The Erector Set, Legos, cap guns, slingshots, water pistols, Matchbox cars and trucks, G.I. Joe and space toys are among the items featured here as the topic is "toys." Of course, they can't mention all of them so they concentrate on a handful of them that were extremely popular not that long ago (or so it seems!) The program begins with an interesting statement: "The toys of childhood are more important than you think." The narrator goes on to explain why toys have such a big influence on us the rest of our lives.
In the short history segment, we learn that, as in about everything else, the ancient Egyptians were the ones who made the first big strides in this category, even coming up with a board game. Then, in Roman days, someone invented the yo-yo! Yup, that's how long that toy has been around.
The biggest progress, though, came with the 19th century Industrial Revolution where mass producing could make toys available to many kids.
In the 20th century, the first really big hit, we learn, was the "Erector Set." That was in 1913 and 19 years later we had "Legos." When all billions of bricks in 1955 were made into plastic with pegs to easily join, it really took off.
Some of the most interesting sights and comments in the rest of the episode included the historic note that cap guns, which peaked in the 1950s with about every boy in America, actually began during the Civil War.
We learn about Mr. Lionel and what he did with small trains and how Matchbox cars started out as a toy for girls. Of the over three billion miniature cars sold, do you know which is the bestseller? The answer is the Model A Ford.
One last question: What was the first toy ever advertised on television? Answer: Mr. Potato Head!
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