When Santa slips

Santa makes mistakes too, concludes this MarketWatch story on dangerous and dull toys.

“I call them the ‘Toys From Hell,'” said Tim Walsh, author of Timeless Toys and a top industry historian. “Look at lawn darts: A weighted spike that you would throw up into the air. What genius invented that?”

Lawn darts, sold under various brand names including Jarts, were banned by the CPSC in 1988 after being involved in the deaths of three children.

As a child, Walsh suffered third-degree burns on his hand when he spilled molten plastic from a mold-your-own Creepy Crawlers set.

Then there are toys that sit unsold on the shelf, like the Jesus doll.

“People were a little nervous about buying it, thinking you shouldn’t be playing with Jesus,” he said. And when it failed, the traditional means of getting off the shelves — discounting — were generally unusable as well.

For, as Walsh put it, “How do you mark down Jesus?”

Maybe that’s why 4,000 talking Jesus dolls were donated to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. After initially turning down the donation, the Marines agreed to take the dolls and work through church groups to ensure they’ll go to Christian children — most of whom probably would prefer GI Joe or Barbie.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Chemistry sets are no fun anymore, either.