When I was a kid, my favorite toys were the ones that “did” things with a lot of mechanical movement. G.I. Joe or Lincoln Logs left me completely uninterested, but give me an electric train, Hot Wheels, or an Erector Set, and I was one happy kid.
When I was seven, one of my favorite toys was a board game called “Mousetrap.” The thing was, the board game itself was boring. The real fun was setting up the mouse trap mechanisms and watching the thing in action. You’d turn a crank which kicked a bucket which dumped a ball bearing onto a course which activated a bigger ball which fell onto a see-saw which caused a cage to tumble down to trap the mouse.
Here’s a hilarious (and accurate) video about the Mousetrap game:
Isn’t that fun? Do any of you remember the Mouse Trap game?
Like I said, I loved mechanical toys. As I thought back on the ones I liked best, I happen to remember a race car set that didn’t use electricity, but was gravity-propelled. I loved that race car set. You would shove a lever which caused a hook to propel the cars really fast up an incline. What was the name of that race car set?
After some googling, I found it!
The Johnny Lightning 500
Here’s a video of it. (They guy operates it toward the end of the short video, so you get to see it in action)
Isn’t that neat-o?
I got my Johnny Lightning when I was about ten or eleven years old.
But the next year, Johnny Lightning upped the ante and came out with some cool variations. There was one I had to have. You would propel the car down the track, it would race straight up about two feet in the air, go through two loop-the-loops and return back down to the course circuit.
Again, I couldn’t remember the name of it. A Hurricane?
Googling . . .
It was the Johnny Lightning Rocket 500 Cyclone Set
And I found it on eBay. This had to be THE coolest race track ever!
I was about twelve when I got this set. It was one thrilling toy to play with, let me tell you.
I can see why kids nowadays have an obesity problem, sitting on their butts with an X-Box the way they do. Back in my day, we actually had to crawl around on shag carpeting, retrieving toy cars that had flown off the track.
The eBay seller says it still works. Hmmmm.
Sure, I’d love to play with it again, but it’s pretty pricey. I think I’ll save my money and just enjoy the memory of being twelve again.
You can’t put a price on that.