25 Discontinued Classic Toys You Can Probably Still Find

25 Discontinued Classic Toys You Can Probably Still Find

Remember the feeling of opening a coveted new toy on Christmas morning? Whether it was a doll that could eat and cry or a robot that could repeat your words, some of these innovative playthings were considered cutting-edge upon their release. But, as more advanced toys come out every year, once-popular toys are discontinued – like these Happy Meal toys we’ll never forget.

To compile a list of classic toys that are no longer produced but that you can still find if you look hard enough (on sites like eBay, for instance), 24/7 Tempo reviewed material on sites including the Strong National Museum of Play and Vintage Doll Repair, as well as other sources. We used editorial discretion to choose dolls and other toys that were hot items in their time and may still be available on e-commerce sites.

From the mechanical Erector Sets of the early 20th century to the clackers of the 1960s to the robot pets of the early 2000s, these toys were once all the rage. Some were battery-operated learning toys, while others were exercise toys that encouraged kids to move around. Many of these classic toys were dolls with some special feature, be it hair that can “grow” or secret compartments full of stickers.

Most were discontinued due to falling sales, but some were bought by other companies or enjoyed multiple production runs. A few were recalled due to safety issues. Although their prevalence has faded, die-hard fans can still find these vintage items for sale online, sometimes used and sometimes in pristine packaging. 

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Little Miss Echo
> Lifespan: 1962-1965
> Maker: American Character Dolls

Sold through Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs, Little Miss Echo was produced during an early ’60s fad for talking dolls. What made this talking doll different was an internal tape recorder that allowed her to repeat words or songs spoken to her.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

Midge & Baby
> Lifespan: 2003-2005
> Maker: Mattel

A part of the Barbie line, Midge Hadley was introduced in 1963 and produced until 1967, then again in the ’80s. In 2003, she came back as part of the Happy Family line, where she was sold pregnant with a removable baby doll, accompanied by a changing table that transformed into a crib. The doll was not a hit with parents, who complained about Midge’s lack of a wedding ring. Later models were corrected to include a ring.

Source: mmcothern / Flickr

> Lifespan: Late 1960s-1976
> Maker: Various companies

Sometimes made with tempered glass and other times acrylic polymer, clackers were two balls on a string that made a satisfying “clack” sound if you could swing them around just right and get them to smack together. Unfortunately, the balls sometimes exploded on contact and the toys were discontinued.

Source: ariels_photos / Flickr

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
> Lifespan: 1964-1988
> Maker: Louis Marx and Company

Released during the reign of boxer Mohammad Ali, these boxing robots were all the rage. Opponents mechanically controlled the robots, who would punch each other until the loser had its head knocked off. In 2000, Mattel reintroduced a half-sized model of the game, which has been discontinued but is currently available for purchase while supplies last.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

> Lifespan: 1969-1975
> Maker: Ideal Toy Company

The original Beautiful Crissy fashion doll had an adjustable auburn ponytail that could extend down to her feet or retract into a short bob with the turn of a knob on the doll’s back. Subsequent models only allowed the hair to “grow” to her hips, but included features like a movable waist, a hair curler, and hair accessory beads.

Source: Jack Szwergold / Wikimedia Commons

> Lifespan: 1976-1980
> Maker: Mego Corporation

This line of futuristic toys was based on the Japanese toy line Microman. The interchangeable robot action figures, vehicles, and play sets were similar to Transformers and contained multiple connectors that allowed them to be combined with other toys in the set. Micronauts sold extremely well, but were discontinued in the prelude to Mego’s bankruptcy and dissolution in 1982.

Source: Courtesy of Claster Television

Jem and the Holograms
> Lifespan: 1986 & 1987
> Maker: Mattel

Based on an animated television series about a record executive and lead singer in a rock band, Jem and Holograms dolls were released with the show and produced through the next year. Competition with the similar Mattel line Barbie and the Rockers led to underperformance and the dolls were discontinued in 1987, although the show continued through 1988.

Source: Courtesy of Castle Vision

M.A.S.K. figures
> Lifespan: 1985-1988
> Maker: Kenner Products

Released with an animated series about an underground crime fighting task force called the Mobile Armored Strike Command, M.A.S.K. action figures featured vehicles with hidden weapons, and characters with masks that afforded the wearer special abilities. Although the series only lasted two seasons, the toy line was produced for four years.

Source: cindyshebley / Flickr

Erector Sets
> Lifespan: 1913-present
> Maker: A.C. Gilbert/Gabriel

Once the most popular construction toy in the United States, Erector Sets were kits of metal building materials used to make both stationary and movable structures including clocks, trains, and ferris wheels. Eventually motors, light bulbs, and electrical switches were sold with the kits. The original maker, A.C. Gilbert Co. went bankrupt in 1967; and though multiple companies have acquired the brand since then, Erector’s time in the limelight has largely passed and the current iterations bear little resemblance to the original..

