Launched by Ideal in 1969 as the toy that is “safe for little hands”, Power Mite gave kids the chance to create their own workshops with sets of miniature power tools. The die cast metal and plastic made tools were plugged into battery-operated ‘electrical’ terminals, and were powerful enough to work through soft materials like balsa wood and styrofoam blocks, which Ideal supplied as ‘building materials’ with the range.
The following Ideal catalogue pages from 1972 are clearly pitched at boys, with descriptions such as: “Bring a man-sized thrill to a kid-sized worker”, and “Boys can play ‘craftsman’ with tools that look exactly like Dad’s”.
Based on American daredevil stuntman Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel, the Evel Knievel toyline was released by the Ideal toy company and became one of the most popular toys sold throughout the 1970s. The line featured an Evel Knievel poseable figure with outfits, accessories, play-sets and a wide range of impressive stunt bikes and vehicles.
US. Ride into adventure. Kull 19. 1976.
US. The exciting adventures of Evel Knievel. Weird Mystery Tales. 1974.
US. The continuing adventures of Evel Knievel. Justice League of America. 1975.
US. The further adventures of Evel Knievel. Superman. 1976.
US. Evel Knievel Miniatures. The Witching Hour. 1977.
Kerplunk was made by Ideal Toys in 1967. Players load the tower with 30 sticks to create a ‘nest’ then place 40 marbles on top of the nest. Players take turns in carefully removing the sticks to prevent any marbles from falling. Fallen marbles accumulate in designated player trays at the base of the tower. The winner is the player with the least amount of fallen marbles at the end of the game.
Shaker Maker is a toy for creating your own figures. The steps are simple and quick: mix their special Magic Mix powder with ordinary water into the provided Shaker, then pour into the two-piece moulds. Your character can be removed after about five minutes and will have already started to set. Once fully hardened after a few days, the character can be painted.
The original toy was licensed by the Ideal company. The earliest advertising I’ve found so far is 1972. As well as Ideal’s People, Animals, and Birds, other sets included Disney, Batman, Superheroes, Buck Rogers, The Lone Ranger, and the Flintstones.