15 groovy, goofy toys that you could only find in the year 1977

Cher, Benji, CBs and custom vans were all the rage with kids.

All images: Sears / Wishbook Web

You can tell a lot about a culture by its toys. Beauty standards, economic realities, the sense of humor — it's all there. That's why these toys of 1977 are just so… Seventies

It's probably the most hair you'll even find in a Sears catalog. Let's rollerskate back in time and take a look.

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1. The Cher™ Beauty Center

In 1977, pop icon Cher was married to Greg Allman. They could have just as easily made a matching Greg Beauty Center with equally glorious hair. If they had made a Crystal Gayle bust, kids would have needed a much higher table. A counter, really.

2. John Travolta's Punchable Face

John Travolta was still a year away from true ubiquity with Grease just around the corner, but Welcome Back, Kotter made him an instant TV star. For those who wanted to sock the actor square in the jaw, Punch Me's offered this inflatable boxing toy. You could kick Kotter down low, too, if you were so inclined.

3. Donny & Marie Portable P.A. System

Be an Osmond with this easily carried annoyance engine. Perfect for loudly serenading your crush in the hallway with a poor rendition of "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration." 

4. Baby's First Custom Van

The airbrushed artwork. The bubbled porthole windows. The shag carpeting. The plush, swiveling captain's chairs. The custom van was the pinnacle in comfortable cruising in 1977. Even toddlers dreamed of one day owning (and hopefully not living in) a blue Chevy beast like this.

5. Can Collection Rack and Display

It's never too early to start your kids on the valuable skill of collecting cans. Grocery cart not included. A stark reminder that the Seventies had seen a stark recession, inflation and an oil crisis. If you didn't have toys, you could at least get cans.

6. Deeply Tanned Dolls

When it came to tanning, folks preferred the "well-done" look in 1977. Nobody was worried about "Broad Spectrum" and SPFs. Sunblock? Pfft. More like, Suntan Oil, as in human Wesson. This was the peak era of Farrah Fawcett and Coppertone. Even the dolls, like Suntan Tuesday Taylor and her bronzed pal, were baked.

7. "Now" Look Ken

Ken let loose in 1977, with his white leisure suit and "stick-on moustache [sic] and sideburns." 

8. J.J. Evans Plush

Children cuddled up in bed with the "Dyn-O-Mite!" comic relief from Good Times.

9. Not That ''Simon''

The electronic Simon game hit stores in 1978. You know, the light-up disc with the patterns of yellow, blue, green and red light? Well, before that battery-eater came along, the closest kids had was Simon Sez the dummy. Ventriloquism was huge. Willie Tyler and his Lester dummy were everywhere. It will not surprise you to learn that Jeff Dunham was an impressionable 15 years old in 1977.

10. A Pretend CB Radio

Smokey and the Bandit was the second-biggest film of 1977. Second to only Star Wars. The CB radio and trucking craze was at its peak. Toddlers were too young to operate a real CB, but this "Smokee CB" got them hooked on the fine art of tractor-trailer communication with fun bits of recorded sayings that could be triggered.

11. Disco Rock Amplifier

"Disco" and "Rock" were two warring factions of pop culture. The rock heads hated disco. Or did they? This "Disco Rock" guitar amplifier proved that there was a middle ground between the two fandoms — or somebody at the toy company came up with a really stupid idea.

12. Benji Radio

AM was more than just talk radio. That's where the good stuff could be found, the "AM Gold," if you will. What better way to listen to Seventies rock than through this wild-eyed plastic pooch?

13. Crunchy New Age Dolls

The hippie movement did not end in the Sixties. Flared pants, floral prints and unruly hair were a key part of Seventies fashion. You can see that reflected perfectly in the Sunshine and Happy Family dolls, granola-and-tofu-munching (we assume) characters who kickstarted the organic movement in Gen-X.

14. Barbapapa

A sort of cross of Shmoo and Moomin, the pink blob Barbapapa originated in France in the early Seventies (barbe à papa, or "dad's beard," is the French term for cotton candy). The creature looked like Grimace's lost love interest.

15. Gag "Ear" Phones

Novelty items were an essential part of Seventies fun. The Pet Rock sold millions of, well, plain stones. Mork's suspenders and Ralph Malph's gag glasses split sides on sitcoms. Spencer's Gifts began popping up in malls. No wonder kids could pop this radio on their noggin, look like a Ferengi, and still be cool in school.

