Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Toys That Remind Me of My Childhood Part 1

If you've read earlier entries in this blog you know that I have a strand of the hoarding gene in my DNA.  So, it should come as no surprise that I still have in my possession a lot of the toys from my childhood. One plaything that I remember being around our home from my earliest memories, but don't really have any recollection of playing with, is this set of heavy-cardboard cut-out figures.  Each figure is backed with a black felt-like flocking that I believe allowed the figures to be placed on a fuzzy background scene.  The flocked backing kept the figures from sliding around on the background, sort of like a low-tech velcro.  I know this because I recently bought on eBay a similar toy called "TV Flannel Funnies."  That toy has this description, " Large Flock-O Board, 50 Flannel-Backed Pushouts, Easy On! Easy Off!!, Use Again and Again."

I no longer have the "Flock-O" background for this set from my childhood, so I have no idea if it was a painted scene or a solid color, but I do have lots of the figures.  I thought I'd share them because I do think the graphics are rather charming.  One thing you'll notice about them is that the off-set printing was way off register, so many of the images bleed off the edges.  I think it kind of adds to their charm.  It's especially noticeable in the figures in the red and yellow coats on the right.  As I kid I always pictured them as conjoined twins, but I think if the printing had been registered properly you would probably see that each of the women had two full legs, rather than the way they appear now where they seem to share a pair of legs.

The figures consist of a strange mix.  For one thing, there seems to be a preponderance of circus and side-show figures.  This strongman is an example, as is the above mermaid. Among the other figures are boxers, skaters, firemen, some buildings and of course some circus animals.

This skating lady in blue has always been one of my favorites.  With her leg extended high behind her, and one arm behind her head, she seems so happy and confident.

As a child, I always thought this lady in her pink bra (as well as the above mermaid) were a little risque, but that comes from growing up in a conservative, rather repressed household.

One of the buildings that came with the set was a hospital.  I think this smiling lady must have been its only patient.
The animals are some of my favorites as is this unusual depiction of a fairy. When I was little I always thought it was some sort of strange butterfly man.

 Of all of the animals, I think these two elephants are my favorites.  Even though I know real circus elephants live out a miserable life, these two purple elephants live in a circus fantasy world where all of the animals are well-treated, well-fed and happy.

I take these figures out of their box every once in a while to look at them, their childlike graphic quality never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

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