Politically Incorrect Vintage Toys You've Never Seen Before
The Nutty Mad Indian is one of many controversial toys from the Marx Toy Company
The modern toy industry sees its fair share of controversy as we start to think harder about what messages we really want to tell our children, but back in the day, we apparently never gave it a second thought. Either that or we assumed children would be delighted to spend their precious playtime hours psychologically and sometimes physically injuring themselves, with varying success. Those politically incorrect times resulted in some very politically incorrect toys that will drop your jaw all these years later. Let's begin our horrifying journey, shall we?
The name alone seems highly suspect, but Nutty Mad was actually an entire line of toys made by the Marx Toy Company in the 1960s and not a comment upon the "Indian" himself. Based on the designs of Mad Magazine artists, the figures were intended to look grotesque, featuring ghoulish expressions and bulging, bloodshot eyes. Vikings and soldiers were counted among Nutty Mad's original series, so they could proudly claim that they didn't shy away from skewering anyone, no matter how revered the figure, but some of them give the modern consumer certain pause. One, called Mudder, is an aging woman with a pendulous bosom and a baby slung casually by the waist over her hip while she ominously clutches a frying pan. Another, called Donald the Demon, is a terrifying man-duck hybrid. The Marx Toy Company apparently saw no reason not to extend this treatment to indigenous peoples.
The Nutty Mad Indian With War Whoop features the signature swollen, reddened eyes of the toy line, but he's also smiling, with his tongue hanging out in a caricature of stereotypical Native depictions. The tongue actually vibrates when the battery-powered toy is activated, while emitting the most melodious "war whoop" this side of Peter Pan. It sounds more like the song of a pretty little bird than a fearsome call to violence. At the same time, it beats a drum in what can only loosely be called a "rhythm."
Nutty Mads are considered collectibles these days, and while most of them only fetch around $10 or $15, the Nutty Mad Indian With War Whoop sold for $120 in 2018. It's not clear why they're so rare, but they're not listed among the Nutty Mad original series, so it seems that Nutty Mad was all too eager to discontinue and disassociate from them. The Nutty Mad Indian With War Whoop wasn't even the only Native figure that Nutty Mad produced, however. Chief Lost Teepee, of all the possible names they could have gone with, sits cross-legged on top of a skeletal donkey, which seems like a very easy way to find yourself soon not sitting on top of a skeletal donkey. He wears a more placid, Jim Varney--like expression, but features the same cartoonishly crossed eyes. He sells for considerably less.
This 1960's School Bus Toy was made by a company named "Gay Toys"
Okay, yes, this looks bad. At first glance, it's unclear whether the school bus itself prefers same-gender school bus partners or it serves as exclusive transportation for those who do, but either way, it's not your first pick for playtime fun. Digging deeper reveals, however, that the school bus toy was manufactured by a company called the Gay Toy Company who simply slapped that name on their proprietary school bus. We can't exactly fault them for choosing that name in the '60s without knowing what connotations that word would have in the future, but still, it's probably not a great choice for Junior's nursery today.
"Am I Like Father" Cigarette and Match toy helps kids get into the habit
The 1950s were a more innocent time, when people were wowed by the fancy new talking boxes in their living rooms and didn't know smoking could kill you. Such was the climate that produced the "Am I Like Father?" toy cigarette. Unlike the candy cigarettes we all fondly remember, you didn't even get delicious bubblegum at the end, just brainwashed by corporations with a vested interest in making sure you know that you have to buy their deadly product if you want to be a rugged manly man like your dear old dad. Bonus points are awarded for the "Pirate Match" that inexplicably features Native American characters on its label.
The Atom Bomber toy used colorful targets to get boys excited about nuclear war
Little boys have been playing with model airplanes since the Wright Brothers first achieved flight, but fresh off World War II and staring down the Cold War, Thomas Toys saw an opportunity to put a spin on the classic prototype. Featuring actual bombs and bomb bay doors, the Atom Bomber plane promised to train future soldiers for their long careers of annihilating civilians. The targets on the back of the box included a convoy of trucks, a clearly populated military base, and a visible human driving a tank. (He's worth 100 points.) If you feel the urge to simulate nuclear destruction and have fun doing it, you can still buy this toy online for the low, low price of $160.
