|"Hello? Yes, I'd like to report some children without complete faces...yes, yes, I do have a badge..."|
Here's an interesting antique toy I recently ran across. Interesting, if you can get past the "striking" artwork on the front, which may or may not have been started by one artist, and completed by a second one...
|Into the Uncanny Valley, anyone?|
These "Patrol Phones" aren't really even walkie-talkies at all, but really just a primitive electronic version of two tin cans and a string. Included is "45 Feet of Cord" as the box tells you, which is permanently connected to the battery cover of each phone:
Can you imagine a child's toy today coming with 45 feet of anything? I know there are strict rules now on string or cord lengths--given in INCHES--because of choking hazards...but this toy had enough to lasso a steer with.
Note the "antennae" in the upper left of each phone. As an added feature, to provide some sort of authentic feel to the toy, the antennae, which were made of tightly-coiled springs, were to be extended during use:
But, in actuality, they did absolutely nothing.
The toys were produced by a Japanese company, which shouldn't be a surprise, and I'm sure were a catalog item for Sears stores. Here is the side panel of the box, providing some instructions for use:
Note that you have to depress the side button to speak to someone, which is useful, so your friend will not accidentally hear you berating him, or putting the moves on his girlfriend, from the other side of your fort or treehouse. Also, even though there is a "call" button, you have to push both it AND the "talk" button to call somebody. I'd be interested to know what sound that made, but I have no "C" batteries at home, and it's too big an investment to buy some just for that reason...who keeps "C" batteries at home anyway?
It just occurred to me that this toy is identical in function to early office intercom systems that I saw as a kid in the 70's...I remember they were sold at Radio Shack stores (made by Tandy usually, of course), and were exactly the same thing, just not shaped like a phone. You even ran the same cord between the offices to talk to somebody. How times have changed.
|Kinda like this. As long as you wanted to talk to the SECOND person who had one of these, you were good. Of course, nothing replaces good old-fashioned screaming, like we did it in my house growing up.|
"Tommy #1, Calling Tommy #2! Come in, Tommy #2! Over!"
"Cut that crap out, Tommy. I'm right over here...I can see you. I can hear you yelling, louder than I can hear you in this stupid toy phone."
"Tommy #2, our trap has been successful...we have apprehended two enemy kids, uh, agents, and...they were both riding unicycles, which makes no sense! Over!"
"Quit saying over, or I will make you smell my Bermuda shorts again, you dork! Hurry up and start tying them up with your overly-long cord, but act natural until this kid walking a small brown calf passes by...then, I'll get their lunch money."