The 50's

 

1950

Walt Disney's latest release, Cinderella, spawns toy products. Meanwhile, Disney was telling the toy industry to gear up for their next full-length cartoon, Alice in Wonderland, out in 1951. Popular Toys: a wind-up Cinderella dancing doll (with Prince) and Palitoy's Archie Andrew Ventro Doll...Minibrix, 'the world's finest toys' from Dean & Son, Flying Saucer from Cascelloid, Electric Contact Quiz - 'lights up your party - mysterious, unique, amusing' - claims the makers, Spears. Other events: First Toy Fair in Harrogate. First meeting of the NATR - the toy retailers association.
 

1951

Popular toys: Alice (from Alice in Wonderland film), Talking Eggs from Selcol with a crank-handle to make Humpty Dumpty squeak (6/9d) - about 32p...Muffin the Mule push-along toy by Kohnstam...Kiddicraft's 'Sensible' range of cot and pram toys designed by Hilary Page. 
 

1952

Popular toys: Crazy Ball from Louis Marx...Negro dolls from Pedigree called Mary Lou and Dixie...Flop: Loopo, a game with a ball and small hand-held loop promoted as 'the sensation of the year'...Lines Brothers, Britain's largest toymaker celebrated its 70th birthday...
 

1953

Pedigree launch dolls with 'flesh-like' vinyl plastic heads with 'hair that grows out of their heads!' using a "Angela, the doll with magic flesh" - it also has 'sleeping' eyes and lashes. Another pedigree doll out this Coronation year, is Little Princess dressed by Norman Hartnell...retailers read for the first time that out-of-town shopping centres are being tried out in the USA...Dean's Rag Books are 50 years old...New Toys: Flower pot Men based on the TV series. Wembley - the football board game, Keywords (from Waddingtons) which has some similarities to Scrabble. Novelty Toys: Atom Bomber with A-bombs with automatic releases, and Slinky, the toy that slithers down steps - still a big seller to this day.
 

1954

Sooty appears on TV and turns out to be an actual Chad Valley glove puppet...sales soar. The British Toy & Hobby Association hold their first Toy Fair in Brighton. New Toys: Dan Dare Rota Spinner for the beach...and at Christmas: Matchbox vehicles, Painting By Numbers. Scrabble arrives.
 

1955

Scrabble sold in the UK by Spears begins to grow in popularity. Scoop from Waddingtons challenges.
 

1956

New Game: Beat the Clock (Spears) based on the game on TV's Sunday Night at the Palladium...Flops: New Footy Table Soccer as recommended by Stanley Matthews, and Newcrikit , recommended by Freddie Trueman...the Corgi Model Club formed...Triang T-T Gauge trains launched...Radio comedian (and chairman of Chad Valley) Kenneth Horne is seen on TV trying out the new Rise'n'Shine shaving kit and beauty shop - the first seen on TV...and the launch of the sputnik inspires the Bleep Bleep satellite toy.
 

1957

Combex brings out the Sooty toothbrush flute...and following the Disney film's release, a rash of Davy Crockett hats and toys.
 

1958

New: The Hula - Hoop arrives! 20 million sold in the first year. Scalextric electric model racing first introduced...but whatever happened to Pictorama which can create 14 million different combinations of pictures? It's the 50th birthday for Plasticine...and Frisbees (invented 1957 at the Frisbee Pie Factory) compete for attention.
 

1959

Stanley Matthews endorses Frido playballs. Selling well: Matchbox's Scammel Breakdown truck, Board Games: Careers, and Wack-O (based on Jimmy Edward's TV series)

 

The Content of the decade pages was first published by our predecessor the British Association of Toy Retailers as a Millennium Special of the Toy Chronicle. The publication acknowledged the help of various sources including The History Channel, The BBC, The Pan Book of Dates, The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and our earlier 100 years of Toys researched by Gerald Masters. The Toy Retailers Association can offer no guarantee of accuracy except as far as the Toy of the Year since 1965 where our own records are complete.