Can't get your hands on an actual grenade? Try a Chemtoy Cap Bomb instead
If aerial bombing is a little too long-distance for you and you'd prefer to be right in the thick of the action despite being five years old, the Chemtoy Cap Bomb is just the thing for you. Die cast in cold silver metal, it's a grenade so terrifyingly realistic that your mom will make you put it away when your veteran uncle comes over, just in case. It doesn't appear to do anything. You just throw it at your friends and pretend to watch the resulting explosion rip their bodies apart. What? How did you spend your afternoons after school? Watching cartoons? Weakling.
Steer clear of this Chinese Make-Up Kit if you plan on running for public office
For those children who got inspired by Mickey Rooney's performance in Breakfast At Tiffany's despite the fact that they really shouldn't have been watching it to begin with, this make-up kit must have been a delightful stocking stuffer. Complete with a tan cream base to really perfect your "minstrel show" look, a black crayon-like tool to create your new Asian eye shape, and also a red one for some reason (this clearly isn't a "geisha" look you're going for, after all---that's an entirely different country), it contains everything you need for a fun photo shoot that will be catastrophic for your political career when it inevitably resurfaces.
This vintage toy Hubley Detective Pistol turned children into walking Raymond Chandler novels
These days, even colorful Nerf guns can bring harsh and occasionally disastrous consequences to the children who wield them, but back in the day, you could apparently run around playing detective with this startlingly realistic metal gun without a care in the world aside from the sergeant riding your hide. You can't help it; you're a loose canon. As if the shiny metal look wasn't bad enough, it comes emblazoned with a word that, yes, was often a nickname for detectives in the '30s and '40s when this toy was manufactured, but not one we like to hear from children these days.
This Dick Tracy toy making fun of the homeless is a bad character, but not because he lives in the sewer
The character of Steve The Tramp in the classic Dick Tracy cartoons was a no-good scoundrel for sure, but it was more his proclivity for abusing children and disregard for property law than his vagrant status that made him so despicable. Still, when it came time to design a figurine portraying the character for the brand's Coppers and Gangsters series, the marketing team decided to focus on Steve's odor and drainage-dwelling than any of his truly deplorable traits. The figure, which is remarkably still available for sale, ends up painting all homeless people with Steve's questionably moral brush instead of maligning a specific character of ill-repute.
The E.T. "Finger Light" wasn't just for kids
It may be surprising to see that such clearly poorly thought-out toys were still being produced as late as 1982, the year E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was released, but it just goes to show how far we've come in such little time. The flesh-colored, unsettlingly phallic finger light was quickly recalled in favor of an entire glove, but not before presumably giving a lot of little girls weird feelings about the little gray alien when they grew up and started buying noticeably similar toys. You can, of course, still buy the original finger light if you've got a hefty chunk of change and some very strange predilections.
The copyeditor for the Hairdresser kit should have taken a second pass at this design
Once again, the evolution of language rears its ugly head to bring us a disastrously named toy that appears to be a relic from the mid-20th century, if the words chosen for the box are any indication. While, again, "gay" had a very different meaning in such times, it was an unfortunate choice to select "hairdresser" as the occupation to encourage boys to "grow up" to be. The play set appears to have been sadly lost to time, but it's emergence as an Internet meme has since caused the artifact to be embraced and rebranded as part of a series of career-themed magnet sets that also includes "fashion designer," "figure skater," and curiously, "waiter."
