Category Archives: Vintage Childhood

Chairman of the Board :: Pop-o-Matic!

I love old board games. I especially love the graphics. But I also really enjoy playing them! One of my favorites? The Pop-O-Matic! If you’ve ever played with one before, then you know that satisfying CLACK! POP! sound it makes. Ahhh. Perfection.

Just in case you’ve never played one, the Pop-O-Matic was a small plastic dome that housed the dice (or die) for your game. You pushed down on it, and it caused the base to flex and “pop”, shaking the dice and rolling them for you. So cool! It was awesome for a ton of reasons—you never had to worry about losing your dice, no one could cheat, and of course it was SUPER FUN to pop!

The most famous of the Pop-O-Matic games is Trouble. You can still buy the Trouble game today and I highly recommend it! You know how some games are great for kid’s but as parents they aren’t reeeally that exciting? Well this one is seriously fun for the whole family. Easy to play, fun to pop…and lots of family-friendly competition when you send your opponents pegs back to home base! There is a Star Wars version, but I’m not a fan (don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of Star Wars….but when you pop the thingie, you hear a lound R2-D2 beep whirl sound effect and it ruins the classic pop-o-matic experience for me. Just sayin’….).

We liked Trouble so much that when I found this little guy at the thrifts a while back, I had to scoop it up. Headache is really similar to Trouble, but instead of booting your fellow player back to home base, when you land on the same spot, you get to stack your piece on top of theirs and it becomes yours. AWESOME!

Dottie and I also reminisced awhile back about putting the little red cones on our fingertips and pretending they were long, glamorous finger nails! Oooh lala!

While I remembered playing Trouble and Headache when I was little, I had never seen this gem before. No Loose Parts = AWESOME!! And I’m thinking this will be perfect for playing on my folk’s pontoon boat this summer. Even the bingo cards are tactile and fun (you “punch” the numbers down when you get one!).

You know I always like to give you guys a lil history on these vintage things I love, but I have to confess I honestly don’t know much about the actual Pop-O-Matic! I do know that initially it came with board games from the Kohner Brothers, and eventually Milton Bradley….who are now part of Hasbro. Finding BINGO made me realize that that there was a whole world of other Pop-O-Matic games out there. I poked around an just look at these groovy games! I think some of them might have cooler graphics than game play—do you really need dice for checkers? Hmmm.

I have to warn you, I saw inside this Cross Over the Bridge game and it doesn’t look nearly as fun as that super awesome box artwork!

This Robo Force game looks totally confusing  but I so love the idea of a GIANT SUPER Pop-O-Matic!!

But I can’t lie….DOUBLE TROUBLE looks RAD!!!!!

OK, let’s finish this round off with a BONUS VIDEO! The old Trouble commerical. Just wait til you heat the POP! CLACK!

Do you remember playing with the Pop-O-Matic?? Wasn’t it awesome! You can get a new Trouble game here or you can grab a vintage Pop-O-Matic game from Etsy over here!

Remembering those little orange boxes from UNICEF.

Image via: Unicef USA

Remember toting that little orange box that kinda reminded you of a box of animal crackers, but you knew it was going to help people?

Well, there’s a story behind that little orange box.

Image via: Book or Treat

It started with a school teacher named Mrs. Allison who saw her children’s heavy bags full of candy every Halloween and thought all that neighborly fun could be used for good and not just potential cavities. She later saw a parade led by UNICEF trying to raise money to supply milk to undernourished countries across the sea.  Mrs. Allison was so inspired by the parade that she came up with the idea of having children ask for money on behalf of UNICEF as they were trick or treating on Halloween—collected in milk cartons!

Image via: Washington Post

What started in Philadelphia in 1950 caught on and UNICEF started receiving checks from schools across the nation. And “trick or treat for UNICEF” was born!

It became so big that TV shows started helping–Like Lassie and the Brady Bunch.

In fact a whole episode of Bewitched was dedicated to UNICEF. Oh, how I would have loved to seen that episode.

Image via: Book or Treat

And Betsy McCall, the famous McCall paper doll even dedicated a whole page of Halloween cuteness to the cause!

Image via: ClutterShop

It has been more than sixty years since Mrs. Allison came up with her terrific idea and nearly $160 million have been raised to help UNICEF help make the lives of children better around the world

Since 2004 when UNICEF created online ways for schools to raise money, we don’t see too many of those orange boxes, but the wonderful idea of Mrs. Allison coupled with an amazing organization actually can change the world.

Info from Wasthington Post, Book or Treat and Child of the Sixties Forever.

Image via: Book or Treat

Do you remember carrying a UNICEF box?

5 Halloween Costume Rejected Ideas (that are actually totally AWESOME!)

I love Halloween. Yes, the candy is dandy and the trick or treating is super fun. But for me it’s all about coming up with a brilliant Halloween costume idea.  And I have millions of ’em folks. MILLIONS! And yes, I might have had a couple of drinks before I came up with some of my best ideas! My sweetie Eric thinks all of them are completely insane and totally not appropriate for the Peach. Which is why she is going as a cowgirl this year. I know. I know.  So I will share my little Halloween gems with you!

Here are my top costume ideas. Enjoy!

(You’ve all seen the video right?)  This is the perfect costume, as you can tell all the little old ladies on your block that your kid is a skunk. All you need is a black hoodie from Champion, black leggings or sweatpants from Target, a fake snake, and some white felt that you hot glue to the top of the hoodie down the back and use to create a tail. You can follow your kid around and ask them to run backwards and every now and then yell, “Eeew! That’s DISGUSTING!” I’m telling you. It’s genius!

