By: Marc Fischer and Public Collectors
5.5 in X 8.5 in
I learned about the magazine Playthings while working on Library Excavations #3, which surveys business periodicals located at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. Playthings is a long-running trade magazine for the toy manufacturing and retail industry. It covers sales trends, market findings, and other matters of importance to toy makers and sellers. Playthings also regularly includes notices to the trade that highlight the darker legal corners of manufactured fun and games. This issue of Library Excavations reprints a variety of these paid notices, spanning the years 1977 through 1985. These were some of the critical toy-consuming years of my childhood. I enjoyed perusing all of the sales pitches for Six Million Dollar Man dolls, Shogun Warriors, Micronauts and other youth favorites in Playthings, but my middle-age eye is more critical and refuses to get too teary and romantic. Let’s hop on our Big Wheels and take a ride through the litigious side of the toy world. Here, every stolen idea, licensing rights violation, and overly similar detail on the body of a cuddly friend, is a hefty lawsuit just waiting to happen. — Marc Fischer
Library Excavations is a project and publication series that highlights and activates physical materials found in public libraries. Public Collectors prefers direct experiences of physical media over the digital. Library Excavations encourages intensive browsing of paper and print resources, particularly those that are under-utilized, or at risk of being withdrawn and discarded.