Junkyard Dog was a great wrestler with a not so great name
Before you get the wrong idea, you should know that Junkyard Dog was a real man who really looked like this. His real name was Sylvester Ritter, and he was a professional wrestler from the late '70s until the early '90s who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1998. Having chosen the nickname "Junkyard Dog" from the lyrics of Jim Croce's 1973 hit "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," he famously entered the ring wearing wearing a dog collar laden with chains. Stripped of its context, however, the sight of a black man in chains can be unsettling to stumble upon in a Goodwill toy bin, especially when the package compares him to an animal.
These Lovable Smoking Pets really wanted to convince kids to smoke
If toy and candy cigarettes aren't enough to convince you of the joy of smoking, how 'bout some famous cartoon characters? The makers of these figurines sold in the '60s and '70s were determined to associate smoking with the lovable Hanna-Barbera characters Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear, no matter how little sense it made. The instructions indicate that the figurines somehow blow smoke rings when the included prop is lit and placed in their mouths, but according to one collector, it works "pretty much" like incense and "the novelty cigarette does all the work." It's not clear why they're specifically travel toys; perhaps they're meant to decorate the dashboard? If nothing else, though, intentionally lighting something on fire on your dashboard seems like a very bad idea.
Luscious limbs toy food tastes better than "Soylent Green"
What's for dinner? Cannibalism! People from the mid-20th century famously put everything in Jello, but it usually took the form of a bundt pan or other traditional mold, not human body parts. According to the package, it includes the molds and the gelatin mix for your convenience. "Just mix with water, mold and eat"! This is what passed for a toy in those days: Food production. Listen, growing up before TV was hard, and if your parents had to explain that it's okay to eat these ears and hands but not your little brother's, well, that was just the price they paid.
Mary the Housewife toys taught girls that they had one thing in their future
The "Mary the House-Wife" play set makes it very clear exactly what the contemporary expectations of housewives were, i.e. less "wife," more "house." The set, documented by photographer and vintage toy collector David Murphey along with many other toys featured here, is indistinguishable from one you'd give little girls who want to play maid. It includes an apron, frying pan, broom, dust pan, washboard, basin, bucket (but inexplicably, no mop), and a ... jump rope? They did give her dishwasher detergent, so at least the poor thing doesn't have to wash her invisible husband's dishes by hand.
Offend your friends and neighbors with the Minstrel Makeup Kit
If you thought the "Chinese make-up kit" was uncomfortably close to minstrelsy, get a load of its companion, an actual minstrel make-up kit. It's hard to believe that children were such fans of Civil War--era comedy, but for just 10 cents, they apparently bought this kit for hours of questionable fun. Much like the Chinese kit, it includes a base foundation and two crayon-like applicators, but the base foundation is black (obviously) and the other two items are both red. This makes sense, as you'll need to use them to completely cover the entire bottom half of your face.
Mister Merry's play lighter toy with bubble gum cigarettes actually taught children how to light up
The phrase "playing with fire" just got a whole lot more literal. Not doing it is generally the first thing children learn as soon as they're mobile, but not if Philip Morris has anything to say about it. While other cigarette toys at least half-heartedly attempt to mask the obvious corporate indoctrination with appeals instead to a child's favorite adults and/or cartoon characters, this toy threw the entire notion of subtlety out the window by placing the corporate logo dead center on the bonus fun pack of bubble gum cigarettes. The fun Zippo-like lighter glowed when you spun the wheel, acclimating children to the very thing nobody ever wants them to do.
This poorly named baby doll is a read head shaker
On its face, there's nothing inherently offensive about giving a baby a stuffed monkey. "Li'l monkey" is even a common name for parents to affectionately call their children. However, given the common comparison of the black population to the lower primates, it's hard to believe anyone thought this was a good idea. Indeed, it appears to be a harmless oversight: The "Li'l Monkey" doll and her stuffed buddy---as well as her counterpart, "Pretty Panda," who clutched her own animal of the same name---were available in black, white, and Hispanic models. Still, the sight proved to be unacceptable to consumers, and the dolls were recalled.
