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.
Viva Knievel! 1977 film. Japanese Chirashi
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.
Shaker Magique – France.
Mousetrap is a board game from the Ideal toy company that was produced in 1963. It’s gameplay can be perhaps best summed up by one if its advertisement jingles from the 1990s:
“Just turn the crank, and snap the plank, and boot the marble right down the chute, now watch it roll and hit the pole, and knock the ball in the rub-a-dub tub, which hits the man into the pan. The trap is set, here comes the net! Mouse trap, I guarantee, it’s the craziest trap you’ll ever see.”
The pic below shows a 1972 Ideal catalogue page.
1980 advert showing the French version of the game known as Traque-Souris.
Buckaroo is a turn-taking game of balance that involves hooking items onto the saddle of a mule before it can ‘buck’ the items off. The toy was released in the UK by Ideal in 1970 and went on to become a global hit. Buckaroo is still sold to date and remains a popular toy.