> Lifespan: 1976-1980
> Maker: Mego Corporation
This line of futuristic toys was based on the Japanese toy line Microman. The interchangeable robot action figures, vehicles, and play sets were similar to Transformers and contained multiple connectors that allowed them to be combined with other toys in the set. Micronauts sold extremely well, but were discontinued in the prelude to Mego’s bankruptcy and dissolution in 1982.
Jem and the Holograms
> Lifespan: 1986 & 1987
> Maker: Mattel
Based on an animated television series about a record executive and lead singer in a rock band, Jem and Holograms dolls were released with the show and produced through the next year. Competition with the similar Mattel line Barbie and the Rockers led to underperformance and the dolls were discontinued in 1987, although the show continued through 1988.
> Lifespan: 1985-1988
> Maker: Kenner Products
Released with an animated series about an underground crime fighting task force called the Mobile Armored Strike Command, M.A.S.K. action figures featured vehicles with hidden weapons, and characters with masks that afforded the wearer special abilities. Although the series only lasted two seasons, the toy line was produced for four years.
> Lifespan: 1913-present
> Maker: A.C. Gilbert/Gabriel
Once the most popular construction toy in the United States, Erector Sets were kits of metal building materials used to make both stationary and movable structures including clocks, trains, and ferris wheels. Eventually motors, light bulbs, and electrical switches were sold with the kits. The original maker, A.C. Gilbert Co. went bankrupt in 1967; and though multiple companies have acquired the brand since then, Erector’s time in the limelight has largely passed and the current iterations bear little resemblance to the original..
> Lifespan: 1985-early 1990s
> Maker: Mattel
Designed as friends of Barbie who preferred a family-oriented lifestyle, the Heart Family included a mother and father with twin toddlers. The family was so popular that two years after its release, it grew to include a new baby and a set of grandparents. Various themed dolls and props provided a bath time scene, Disneyland visit, and a baby that could drink and wet its diaper.
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