The Red Indian plastic toy was a little on the nose
Though their complexion is obviously nowhere near crimson, the color red has been associated with Native populations since the beginning of America, and boy, does this figurine take it to the extreme. Not only is the man himself cast in a garish shade of red, so are his eyes, hair, clothes, jewelry, and even his tomahawk. Where exactly did this manufacturer think they were getting fire-engine stones? They know "redwood" is just a name, right? Combined with the aggressive posture and menacing expression, something tells us that harmony and understanding were not the goals of this unfortunately modeled toy.
The Beetle Bailey Rubber Band Gun encouraged kids to harass the women in their life
Children have been wielding slingshots from Dennis the Menace right up through Bart Simpson, so the idea of just flinging the rubber band instead of a projectile doesn't seem so bad. In fact, it might be preferable, depending on the projectile. However, the marketing of this toy, under the brand of the popular comic strip character Beetle Bailey, is certainly alarming from a modern perspective. Firing rubber bands at a person's unwittingly exposed rear is never acceptable, no matter how comically inept of a soldier you are, and neither is leering while your younger recruits take aim. What a creep.
Why yes, the Tiny Ding Dong pull toy from Fisher-Price is the worst name that someone could give a train figurine
Oh, boy. Where to begin with this one. The "tiny" part? The "ding-dong"? The pulling of the tiny ding-dong? To be fair to Fisher-Price, they had no way of knowing in 1940 that modern people would have such childish senses of humor, but if you can say "pull the Tiny Ding-Dong" without chuckling, you'd make a killing as a living statue because you have an excellent poker face. "Tiny" is, in fact, the elephant's name, while the "ding-dong" part is less clear. Is it the name of the train, or does it refer to the bell that Tiny rings when you pull his ding-dong? Such mysteries aren't meant to have answers.
The "Twin Tower Terrors" made sure kids never forgot the terror attacks in New York City
It's been fun and games up to this point, but this must be some seriously prescient Twilight Zone stuff, right? Fortunately, no. The toy appeared a few years after the September 11 attacks---which, yes, at this point can be considered history no matter how old it makes you feel---in bags of candy distributed to grocery stores around the country by the Lisy Corporation. Whoever made the toys seems to have known exactly how offensive they were and intended it as a prank upon Lisy, who bought the toys in bulk sight-unseen, and the unsuspecting public. After they were discovered, they were immediately and desperately recalled.
This vintage tin toy is as creepy as it is racist
What's scarier, clowns or minstrel shows? That's the question this vintage tin lithograph toy depicting a clown violently approaching a minstrel character in a wooden barrel invites us to consider, entirely unwelcomely. Further questions to ponder: What is the clown doing? Is he beating the man with the baguette? Did he just happen to discover a yeasty treat at the same time he happened upon his cartoonishly made-up friend? As close to an explanation as we're going to get is the fact the toy allegedly originated in Germany, which has a somewhat different relationship with blackface (and clowns, apparently) than the U.S.
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was definitely exciting, but it wasn't safe
A.C. Gilbert was an interesting guy. He brought generations of future engineers years of fun with his signature Erector Sets, but he also decided in 1950 that real fun is toying with atomic energy. The U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was no exercise in make believe---it included a small sample of real atomic matter and a cloud chamber with which to view your experiments with it. Although Gilbert's company assured the public it was completely safe, you know how this can go wrong if you've ever met a child who was entirely too smart, and even consumers of 1950 knew that. It was quickly discontinued, presumably while the company's scientists muttered about stupid squares never letting them having any fun.
The Sixfinger managed to be dangerous while looking gross
The toy guns we've seen so far have been pretty troubling, but we all know that the shot that takes you down is the one you never see coming. The Sixfinger by Topper, released in the 1960s, not only concealed itself innocently alongside your real fingers, it shot real explosives as well as comically harmless things like "message missiles" that were simply an aggressive way to pass notes to your friends. It just seems wrong that an actual covert weapon should also be able to shapeshift into a ballpoint pen, although it does seem like James Bond would approve. Okay, yes, it also looks like male genitalia.