Source: Jelson25 / Wikimedia Commons

Heart Family
> Lifespan: 1985-early 1990s
> Maker: Mattel

Designed as friends of Barbie who preferred a family-oriented lifestyle, the Heart Family included a mother and father with twin toddlers. The family was so popular that two years after its release, it grew to include a new baby and a set of grandparents. Various themed dolls and props provided a bath time scene, Disneyland visit, and a baby that could drink and wet its diaper.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

Speak & Spell
> Lifespan: 1978-1992
> Maker: Texas Instruments

This iconic educational spelling toy was the height of toy technology when it was introduced. It was a portable, handheld electronic device with a digital display and interchangeable game cartridges. At its simplest, the game would sound out a word and prompt the child to spell it on the keyboard. Although groundbreaking at the time, Speak & Spell has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

> Lifespan: 1985-1992
> Maker: Tonka

Keypers were small plastic toys shaped like various creatures including snails, tortoises, penguins, and rabbits, that had secret compartments for children to hide treasures in. They came in two sizes: adult Keypers, which could be opened with a key, and baby Keypers, which were softer and could be pressed open.

Source: xabi / Flickr

Game Boy
> Lifespan: 1989-2003
> Maker: Nintendo

Basically a pocket-sized Nintendo gaming console, the Game Boy quickly became the most popular toy on the market, selling out its first U.S. allotment of one million units in a matter of weeks. Although the original version and its successor the Game Boy Color have been discontinued, a third iteration, called Game Boy Advance, is still in production.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Pocket Rockers
> Lifespan: 1988-1992
> Maker: Fisher-Price

Handheld cassette players that played miniature cassette tapes with one song on each side, Pocket Rockers let children play music while out and about. The tapes featured popular artists including Madonna, Whitney Houston, and Bon Jovi. Unfortunately, as compact discs replaced cassette tapes, Pocket Rockers went out of style.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

Deluxe Talkboy
> Lifespan: 1993-1999
> Maker: Tiger Electronics

The original Talkboy, conceived as a prop for the 1992 Christmas movie “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” was a portable audio recorder and playback machine that sold moderately when released with the film. The Deluxe Talkboy, released a year after the original, included the variable speed, voice-changing option that featured prominently in the movie. The latter version became one of the most sought-after toys during the 1993 holiday shopping season.

Source: Courtesy of Toy Safari via Facebook

Sky Dancers
> Lifespan: 1994-2000
> Maker: Galoob Toys

These plastic dolls with foam wings could launch into the air like helicopters at the pull of a cord. Despite the wings being made of softer material, the toys caused 150 reported injuries, including broken teeth and scratched corneas, and 8.9 million of the toys were recalled in June of 2000.

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

> Lifespan: 2000-2002
> Maker: Tiger Toys

Introduced during a trend of robot pets, Poo-Chis were robotic dogs with LED eyes that could recognize their owners’ voices, do tricks, sing, and communicate with other Poo-Chis. Special editions including 101 Dalmatians Poo-Chis and McDonalds Happy Meal mini Poo-Chis were created before Tiger dropped them in favor of the plush, slightly more lifelike FurReal Friends robot pets.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

What’s Her Face
> Lifespan: 2001-2003
> Maker: Mattel

These 9.5-inch dolls had large heads, interchangeable wigs, and a lack of facial features so that children could draw their faces using washable markers and stamps. A fusion between fashion dolls and creative toys, What’s Her Face dolls saw mild success compared to Bratz dolls, which were released the same year.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

Betty Spaghetty
> Lifespan: 1998-2004
> Maker: Ohio Art

A rubbery doll with long limbs and changeable body parts, Betty Spaghetty had stylable hair and many outfits and accessories to change into. Ohio Art released dozens of popular themed Betty travel sets including Hollywood, Paris, skiing, and camping, before the toy finally lost its luster and was discontinued in 2004. A brief comeback in 2007 failed to meet sales goals and the doll was once again discontinued.

Source: Getty Images / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

> Lifespan: 1999-2004
> Maker: Hasbro

These micro audio players could play 60 seconds of a hit song from a small memory card that was inserted into the player. From the Backstreet Boys to Avril Lavigne to Sugar Ray, a wide range of pop artists were featured in the short “clips.” Later versions featured circular memory discs that could play two whole minutes of a song.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

Mr. Bucket
> Lifespan: 1990-2007
> Maker: Ideal Toy

A frantic chase game with a memorable commercial jingle, Mr. Bucket was an anthropomorphised, motorized toy bucket that spit plastic balls out of its mouth as players raced to get the balls back into the bucket with shovels. The first player to get all of their color-coded balls into the bucket was the winner.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon

Barbie and Tanner
> Lifespan: 2006-2007
> Maker: Mattel

Barbie briefly had a dog named Tanner – and of all the things that dogs can do, Tanner’s big tricks were eating and pooping. Barbie and Tanner came equipped with a magnetic poop scoop and trash can for the doggie doo doo. Unfortunately, a magnet on the scoop was known to come loose, and although it didn’t cause any reported injuries, it was enough to get Barbie and Tanner sets recalled to prevent children from swallowing the small, detached magnets.

Source: Saskatoon Public Library / Wikimedia Commons

> Lifespan: 1980s-2000s
> Maker: Tiger Toys

A simple but addictive exercise toy, Skip-it relied on centripetal force. Users would spin the ball around one leg and dodge it with their other leg as it circled around. Later versions even had a gauge that counted the number of continuous rotations.

Source: Jupiterimages / Stockbyte via Getty Images

Dream Phone
> Lifespan: 1991-1990s
> Maker: Milton Bradley

A classic sleepover game marketed to girls, Dream Phone centered around a board of 24 teenage boys’ pictures. Players could “call” these boys on a hot pink phone to gather clues as to which one was their secret admirer.

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