The 60's  

The 1960's was another great decade for the toy manufacturers but there where clouds on the horizon as the baby boom era was nearing an end by the 1970's. The early years were a continuation of the late 50's evolution in the industry led by battery operated and space toys. The Roy Rogers and Gene Autry toys so popular in the past were being replaced by army toys. Full scale items like Remco's Monkey Division included automatic pistols, machine guns as well as hand grenades and mortars. The emphasis didn't end with outdoor play as there was an abundance of miniature military toys which include the Tiger Tank, Mighty Mitilda aircraft Carrier and The Deluxe Redding "Battlewagon" just to name a few.

Marx Toys was still the leader but by 1961 they were running neck and neck with Mattel toys. Some of the best known American toys of all time had been produced by Marx and they came blasting into the 60's with Great Garloo and a few years later Rock Em Sock Em Robots. Mattel however was growing by leaps and bounds, largely on the strength of the Barbie Doll, which had been introduced in March of 1959. Mattel poured in millions of dollars on marketing and advertising and were looking for ways to cut off the British invasion by Lesney on miniature diecast vehicles. The breakthough came in 1968 when HOT WHEELS were introduced. That along with a strong line of products, one after the other catapulted them to the industry leader. Shootin Shell, Creepy Crawlers, Winchester rifle, Character dolls like Herman Munster and other TV toys, Chatty Cathy, Liddle Kiddles, Matt Mason and many more. By 1970 Mattel was way out in front and not looking back as the number one American toy maker.

Ideal and Hasbro were big players in the 60s continually introducing new toys to the market. Hasbro's big hit was the 12 inch doll for boys, later renamed as an "Action Figure", GI JOE
Ideal wasn't taking a backseat to anybody and eventually surpassed Marx by the mid 60's as well. On the heels of their 50s Robert The Robot came an even more sophisticated
ROBOT COMANDO. A long line of Batman toys, Toys like The Dick Tracy COPMOBILE, Motorific battery operated cars, Captain Action, Monster Lab, Mr. Machine and tons
more. We do mean tons, Ideal was never afraid to try something new and they likely brought more items to the market than any other manufacturer. 
Another big (and growing) influence in the 60s toy market was that of imports, particularly Japan. "Japanese Tin" as they are  commonly referred to were flooding the market and were
offered at a lower cost. Many sold in five and dime or discount stores but are now highly respected and sought after. Vehicles, Friction and Battery operated toys led the way although
there are hundreds of varieties. Linemar, the Japanese subsidiary of Marx Toys are some of the hardest examples to find and bring the highest price. Other notable Japanese manufacturers
were Alps, Nomura also known as <TN> , Masudaya -MT or Modern Toys and Yoshiya KO or simply K.

A short epistle of 1960s toys can not be written without a word about Lionel. Everyone knows about the Lionel O gauge train and just about every family in the post war era had one around
the Christmas tree. Although Lionel began very early and pre-war examples are in great demand it was the 1960s in which they started their descent. Writing from my own affectionate memories
it is very difficult to realize that Lionel was all but dead by the 1970. Once the undisputed king, Lionel was sold in the late 60's to General Mills and changed hands several times afterward. They
are still in business but only to a specialized market and limited productions.  The good news is that so many Lionel sets were sold in the baby boom era that they are popping out of attics and
storage all across the country. Contrary to popular belief, not all the sets are expensive and if you "yearn to return" to those early years there should be something in your price range. Of course
we are always buying, so if you have an electric train set, Lionel , American Flyer or other, please contact us.

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