The Swing Wing caused its fair share of neck problems in the '60s
Do you find it enjoyable to jerk your head around in a circle until you're incapacitated and in need of a chiropractor? No? That means you're normal, but it also means the Transogram Company is completely baffled by you. They were sure when they released the Swing Wing, essentially a cord attached to a helmet that could be swung around your head if you're so inclined for whatever reason, in 1965 that they had struck toy gold. A commercial that has since become infamous certainly does its best to fail to convince you that you're going to have a great and medically harmless time. It doesn't help that the box art shows users swinging their wings dangerously close to each other. They probably have their helmets pulled down over their eyes because they lost them.
Stevens' Model Dockyard Locomotive produced live steam that burned anyone playing with it
"What an artfully rusted model train," you might think upon seeing the Stevens' Model Dockyard Locomotive. That may be rust, but it ain't art, and it's no model, not entirely. It looks so old because it's from 1887, a time when no thought was given to blasting a child with steam. Yes, the Stevens Model Dockyard line of toy trains boasted the capacity to emit live steam from their engines. It wasn't just trains, either: The company also made a number of model steam-powered naval vessels and tools "as well as complete stationary steam-driven power plants" for the little industrial tycoon in the family. We're careful not to bathe children in water any hotter than tepid today, but the risk of full-on steam burns were apparently tolerated until 1928, when the company mysteriously went out of business.
Vintage Sunny Suzy Chrome Plated Electric Iron made sure girls learned to do chores at an early age
The Sunny Suzy electric iron packs an impressive one-two punch of domestic conditioning and physical danger. The chrome-plated iron really heated up when you plugged it into an outlet so little girls could practice burning themselves on their husbands' dress shirts. It was part of the Sunny Suzy and Sandy Andy line of toys produced by Wolverine from the 1920s to the 1960s to teach children traditional gender roles. (Andy got fun sand toys. No fair.) The good news is that no one uses irons anymore, so even if a modern parent got it into their heads to buy this for their child, there would no chance of the little one assuming they could handle a big girl iron just as well.
The Super Elastic Bubble Plastic was fun and deadly
You don't even have to be particularly old to remember this one. Wham-O, the makers of such classic toys as the Hula Hoop and Slip 'n' Slide, had a rare miss with Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, those little tubes of goo you could squirt onto the end of a straw to blow solid plastic bubbles. It's not that it wasn't popular---it's that it was a health hazard. It turned out that the chemicals in the goo emitted noxious fumes that were dangerous to inhale, say, through a straw. Wham-O quietly counted its money and discontinued the product in the '80s.
The original Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker in 1964 introduced kids to noxious chemicals and scalding tools
Finding your child playing with a circus of insects is alarming enough, and that's when it doesn't involve toxic chemicals and scalding-hot tools. Released in 1964 by Mattel, the Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker allowed children to create all manner of worms and bugs out of "PlastiGoop," a mixture of chemicals that gave off toxic fumes when it was heated up to 350 degrees in the included oven that solidified the creations. Although seemingly thoroughly unappealing, the toy was popular enough that even after it was discontinued, it was rebooted in safer and safer versions right up through the '90s, featuring nontoxic chemicals and less dangerous heating methods.
The Wham-O Air Blaster toy helped kids cause permanent ear damage in the '60s
Wham-O struck failure again in the '60s with the Air Blaster, a plastic gun that shot air instead of dangerous objects by first pulling on a lever that sucked compressed air into its chamber before releasing it with enough force to blow out candles from across the room. This might seem like a step up from more ostentatious toy guns, but it proved to be a disaster when children figured out they could still use it to launch objects. They also had a tendency to blast the powerful gust point-blank into their friends' ears as a prank that carried very permanent consequences.
