In 1952 George Lerner designed a toy called Mr. Potato Head. Originally the toy consisted of several facial features, ears, and hats that could be pushed into a potato (or any other veggie really). I assume Lerner figured that even a poor family could spare one spud for decorating, it could also be eaten after.
But by 1964 the stench of rotting potatoes became too much and the manufacturer, Hasbro, decided to include a plastic potato with slots to receive the various body parts. No more rotting taters; but limited options for creativity.
Of course, using ‘real’ things in toys can lead to disaster. Just think of the classic nerve-testing Operation. Or the potential for economic ruin with Monopoly or, God forbid, the arrival of Armaggedon in the guise of the war game Risk.
Mind you perhaps the best example of going with synthetic rather than real game parts is an odd toy called Flushin‘ Frenzy. Described as a “game of one plunger, some poop, and fast reflexes. But be careful, after any given push of the plunger the poop may COME FLYING OUT OF THE TOILET! The first player to grab the poop earns a token.” It makes me wonder if perhaps, at last, we as a society, have reached rock bottom.
Perhaps the toy pictured above is some sort of deluxe edition, as it includes the toilet. It boggles the mind to think what one would do with a set that comes without a toilet. I don’t even want to think about the ‘Warning: Choking Hazard’ displayed on the box.
What kind of mind conceived of this moronic idea? By all means, devise games that hone kids’ motor skills and reflexes, but couldn’t they do so trying to catch jelly beans or ping-pong balls?