The toy of the moment

Curio & Co. looks at changing toy trends, with classic comics from Clarence 'Otis' Dooley.

Putting your finger on the pulse of the toy industry can be pretty tough.

Buying presents for kids is usually pretty easy. Find out what the most popular toy of the moment is, and purchase it. Even easier, just have a glance at Santa’s mail before it goes out and you have a complete shopping list. But as this early drawing by Clarence ‘Otis’ Dooley shows, kids’ tastes can change pretty quickly.

One season, it’s everything space toys. The next season it’s race cars with little interchangeable drivers (and you have to have the whole set). Even something as seemingly perennial as dinosaurs can change quicker than you can say brachiosaur. (“You mean you didn’t get the ones with realistic-stomping-action?!?”)

Fortunately, trends seem to come in cycles, and if you hold on to that cuddly Monkey in a Baseball Uniform, you just might find that he’s back en vogue if you’d previously missed the window of cool.

Even still, it’s the thought that counts; and what kid is going to turn down a chance to rip open a gift, even if it isn’t the exact toy of the moment? There’s always the box to play with.