Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
Who can forget the pogo stick. When you saw someone bounding up and down it looked so easy. But when you tried it the first few times it was nothing but frustration. You would take two bounces before you went flying one way and the stick would fly away in another direction. It could not be that hard, could it? Of course not. So you went back on and tried again and again and again. Eventually you got the hang of it and were able to go a few rounds with it.
I bet you tried it again many years later and thought again “how hard can it be?” If you tried it again you probably had a good laugh at your own expense.
View-Master was introduced to the public at the 1939-1940 World’s Fair in New York, where it was sold as a souvenir of the event. During the ‘50s, when 3-D movies were all the rage, View-Masters would be placed in movie-theater lobbies, loaded with preview reels of upcoming features. In 1999, the View-Master was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. At this point, more than 1.5 billion View-Master reels have been produced. The delightful thing about View-Master is that the size and shape of the reels have never changed, nor has the basic function of the viewer. Each paper reel has 14 slides that create seven images, so any reel in decent condition, no matter how old it is, can be viewed through any View-Master.
As a bouncing putty, Silly Putty is noted for its unusual characteristics: it bounces, but breaks when given a sharp blow; it can also float in a liquid and will form a puddle given enough time. Silly Putty and most other retail putty products have viscoelastic agents added to reduce the flow and enable the putty to hold its shape. Crayola’s history of Silly Putty states that James Wright first invented it in 1943. By 1955 the majority of its customers were aged 6 to 12. In 1957, we saw the first televised commercial for Silly Putty, which aired during the Howdy Doody Show. As of 2005, annual Silly Putty sales exceeded six million eggs. Silly Putty was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame on May 28, 2001.
The name came from the first, middle and last letters of the German word for peppermint: “pfefferminz”. Pez is a combination candy dispenser and toy. Pez (trademarked PEZ in capitals) is the brand name of an Austrian candy and their famous mechanical pocket dispensers. The candy itself takes the shape of pressed, dry, straight-edged, curved-corner blocks (15 mm (5/8 inch) long, 8 mm (5/16 inch) wide, and 5 mm (3/16 inch) high), with Pez dispensers holding 12 Pez pieces.
Pez was originally introduced in Austria, later exported, notably to the U.S., and eventually became available worldwide. The all-uppercase spelling of the logo echoes the trademark’s style on the packaging and the dispensers themselves, with the logo drawn in perspective and giving the appearance that the letters are built out of 44 brick-like Pez candies (14 bricks in the P and 15 in each of the E and Z). There are hundreds of PEZ dispensers shaped like famous characters from real life and cinema.