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Yes, you can still buy these
What's the toy you miss the most from your childhood? And how many of these do you remember? We're going back through 50 years of America's buzziest, most talked-about toys, with the help of the Strong National Museum of Play, which provided this list.
We'll start with 1969, the year of the Snoopy Astronaut.
With his jaunty bubble helmet and air pack, Astronaut Snoopy is ready to play his part in moon-landing fever! Not sure the scarf will help much in the cold vacuum of space, though.
Barber Merle Robbins invented Uno as a riff on the classic game crazy eights, but with cards you can customize. He mortgaged his house and traveled the country to sell it. It became a huge sensation, and Robbins never cut hair again.
The iconic role playing game introduced standard concepts in the genre, and is still the biggest-selling RPG of all time. In the 1980s, it was at the center of a moral panic over alleged links to Satanism.
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1976 - Cher doll
Designed to cash in on the popularity of The Sonny and Cher Show, these foot-tall likenesses of Sonny and Cher instantly became huge hits. Well, Cher did. Sonny, not so much. Original Chers are hard to find now, because they tended to melt easily.
Because 20th Century Fox was convinced that Star Wars would flop, the studio let director George Lucas keep its merchandising rights in exchange for his directing fees. In one year, Star Wars toys grossed $100 million for Kenner.
The 2600 sold a million copies during the 1979 holiday season, and was so popular that Atari had to rush unfinished new games out to meet customer demands, leading to poor reviews and an industry crash a few years later.
Mattel designed He-Man to compete with Star Wars action figures. The character was based on a Viking warrior, and despite a high-profile lawsuit alleging so, it did not take inspiration from Conan the Barbarian.
The plush dolls were hugely popular around Christmas 1983, but most stores hadn't ordered enough. This lead to massive brawls, injuries, and even near-riots when empty-handed parents didn't get one of the limited supplies.
The concept of laser tag wasn't one product, but a game developed by several different companies who built game centers in malls. It was based on a US Army training system that used infrared beams fired into clothing sensors.
The NES is the best-selling video game system of all time, and revitalized the industry after the 1983 post-Atari crash. By 1990, one-third of all American households had one -- far more than owned personal computers.
Nintendo's handheld version of the NES wasn't the first system to feature game cartridges, but it was by far the most popular. The one game linked to it more than any other is "Tetris," which sold 35 million copies just for the Game Boy.
Though it was a huge kids craze in the '90s, TMNT started as a self-published comic book in 1983. The comics were much grittier and more violent than the "cowabunga" pizza-eating turtles of the cartoons.
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1991 - Super Soaker
NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson invented the Super Soaker, inspired by his experiments with high-velocity water-operated pumps. It took him 10 years to develop the squirt gun that's since become the standard for backyard water wars.
Just like the Nintendo was the best selling system of the 8-bit technology era, the SNES was the best seller of the 16-bit era. The "video game wars" of the early 1990s pitted Sega's Genesis against the SNES -- and naturally, Nintendo won.
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1993 - Barney
The purple dinosaur hatched from a Texas mom whose son had outgrown all the children's shows of the time. It was adapted for PBS by an executive who later said, "it is not a program for parents. Barney relates to preschoolers." No kidding.
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1994 - Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
The biggest kids TV franchise of the mid-'90s combined stock footage from Japanese TV shows with new scenes. Despite its popularity, the show ran only three seasons (with the cast mostly replaced) because it ran out of stock footage to recut.
Creators Ty, Inc. made a limited number of each design, and retired them almost at random, inflating the value of the rarest babies to thousands of dollars. It also had the first direct-sales website in history.
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1996 - Tickle Me Elmo
Elmo was such a huge hit that it inspired another wave of Cabbage Patch-style carnage. With only a million Elmos made in the first year, Elmo mania saw fights, trampled sales clerks, and unrepentant scalping.
The Japanese virtual pet lived in a small electronic egg, and didn't do much other than eat, sleep, poop and eventually die. So many kids took their pets to class (because early versions died almost immediately without care) that schools banned them.
The fuzzy, big-eyed Furby could learn English and repeat phrases back to you. The US government was so concerned over Furby's listening abilities that the NSA banned them from its facilities for fear China was using them to spy.
The Pokemon franchise was already huge when the first collectible card game hit the market in 1999. They are still so valuable that a mint condition set of original cards sold for more than $107,000 in 2019.
The idea of a foldable scooter seems pretty simple. But when Razor introduced its scooter in mid-2000, copycats tweaked the design. By the end of the year, Razor had gotten a patent on the design, then sued two dozen companies for infringement.
The big-eyed Bratz dolls were a hipper version of Mattel's workhorse Barbie, but kids loved them both. The two companies behind the dolls did not love each other, and have spent almost two decades filing competing lawsuits.
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2005 - Webkinz
Webkinz combined a plush toy with an online component where kids could adopt and care for them. They were like Tamagotchis that didn't die - except when Webkinz owner Ganz deleted tens of thousands of inactive Webkinz accounts in 2019.
Another year dominated by Nintendo. Released in mid-November, the Wii sold over 600,000 units in its first week, and moved so fast that there were world-wide shortages for months. Its hand-held wireless controller opened up a whole new world of games to buy.
The iPod Touch was released just months after the iPhone, and they do almost the same things, other than make calls. Steve Jobs was even said to have called the iTouch "training wheels for the iPhone." It's now the last of the Apple iPod line.
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2008 - Rubik's Revolution
Nearly three decades after its birth, Rubik's Cube was back in an electronic form that used LED lights instead of movable pieces to play a variety of different games. It was a hit, though not quite the fad of the original cube.
Faced with crashing sales for Barbie, Mattel launched Monster High, which basically looked like a zombie version of longtime competitors Bratz. Bratz followed with its own line of zombie-looking Bratz.
Skylanders are action figures with chips inside that are read by a device that pits the characters against each other in combat. They aren't to be confused with Highlanders, the immortal warriors who can only be killed by removing their heads.
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2013 - Tekno the Robotic Puppy
Looking for a pet for your Robo-Sapien? Tekno featured more than 160 different functions and emotional reactions, and allowed little kids to enjoy having a pet without their parents cleaning up afterward.
Everyone's favorite orange ball was the breakout star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The most popular piece of BB-8 merch was the remote-controlled droid that could do almost everything the movie's droid could. Except repair X-Wing fighters. Because those aren't real.
If a Furby and a Tamagotchi had a baby, it would be this robotic, hatching fur creature. Hatchimals learn to walk and talk, and need to be fed to live. A bunch of Hatchimals didn't hatch their first Christmas, and a few were even "born" having already died. Yikes.
Cashing in on the YouTube unboxing video craze, L.O.L. Surprise Dolls are small dolls wrapped in layer after layer of stickers, notes, accessories, and other goodies. Naturally, unboxing videos of L.O.L. Surprise Dolls racked up millions of views on YouTube.
Last year's top toy checks all the boxes. They're small, adorable, react to stimulation, make funny sounds and are inexpensive enough to buy in bulk. Retail experts suspect that online bots bought them by the thousands and resold them online for big bucks.