(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)
DATE REVIEWED: 01/25/2016
TITLE: Television Toys
TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 1 hour 50 minutes
DISTANCE RIDDEN WHILE VIEWING: 22.5 miles
TOTAL CINEMA MILES LOGGED: 3972 miles
SYNOPSIS: A compilation of toy commercials and toy company industrial films from the 1950s and 1960s.
CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Youth, how we have aged as a society and the indoctrination of children into conforming with the norms of the society in which they find themselves.
PROS AND CONS: There is no good or bad here, just 2 hours of commercials that we saw on Saturday mornings while watching cartoons.
The images here show a pre-electronic and pre-internet world, where cheap toys, both foreign and domestic, were marketed to American youth by men on Madison Ave. This was before the advent of child behavioral health studies, focus groups and media branding. The toys here required a lot of imagination to make them work. Most were sold at independent toy stores or super markets, long before there was Toys-R-Us and Amazon.
What floored me watching this disc again (I have seen it several times) is how various toy companies of the 1950s and 60s targeted their manufacturing and advertising to specific ethnic and gender roles. The major players of the day were as follows:
Mattel: They did the best regarding marketing but had the least inspired toys. Most offerings were in the doll category or the gun / western genre for boys. They appeared to be making the young men of America feel right at home in the middle of a military industrial complex, and little girls just wanted to have babies.
Ideal: An interesting manufacturer. They were cutting edge up to a point with some innovative offerings and had some good marketing.
Marx: A foreign company that made inroads into the American market. Some of their toys appeared to be re-branded devices that were manufactured in Asia and then sold in the United States.
Remco: The odd company and probably the most missed. Instead of focusing on techno-guns (military and rockets), they sold toys that represented society as it was (Yankee Doodle Car Wash, Big Screen Drive In Movie, Voice Command Airport). If you wanted your child to grow up to be a baker or a mechanic you bought them a Remco toy.
Gilbert: The cutting edge of the toy world back in the day, they made the science toys, like microscopes and chemistry sets, and had the best commercials and industrial videos by far.
There were other makers represented here as well, but these were the big five.
To read an overview of this project, check out this status posting.
This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.
Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film.
This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle. A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on Strava.com.