Rollerblade Barbie was a pyromaniac's dream
Rollerblade Barbie was a doll released by the famous brand in the early '90s to capitalize on the hot new trend of inline skating featuring rollerblades that "flicker 'n flash." Seems harmless enough, right? Well, those flickers and flashes weren't the product of electric lights---they were good, old-fashioned, very real sparks created by flint just like those found in cigarette lighters embedded in the wheels. If they hadn't already been discontinued for obvious reasons by the time writer Dave Barry appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman to demonstrate the dolls' danger by using them to light a pair of underwear on fire, they certainly would have been shortly afterward.
Powermite Working Power Tools helped young carpenters destroy their parent's furniture
We've all seen little kids in adorable tiny hard hats playing with adorable tiny hammers and screwdrivers just like their parents', but those are plastic and not electric-powered. They are for modern cowards. In the '60s, Powermite came out with a line of real working power tools for kids to rain down destruction. True, the electric drills, sanders, and a variety of saws were only sharp enough to cut through thin balsa wood and styrofoam, so nobody lost any limbs, but how many pieces of antique furniture do you think became the tragic victims of unwanted juvenile makeovers?
Moonshoes were ankle breaking fashion statements
Everyone remembers Moon Shoes! They're tiny trampolines for your feet! Although you may or may not have fond memories of bouncing around on a pair, they date back to at least the Space Race, intended to capitalize on the world's mounting interest in zero-gravity atmospheres. Back then, though, they were made out of metal, supported by thick, exposed coils just waiting to pinch a finger while it breaks your ankle. It's no surprise that they were revamped in friendly plastic and velcro by the time Nickelodeon got its hands on them in the '80s, but you should probably still wear a helmet.
Hake's Austin Magic Pistol used combustable chemicals to fire ping pong balls at terrifying speeds
The Hake's Austin Magic Pistol was what psychopaths wish Nerf guns could be, firing ping-pong balls at a speed they were never meant to travel. It was a small tin gun that contained calcium carbide crystals that, when mixed with water, produced a gas that was ignited when you pulled the trigger, firing the balls in a manner very similar to a real gun. Like anything advertised with a big capitalized declaration of "HARMLESS," users reported errant sparks flying toward them from the flimsy cap on the back, just in case chemical combustion wasn't enough to convince you to steer clear.
The Gilbert Glass Blowing set encouraged kids to create glass without safety equipment
Ah, A.C. Gilbert, we meet again. This time---and by that, we mean still the 1950s---he's encouraging children to shape molten glass with their mouths without a shard of safety equipment. There were plenty of other shards, though. The experiments encouraged in the accompanying instruction booklet included step-by-step directions for how to cut glass tubes, break them, smooth the edges over an open flame, and that's all before you use an essential part of your digestive system to form hot glass. You could make some pretty cool "water balloons" in a glass beaker, though. You could even make them race!
Witch Doctor head shrinkers kit created a generation of creepy kids
If there's anything kids love, it's voodoo and body horror. Okay, this relic of the 1960s didn't include anyone's actual head, but by mixing the "plastic flesh" in the witchy "mixing cauldron" with "petrifying potion" and pouring it into a terrifying mold, you could have a tiny, disgusting plastic head within minutes! That's when the fun really begins. After you add the "monster hair" and paint on a grotesque death mask, you just wait 24 hours for your head to shrivel into an even tinier and more terrifying withered hunk of cranium. Hopefully the cauldron at least came in handy as Halloween decoration.
The Gilbert Chemistry Set included instructions for poison and "jet fuel"
Once again, A.C. Gilbert has arrived to scar us, physically and psychologically. This chemistry set, the first of its kind, was actually the first science product released by what was previously a manufacturer of magic kits. While chemistry sets still exist today, Gilbert's 1922 set had none of the paltry bubbles and wimpy fizzes of today's sets. His chemistry set featured an array of intense chemicals, as you can see in the above image, including the ingredients for rocket fuel and actual poison. One of the chemicals, sodium cyanide, could be used to dissolve gold, which is pretty cool. It can also kill you in vanishingly small amounts, which is less cool. We have no explanation for the rocket fuel.
