BOOK REVIEW – TV CREAM TOYS

 

The ultimate nostalgia trip into childhood dreams. TV Cream looks at the best toys and games loved and played with by many of us in the latter half of the 20th century (with some games admittedly dating back much further, such as Backgammon.  Steve Berry argues passionately that toys were for play and not for collecting. These were the gifts we prayed for and wrote to Santa in the hope of getting on Xmas morning. These were the gifts we played with to the disregard of TV and bedtime. We would be in tears when pieces broke or went missing. We would remember them with affection long into adulthood. Action Man, Sindy, Barbie, Subbuteo, the Rolf Harris Stylophone, the near indestructible Tonka trucks, all get a n honourable mention here. The book tells us the history of each gift, offers lavish illustrations of the toys, tells us whether or not they need batteries (The card game Top Trumps didn’t), and how likely we were to break the thing within a short space of time.

 

The book is very tongue in cheek, but affectionate. On Airfix kits, the author points out that he concentrates on the military aircraft for being quick and easy to assemble, unlike the ships with their mass of rigging. He reminds us that few of us bothered painting the kits and ended up gluing our fingers up more than the plastic.  

 

Much of the book is compiled from surveys and reader suggestions made on the author’s excellent TV Cream website. There are omissions inevitably. I remember the Dinky UFO interceptor (based on a Gerry Anderson TV series0, which fired a massive missile that went out with so much force that I felt it could punch holes in the skirting boards. I could imagine it being used in bank raids. Nor is there a mention of Ping, the early computer game that allowed you to play tennis on the TV set, though as most houses still had only one TV set, and parents inevitably wanted to watch the news and soap operas you rarely got to play it anyway.

 

The book is splendid, and the memories it evokes can take you back so deep, you may not resurface for some time. You find yourself choking back the excitement – ‘Oh, I had one of those. Oh, my mates had that.”

 

The website is at www.tv.cream.org.

 

 

Arthur Chappell

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