Ghosts of Presents Past

The 1950s

by Jessy Krupa

28 December 2010

Here’s a look at gifts from over 50 years ago.

Now that the Christmas season has passed and the gifts have already been received, let’s take a nostalgic look at popular gifts through the years. The 1950’s marked the beginning of mass TV advertising, making the following items popular gift ideas.

Remco Electronic Transistor Radio: It was the iPod of the 1950s. Brand new transistor technology made radios so inexpensive that children could put one together as a science lesson.


Barbie: The world’s most famous doll made her debut in 1959, with this commercial attracting attention from the young viewers of The Mickey Mouse Club.


Roger Maris Action Baseball: Maris was one of the most famous athletes at the time, and kids were impressed by something he endorsed.


Movieland Drive-In Theater: Local TV stations often show this old ad during reruns of Have Gun, Will Travel, one of the “films” the toy features.


Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head: In those days, you had to supply your own potato or other vegetable. The plastic body that we’ve come to recognize now in commercials, a ‘90s animated TV series, and the Toy Story movies, didn’t hit shelves until the ‘70s.


Silly Putty: It remains a popular stocking stuffer to this very day. Have you ever noticed that when you pick up newsprint with it, it doesn’t stretch as much?


Gillette Razor: Adults get presents, too, and this was a standard gift for men.


Frigidaire Refrigerator: Airing during one of Bob Hope Christmas Specials, this ad for a rather large, but not exactly thrilling, gift was geared towards moms.


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