Recollections: Wonder Bread’s ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Trading Cards

It sounds ludicrous now, but the neighborhood grocery store was once an exciting destination for kids. Along with a serviceable “toy section,” where you might find an overpriced Micronaut or Metal-Man, dinosaur and army man playsets, Presto Magix “dry transfers” (the paper had a distinctive and delicious smell), die-cast mean machines like Dyna-Flytes, and a host of other tangible pleasures…

A Dream of Middle Class Respectability: ‘Crisis in Levittown’, 1957

After returning from World War II, William Levitt, the son of an upscale real estate developer, set out to build affordable homes for the millions of veterans that needed one. Using mass production methods innovated at the beginning of the century by the Ford Motor Company and taught to him during his tour as a Navy Seabee—and by cutting out union workers and middlemen—Levitt did exactly that…

LJN Toys Catalog, 1987

Toy guns have existed in the United States for nearly 150 years, becoming a niche market in the ’30s and ’40s following the popularity of Hollywood gangster pictures and The Lone Ranger serial. After the U.S. entered World War II, the market became an industry, and sophisticated new designs proliferated until the late 1960’s…

The Abominable Snowman Debuts at Disneyland, 1978

Walt Disney got the idea for the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction while on location in the Alps during the filming of Third Man on the Mountain (1959). He bought a postcard featuring the Matterhorn, one of the three highest north faces of the alps, and wrote a one line message to Disneyland engineer and art director Vic Greene: “Vic, build this! Walt.”

Revell ‘Space Age’ Model Kits, 1957 – 1959

Southern California-based Revell started as a plastics company in 1941, established by Lewis Glaser only weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. After a series of British-made “Highway Pioneer” replicas (including the Ford Model T) sold well in 1950, Glaser decided to try his hand at plastic model kits—soon-to-be competitor Monogram had been doing the same since 1945—and Revell’s first mold was 1953’s USS Missouri, the battleship on which the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed…

‘Mysterious Monuments’ on the Moon, 1966

The first spacecraft to land on the Moon and transmit photographs back to Earth was Russia’s Luna 9, launched on January 31, 1966. It landed in the Ocean of Storms on February 3, and sent the first of nine images of the Moon’s surface seven hours later. One of these photos, according to an Argosy article by Ivan T. Sanderson from 1970, showed what appeared to be “two straight lines of equidistant stones that look like the markers along an airport runway…”