
  • buff puffs
  • American Girl magazine
  • Ms. magazine
  • "dirty old men need love too" T-shirts (ugh)
  • T-shirts for pregnant women featuring an arrow pointing downward toward their future baby
  • furry winter bonnets with ties that had pom poms on the ends
  • very long winter elf-like hats with pom poms or gathered fringe at the end. They were often striped.
  • now defunct Fisher Price toys: yellow two-story family-style house that could close and had a carrying handle; farm with door that "mooed" when you opened and closed it; the old-style airplane
  • Stretch Armstrong toy - my sister and I dissected one, and it was full of nasty yellow goo (I have since learned it was corn syrup). This photo is from 1978.

  • slime - this gooey concoction came in several colors and was housed in purpole- and green-colored plastic "garbage cans" about the size of a drinking glass. It would contain rubber worms and other "fun" items that parents just loved.
  • footsies - you would insert one of your feet through a plastic ring and at the other end of a cord was a plastic weighted cup. You used a footsie to "jump rope," but horizontally.
  • Lite-Brite toy
  • Rings and Things
  • Spirograph
  • Viewmaster
  • Punch balls (I was giving them at Easter - sort of like a "balloon yo-yo")
  • Plastic pencils with replaceable points. These were a "must have" in junior high. 
  • Slip on Bass sandals with an insert between the big toe and the next. They had no back strap (big in junior high)
  • Dr. Scholl's sandals (every color but white - big in junior high)
  • Bathing caps with neck straps and designs on them like rubber flowers. I had a hideous orange one decorated with orange slices.

  • Sears tough skins jeans (how cool were they - not!)
  • Levi's cords in colors
  • Christmas trees covered with fake snow
  • Lifesavers books (given as Christmas gifts to friends)
  • items that had ecology, smiley face, or peace sign symbols - still around
  • Duncan butterfly yo-yo's
  • Bicycle baskets (for girls) decorated with flowers. They were used into adolesence.


  1. There were a bunch of board games that came back into fashion as Hasbro and the game company from Salem, MA that I can't remember discovered parents wanted to buy for their kids what they had as kids. The game Operation comes to mind. Rock-Em, Sock-'em Robots too. Didn't last. Not PC. Battleship.

  2. Fresca, the softdrink whcih has made a comeback with a much bettter flavor.
    Tab, the softdrink that did not comeback, so far as I know. I am OK with that. Saccharine!
    By the way, did you know that Winston tastes good like a cigarette should? Lucky filters? Say no more.

  3. -Lite Brite
    How about those big puffy down-stuffed winter jackets that were flourescent orange? Remember the cheap green hooded parkas with fake fur on the front ede of the hood. Zero warmth. So why did I think of those today?

  4. To anonymous, actually, almost all of those games are back including Twister, Etch-a-Sketch, and Rock-em, Sock-em robots. My son just received Battleship for Christmas. Almost forgot about Lite Brite. You mention a few other goodies I will add to the list. Thanks.


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Click to feed the flying fishies. According to my son, you can never have enough fish!
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