Gilbert Molten Lead Casting Kit invited kids to scald themselves with molten lead
This is A.C. Gilbert's last appearance on this list, and it couldn't have come soon enough. At least the metal casting kit, unlike the glass blowing kit, didn't directly put any part of a child's body in harm's way, but it's still probably a bad idea to have them handling molten metal. After heating the metal in the included melting pot, children poured the contents into molds in the shape of soldiers, athletes, and other suitably celebrated figures that hopefully made them forget what nerds they were. There were dozens of these molds and many of them were bought individually, potentially making it the very first "accessories sold separately."
Jarts lawn darts missile game, the last game of darts you may ever play
Have you ever gotten so bored that you and your friends decided to just throw knives at each other? Well, in the '80s, a lot of families did. Lawn darts, a game that involves throwing sharp objects across the grass at hopefully non-human targets, were a backyard staple in that colorful decade. After a little girl was killed by a lawn dart in 1987, proving what everybody must have already known---that this was the most dangerous possible game---lawn darts were formally banned in the U.S. They had previously been classified as an "adults only" game, but that didn't prevent over 6,000 people, mostly children, from being seriously injured over a period of eight years.
The Little Lady electric stove burned girls while it taught them to cook
It may seem like the boys are getting all the injuries while the girls are just getting chores, but domesticity has its dangers. The Little Lady electric stove taught girls that, and also hopefully to keep their hands off the burners that could get as hot as 500 degrees. This was, amazingly, a safer version of an earlier toy. Before 1924, when electric toy stoves started being produced, children played with cast iron toy stoves that used coal and alcohol to power their burners. Soon enough, however, wartime metal shortages meant the toys could no longer be produced, and by the time the war was over, everyone presumably realized what a horrifying idea they were.
Wear these Chop Suey Specs to make sure you offend literally everyone
If the Chinese make-up kit just seems like two much work, the Chop Suey Specs may be just the thing for all your bad impression needs. They've been around since at least the '60s and caused a controversy in the '90s when Exene Cervanka, singer of the punk rock band X, took up their cause. The package of the poorly constructed glasses fitted with cartoonishly fake eyes insists you can "fool your friends with this oriental disguise," but it seems like your friends would probably already know which of their friends is the jerk who would wear these glasses. They're also probably not really your friends.
An 1882 piggybank has all of the 19th century’s normalized racism in one toy
Let's forget about the words on the package of this coin bank. Well, let's not forget about it, but let's acknowledge it and move onto the many, many other things that are wrong with this figurine. After all, when it was being sold as late as 2016, that particular word had been removed from the design, but the minstrel-like figure's ears still wiggled and its eyes still rolled as it "greedily" swallowed coins placed in its mouth. It's important to remember that inequality goes beyond slurs, and if it takes a piggy bank like this to teach us that ... yeah, we can probably still do without it.
This Batman water pistol is best left in the bargain bin
It would have been difficult to make a Batman-shaped water gun without making it look inappropriate. He has to be bending over to create the shape of a water gun, and the trigger would then necessarily have to fall within his bathing suit area. It's just the way the human body is. What that means is that a Batman-shaped water gun should not have been made, but during Adam West's heyday, the DC brand clearly felt differently, and now we all have to suffer. In case you were wondering, yes, the traditional location of the filling receptacle on a water gun also ends up in a very unfortunate place.
Is that a giant drill in your pants or are you just a part of the Shape Shifter line of Marvel Deluxe toys?
Speaking of inappropriate superheroes, the 1999 line of "shapeshifter" Marvel action figures is ... mostly fine. Most of the figures are equipped to transform their body shapes in reasonable and non-embarrassing ways. And then there's the Punisher. Poor Frank Castle can not only be altered to thrust forth a gun from a very Freudian place, his intended final form makes him appear to be ... shooting it out of his body. From the place where things normally exit the body. If there's one thing toy manufacturers should take away from these images, it's the utmost importance of focus groups. Putting this guy in the hands of the most demented kids you can find would have immediately revealed it woeful flaws, but alas, they got what they got.