Some of these high-demand toys have caused mall mayhem while others are simply timeless classics. Keep reading to see if your favorite made the list.
Hasbro’s G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Before there were “G.I. Joe” movies, comics and shows, there were G.I. Joe action figures. The military toy line got its start in 1964 through Hasbro. This original line of action soldiers were marketed as “America’s movable fighting man,” which became a top pick for young boys and girls.
“For nearly 60 years, G.I. Joe has been synonymous with action,” Zahn told Fox News. “The brand revolutionized the toy department — twice — coining the ‘action figure’ name as the first wave of 12-inch military figures hit stores in the 1960s, and again in 1982 when the brand was reinvented as a 3.75-inch line of action figures, vehicles, and playsets supported by a hit cartoon and comic book series.”
Louis Marx Toy Co.’s The Original Big Wheel
In 1969, the Louis Marx Toy Company debuted The Original Big Wheel – a low-riding tricycle with a massive 16-inch wheel. These tricycles were and continue to be popular among toddlers and young children under the age of 10.
“The three-wheeled trike became a massive hit in the ‘70s and inspired countless knockoffs and also-rans to the point that ‘big wheel’ became a catch-all term for any similar trike,” said Zahn. “While The Original Big Wheel has changed hands many times over the years, it’s still sold today by a company called J. Lloyd International and has inspired a modern range of high-end ‘drift trikes’ enjoyed by kids and adults.”
Little Tikes’ Cozy Coupe
A decade after The Original Big Wheel, American children were pedaling along in a different kind of ride. This time, it was the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe that captured the hearts of kids, usually between the ages of one and five. Zahn told Fox the kid-powered car was manufactured in Ohio and quickly became an “American icon.”
“Created by the late Jim Mariol — a former Chrysler designer — the Cozy Coupe features an unmistakable curved design and yellow and red color scheme that is instantly recognizable by kids and adults,” said Zahn. “It’s a cross-generational toy that has evolved over the years with some modern flair, but at the end of the day, it’s still the same fun ride that kids have been rockin’ the neighborhood in for more than 40 years.”
Coleco’s Cabbage Patch Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids entered the American toy scene in 1982 through Coleco Industries, Inc. The line of plastic head, cloth body dolls were designed by toymaker Xavier Roberts, and it didn’t take long for this line to become “must-have holiday toys,” according to Zahn.
“Few toys have ever matched the gotta-have-it level of Cabbage Patch Kids to the point where nearly every single girl and boy had it on their holiday wish list,” said Zahn. “The Cabbage Patch Kids riots of 1983 had parents and grandparents literally fist-fighting one another for a shot at purchasing the dolls. The craze also really ignited the secondary market of scalpers and flippers as opportunists began selling Cabbage Patch Kids from the trunks of their cars.”
“A decade later, the popularity of Cabbage Patch Kids largely inspired the plot of the holiday film, ‘Jingle All the Way,’” Zahn continued. “The license to make Cabbage Patch Kids has been granted to many companies since the ‘80s and is now held by Jazwares.”
TYCO’s Tickle Me Elmo
Sesame Street’s Elmo led to one of the most successful toy launches to date with Tyco Toys’ Tickle Me Elmo. The squeezable plush toy would talk, laugh and shake whenever kids pressed its button, which was located on the furry character’s belly.
“When TYCO launched Tickle Me Elmo in the summer of ‘96, no one expected the little, red Muppet to be such a hit,” Zahn told Fox “By the time Black Friday rolled around, it was a different story as shoppers from coast-to-coast stormed retailers as doors opened and practically trampled one another. Fights and injuries were reported throughout the holiday season as the supply was exhausted. While we’ll probably never see a craze on that level again, Hasbro released a 25th anniversary ‘Tickliest Tickle Me Elmo’ this year.”