Friday, Sep 23, 2011
by Ned Wazowski
Wrangling classic toys into the 21st century
Politics has shaken up another childhood favorite.
Congressional decisions rarely improve classic toys, but the toy world was sizzling last week when Hasbro unveiled the all-new Easy Bake Oven. The new version replaces the 100 Watt incandescent light bulbs used in previous versions with a dedicated heating element. The replacement was necessary due to the US Government’s greener lighting policy which will ban incandescent light bulbs, naturally making older models obsolete. And surprisingly, the change in policy will result in a better toy, closer to an actual oven.
The Easy Bake Oven is not the first classic toy to receive a major overhaul. It’s hard to find a Slinky that’s not made out of plastic these days. While a plastic Slinky may be less likely to tangle, it hardly evokes the 1940s battleship springs that inspired the original. And poor Mr. Potato Head – who used to be an actual potato – was given the plastic treatment long ago. What’s exciting about the Easy Bake Oven’s change is that it really will improve the experience for kids – even if it looks a little like a purple toaster.The Easy Bake Oven was first introduced by Kenner Products in 1963. From that first model, available in turquoise or yellow, the ovens used light bulbs to cook cakes and cookies at 375 degrees. Of course, there’s no telling whether the heating element change will improve the taste of those questionable confections. (Margie admits to having skipped the mixes as a child and just cooked her Fisher Price people.)
When my Mom was little, they kept all of their Bunchy bottle caps in an...