Toys

What Was The Biggest Toy The Year You Were Born?  

Matt Manser
5k views 26 items

You can learn a lot about what the world was like when you were born by examining your birth year's pop culture. The year's most popular movie, highest-rated TV show, and most famous actor or actress offer a window into the era. But do you remember the biggest toy from your birth year? The answer is most likely "no," because you probably don't remember much of anything from that year. If you did have a top toy, it was likely your blankie.

But kids older than you were going nuts for something else. Must-have toys over the years have included Cabbage Patch dolls, action figures, and even a toy invented as a fake prop for a film.

The most popular toys vary from the technologically advanced, such as the Game Boy, to the incredibly simple, such as the building-block game Jenga. If you have a birthday between 1975 and 2000, take a trip down memory lane to find the biggest toy the year you were born.

1975: Pet Rock
1975: Pet Rock is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list What Was The Biggest Toy The Year You Were Born?
Photo: Pet Rock Net/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

While joking around with friends, freelance advertising writer Gary Dahl joked that he had a pet that was completely hassle-free - because it was a rock. He then turned that joke into a reality, and the Pet Rock went on sale in 1975.

The fad quickly went away, but approximately 1.5 million rocks were sold at $4 per pet.

1976: Cher Doll
1976: Cher Doll is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list What Was The Biggest Toy The Year You Were Born?
Photo:  Mego

In 1976, Barbie took a backseat to Cher, known to TV audiences at the time for The Sonny & Cher Show.

The Cher doll had a wardrobe including 35 different gowns, all modeled after her real-life clothes from designer Bob Mackie.

1977: 'Star Wars' Action Figures
1977: 'Star Wars' Action Figur... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list What Was The Biggest Toy The Year You Were Born?
Photo:  Nikon D3200/Pixabay/Public Domain

The first Star Wars movie was a cultural phenomenon, and the toys associated with the film were arguably just as popular. The demand for Star Wars action figures surprised manufacturer Kenner: The toys sold out before the holidays.

Instead of getting the actual action figures for the holidays, many kids had to settle for a "Star Wars Early Bird Certificate Package" that could be exchanged for the toys the following year.

1978: Simon
1978: Simon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list What Was The Biggest Toy The Year You Were Born?
Photo:  Wilton Taylor/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The electronic memory game Simon, in which players have to remember a series of flashing red, blue, yellow, and green lights, cost a whopping $25 when it was released in 1978. Nonetheless, it was a huge seller.

Simon was also heavily hyped, making its formal debut that year at New York's famed disco club Studio 54. The game evolved over the years, taking advantage of newer technology. In 2017, Hasbro released a new version of the game, Simon Optix, featuring a wearable headset.