Thursday, December 18, 2014

Part 3: My Childhood Wish Books

Part III: My Childhood Wish Books

Ok, let's be fair, I was born in 1970, so I wasn't exactly flipping through them right at the start of the decade, but I'm spotting toys that would be under the tree.

What's really fascinating is converting what look like fabulous prices into what it would cost in today's dollars. With 1970's annual average income at $7200.00 ($44.5K comparatively, which means the latest figures available (2012) at $51K put us about 13% better off that the poor folks in 1970 who are paying pretty outrageous prices on this stuff. To wit:


Is this $74 worth of a jumpsuit or what? That's a price cutfrom $98.90!

The FIRST new work-saving convenience for the home in YEARS!

$219.95 = $1359.65 today
This size compactor in 2014 = $719.00

That'll be $43.20 for the #1 blanket sleeper and $37.02 for Cuddle Pooh

these are pajamas. How could you possibly sleep in those things?

$43.08 for vinyl boots

The sunburst clock style that's been in most of the catalogs since the late 50s will begin to disappear this decade.

$61.63 for "wool and nylon bonded to acetate tricot" AKA knit plaid pants.


yup, still here!



The 1969 Moon Landing meant, by 1970, everyone had ramped up space-themed production


$58.35 for a black and white polaroid camera

Tawny Gold is the NOW color! Full set will run you $266.30

(This is the first year that Sears switched up its order and put all the toys at the front of the catalog.)


Here's one item that's pretty much unchanged. Barbie for $1.94 is $11.99 today

This is the first time I spotted baby toys in the catalog. Prior, only toddler toys and up were sold. 

That Family Farm or Family Home? $57. Not far off from today's cost.

But the See and Say at $31.85 is more than twice today's cost.






It's the year Walt Disney World opened in Florida


And Western Wear is still popular




Pooh Rules!









I keep pulling in the spread of Cowboy and Indian costumes, because I keep expecting them to 
disappear. Still here!




Plaid Polyesters galore 


The boys' $88.99 Motocross-look bike costs almost $400 in today's dollars, 

and the "starter" bikes are nearly $200.




(Sears not available, using Penneys)

Only $167.87 for a hand-held tape recorder & $209.45 for a 3 Speed Phono System 
(regularly each will run you $251.73!)

I always like to find the kids' PJs, since it's a great barometer of what's hot on TV and in movies any given year.
Boys were into SMDM, Hulk, Star Trek, Spidey, and Bruce Lee.
Note: Star Wars Merch non-existent

Beloved Weebles Treehouse,  $41.44 -- a few weeks ago this complete set sold on ebay  for $27.78.

The ebay listing on SMDM's Command Center ($35.44) went for "less than" $149.00, though...

But your Batman Mego stuff was a pretty good investment, provided you didn't want to, ya know, PLAY with them:

Hall of Justice at $62.48 seems like a steal compared to $225 now.

And the Batman Mego ($12.44) is all over the place but a recently closed one MIB ended at $162.99

Joker did a bit better at $189.05

But Batgirl wins (most boys didn't want a girl doll in 1976 and most girls didn't get included in Mego advertising. She went for $326.00.

The Enterprise Playcase (without figures): $41.86, available MIB now via ebay for $189.99!

Add all figures shown for an additional $75 then, loose you can snatch them up for $95 today, but if you want mint on card? Get ready to spend ten times that.

This one, with the figures, is in our house. Bob's mom was normal and threw away the packaging.

Dusty ($19.56) is in my hand. Her trusty steed Nugget ($41.90) didn't hold his value so well.
Nugget sits below the Holly Hobby Gazebo ($41.94) near my knee. Holly did a bit better at $69.90


The dawn of handheld electronic games. Mattel Football in today's $$ = 125.76



Hot Little Girl Merch: Holly Hobby, Sesame Street, Snoopy, Raggedies, between $68 & $80

The "Executive" Raggedy Ann and Andy set for the up-and-coming five year old. Note cash in hand. (I hadn't spotted one from the earlier catalogs, but my photo above is from '75.)

a little SMDM & Bionic Woman love
Carriage House ($67.91) and figure ($31.11) with box, $149
But SMDM himself MIB? Try $548


Big Thunder is the newest attraction in Disneyland this year!

By 1979 and Empire, Star Wars had caught up in the Merch departments
SW, Hulk still in it, plus Mork, Buck Rogers, Supes, Scooby, and Spidey

And I'm getting to the skate stage by '79. 
Had both the tennis shoe skates ($68.67) and the 77k skateboard ($41.27) in light blue.

And race tracks
My Tyco Super Duper Double Looper Night Glow set $130


When Nick was 6 and crazy for all things Star Wars, we bought a giant used lot of toys, including the Falcon, X Wing, land speeder, tie-ighter, AT-AT, and dozens of figures for about $100 in 1999. Still think that was an awesome deal. Plus I resold them on ebay a few years later in smaller sets and made a tidy profit. 


Merlin! ($85.95)


puffy ski jacket! Good for trips to Wyoming and the one day at Texas Commerce Bank's Christmas snow day in Houston.

I also found bedsheets, comforter, and more sheets to make curtains for Nick from original bedsheet SW fabric. I don't think I can overstate his obsession.

One of the first PCs in the catalog, 1980.
Let's adjust this for inflation!
$3282 for 16K of ram, with keyboard, but no screen (use the TV)
Oh, you need disk memory? Add $2127 for 92 bytes on one disk.
Oh, you need more than one disk? Add $76 for a package of 5.
Wanna print anything? Add $1823
Want to play music (via cassettes)? Add $273
Each package of software will run you $75, assume what, 3?
Games are $182 each -- we'll need at least two
Game stick and Paddle controller to play them? Just $121 more.
Grand total = $8291.00

(for "smaller" this thing was huge)

Smaller Home and Garden Dollhouse ($106.31)

Miss Piggy Puppet (got the previous Christmas) ($54.66) $170 recently

That lot had the Vadar carrying case and snow speeder, too

The Year of Garfield



(this was actually 1982 -- I was a trend setter.)


 And Return of the Jedi




plus the A Team, Knight Rider, Popeye, Q-bert, and the swan song of MASH

And 1983 was the year of Cabbage Patch insanity.

Not that ANYONE could order one of these for $19.99 from Sears by the time the catalogs arrived.

But 1983 was also a big electronics year

In three years, the memory on this PC is up to 48K and prices were dropping fast.
(Our Apple we bought this year boasted 64K!)

Home movies? The camera will run you $1409, but you have to hook it up to the "portable" 7.9 pound VCR, costing over $2K.

But the non-portable (22-23 pound) home entertainment systems were in an all-out price battle.
Beta came in at $907 and VHS at $1050.60

Ready to jump on the new-fangled CD bandwagon? That'll be $1409 for a 16 pound player.

Boombox, $310

Atari System $215 for 128 bytes of memory running at 1.19 MHz, 
each game running between $66 and $84.

XBox One $349 for 8GB at 1.75 GHz this Christmas 
games (with slightly better graphics...) are in the same price range as Atari's in 1983.

Merry Christmas -- you're living in an amazing time.


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