Who wouldn’t want to dress up as the coolest guy in the world. JUMPING OVER A FREAKING SHARK, FOLKS!  And it gives you, Mom a chance to dress up as Pinky Tuscadero–just like I always wanted to in fifth grade.  All you need is a kid-sized motorcycle jacket, some little shorts, and a plushie shark.  Generation X parents will totally sneak you an extra Reese’s peanut butter cup for this costume.

Image via: James Lewis

Because nothing says fun like Dickensian poverty! Right?  What else could a kid go as from Mary Poppins! And who doesn’t like a good cockney accent? Black pants, a little tweedy vest, newboy cap, and make a chimney sweeper using black pipe cleaners and yer done! A little black make up on the face and voila! Straight outta Mary Poppins.  Oh hey, they have that costume already in the U.K. Go figure!

Capture that sweet seventies tropical TV feel with dressing your kiddo up as Tattoo from Fantasy Island.  With a grand option of Dad going as Mr. Rourke.  All you need is that little white tux, and a very very small toupee.  And any kid can point to the sky and yell, “THE PLANE! THE PLANE!”

I’m so in love with this idea from Alix!  Really, it’s more of a question of how can you NOT dress your child as Little Edie?!  All you need is a vintage scarf from your closet, a wee fur coat, and a leotard from Target. Bonus points for having Daddy pretend to be Jerry, the garden boy!

There you go!  You’re welcome!  What’s your cutie going as for Halloween?

Vintage Flashback :: Skating Back to the Ice Capades.

Image: 60s Twist

Over the weekend, my friend Melinda posted pix of her little girlie enjoying the heck out of Disney on Ice on Facebook.  There were smiles, BART rides, pictures of playing cards ice skating (think Alice in Wonderland) and a $12 shaved ice cone.  It got me very excited to think about taking the Peach to one next time Disney on Ice skates into town.  It also made me think about the Ice Capades.

My mother swears she took me to the Ice Capades as a child, but I can’t remember it and I’m sure I would have remembered something as spectacular as THIS:

Image: Hollywood Place

The Ice Capades were a traveling ice show that ran from 1940 to 1995 featuring ex-Olympian skaters,  elaborate set-pieces/themes, and costumes that could have been featured in a Hollywood musical.  In the early years, I think they marketed themselves more on the prettiness of the girls than any ice skating capabilities.  At least according to the old Ice Capade programs which featured bombshell Vargas-like covers.  Vavoom!  I have a feeling Dads weren’t against taking their kids to this “wholesome family fun” ice show. Hmmm….

Clockwise: 1, 2, 3, 4

But for me and I’m sure many a little girl in the audience it was about the pretty outfits and the Ice Capades did not disappoint!  It was a costumer’s dream of fabulous outfits worthy of any MGM Musical! Just look at the array of fashion awesomeness here:

Image: Jen O’Sale

I want to meet the costume designer who decided on that bouffant hair style.

Images: Retro Space.

I love this 1970 Ice Capade show featured Tim Wood, the 1969 World Figure Skating Champion. Olympics Bronze-winners Margot and Danne skated to a Beatles medley, World Free-Style Champion Tommy Litz appeared in a segment titled “An Astrological Affair.”

Oh, these sexy Librans!  I really don’t understand what the circle ponchos have to do with Libra. But it certainly makes for a sassy look!  With matching gloves, natch!


Or this 1983 Ice Capades jazz handed hot pink tambourine extravaganza?

Image: NeatNeatNeat

The Ice Capades had its roots in vaudeville theater, and many early acts included comedians, jugglers, barrel jumpers, magicians, and other such entertainers.

And this guy. Dave Pitts.

That Dave Pitts is one talented gent and is basically a chimp starmaker. Fancy!  I think that is the White Rabbit and Spanky is dressed as Snow White and and. Wow.  Just wow.

Images: Hollywood Places

But the Ice Capades weren’t immune to partnering with other brands to make more money. Oh no.  That was a life saver for the show!  Starting with the best partnership.  DISNEY!

(From Vintage Disneyland Tickets)

I’m not going to lie–that Pluto looks a little roughed up…

Or how about the Smurfs? And Peggy Flemming!

Images via: LoonBoy2

And–what the heck? A McDonalds inspired Ice Capades?

From Hollywood Place

I can only imagine storyline of the Golden Hamburger caper with those terrifying pink and yellow mop things! This picture was two pictures that I put next together so you could see the truly magnificent operatic joy of the McDonalds Ice Capades show.

Former Olympian and 70s hair style icon Dorothy Hamill bought the show in 1993 for 10 million dollars, and then sold it to Pat Robertson in 1995, who pretty much ran it into the ground in record time, and the show was bankrupt later that year. There have been attempts to revive the show, but they have failed to get traction. (Note to self: add “Revive Ice Capades to bucket list…”)

But Thanks to Disney on Ice and many other wonderful shows, you can still take your kiddo to a sweet ice show and have a blast and buy them a $12 shaved ice cone! YEAH!

Did you ever go to Ice Capades? Did you ever bring your child to one of the ice shows?  How was it? Did it compare?

Flashback Summer :: Sleep Away Camp

Camp fires, s’mores, making friendship bracelets, silly songs and scary ghost stories….did you go to a sleep away summer camp?

images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


I never went to a sleep away summer camp, but in sixth grade we went away for a week to an archeological camp at Northwestern University. Yup, a whole week away. Our teacher’s must have been crazy! We sang songs, told camp fire stories and learned about working an archeological dig. It was really cool! Of course on that same trip my two best friends suddenly decided I couldn’t be their friend anymore which was heart breaking—oh the drama of camp! Despite the craziness it’s still a really great memory.

Our summers were spent driving from Michigan to Santa Cruz, California. And while I wouldn’t have traded my summers for anything,  I was always intrigued by kids who went to summer camp!

How about you? Was summer camp a big part of your growing up? Fun memories? Crazy stories? Tell me more!