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Bob 6 days ago
If Ken was going into porn he's still missing something.
JLTitus72 7 days ago
I was 5 years old in 1977. I remember getting an Oscar the Grouch pull string toy for my birthday that year
Had the Flip Wilson pull string Doll one side had flip
Turn it over and you had Geraldine. Remembered flip saying oh and I'll punch you right in the fist with my face.
marcnata 8 days ago
Omg, these are fantastic. Though ‘77 is my favorite year, I think I am proud to say I did not have any of these toys.
dictracy 8 days ago
I had the JJ doll, pull his string and he would say his signature exclamation...
”DYN-O-MITE!” Love 70s toys, have collection of them today ...tin can alley, smash em up derby, thundershift 500, and some 60s toys, who can forget creepy crawlers from 1964...awesome toy that still works and you can still buy the goop... good times
dmagoon 9 days ago
At least there's no operation toy relating to #1.
JKMallaber 9 days ago
Oh, and that Barbapappa creature is too disturbing for words.
JKMallaber 9 days ago
Too young to have any of these as a kid, thank goodness. Any one of them practically says "beat me up, please." That Simon dummy is saying "We could both get beat up together!"
Extraneous_T 10 days ago
In number 7 on the list, [sic] is unnecessary, as "moustache" is a completely and equally correct alternate spelling of "mustache."
I was about to say the same thing.
kilimanjaro 10 days ago
Stretch Armstrong was the greatest toy ever made and it was from 1976 I believe. End of discussion!
Barry22 10 days ago
Never had or wanted any of these things. As for those Gag ear phones, "cool in school"? I don't think so.
Doola005 10 days ago
I never had any of these toys when I was younger. THANK GOD !
15inchBlackandWhite 10 days ago
They should have brought the Travolta punching bag back in the 90's with Nicholas Cage's face on the other side.
That is hilarious.
I'd rather have robert deniro (or the zero as I call him) on one side and alec baldwin on the other!
cinamac kilimanjaro 10 days ago
No, Scott Baio and the My Pillow guy!
Wiseguy kilimanjaro 6 days ago
Why, Because he's against idiot Trump?
Jennifer 10 days ago
I had the Sunshine family and their truck camper, but I don't remember any of the others.
MrsPhilHarris 11 days ago
I don't remember any of this stuff.
But who on earth would consider can stacking racks a toy?
Kevin MrsPhilHarris 11 days ago
Collecting beer cans was big
The can might even have a drop of stale beer left.
Who remembers the name of the novelty beer of 1977? I will give an obvious hint: It's popularity only lasted for 4 years. Now who do we all know who has a job that has to be renegotiated, {so to speak,} every leap year?
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 10 days ago
I would call it a hobby like stamps, coins, comics and things collected because of a preference.
UTZAAKE Kevin 10 days ago
Beer can collecting actually a very interesting hobby, especially if the names on the cans are Ballantine Ale, Schaefer, Rheingold, Gunther, National Bohemian, Meister Brau, Stroh's, Berger, Genesee, Schlitz, Schmidt's, Blatz, Narragansett, Piel's, Burgermeister (or Burgie) and the like. Packs of unused beer bottle labels are inexpensive and cool, too!
SashaPayneDiaz nerakr 8 days ago
Yep! Billy Beer.... I still have one of the cans.
texasluva 11 days ago
I can only say that most all of these are Greek to me. Being out of my teens by then none of these things would appeal to me. The only Craze I remember is the Pet Rocks.

Bobbin Head Beatles of the 60's along with dozens of 45's, Hula Hoops, Skate Boards, Latest BB gun, Topps Baseball cards w/stick of bubble gum, comics etc. Girls had of course Barbie Dolls, powder puffs, hop scotch, Jacks and hoping to get into charm school. Yep 1977 I was way past those toys abounding. Those ear phones (gag) Liked Travolta back then and still do. It would be interesting if anyone had any of those 1977 items. A Benji Radio
If you are not Greek, {you aren't, are you?} Than how can all of these things be "Greek to you?" I think this saying should be changed to whatever nationality one is. If your Lithuanian, German, {which I also am, as well as Irish,} Egyptian, Venezuelan, whatever. That's what one should say something seems like to them.
That's Greek to me or it's (all) Greek to me is an idiom in English, expressing that something is difficult to understand.
It’s Greek to me means I can’t understand this, this thing is incomprehensible.
No matter the exact meaning, it's what it meant to me and those I knew as a younger person.
In Greek, the corresponding expression is "it's Chinese to me".
stephaniestavropoulos 11 days ago
1. Cher was married to Greg Allman for like 9 days. He did leave her with a parting gift: their son Elijah Blue.
2. METV said John Travolta's popularity was due to take off next year with Grease. He was already riding the wave of popularity, courtesy of a little known film called Saturday Night Fever.
4. Custom Vans. One thing that van was missing, the "radio" blaring out the song "Chevy Van," by Sammy Johns.
6. The one doll that was missing from the Deeply Tanned Doll Collection: was one of that perpetually tanned thespian: George Hamilton!
12. I'm not sure when the huggable version of Benji came out, {it might have been in '76.} Seeing the Benji radio reminds me that during Christmas, my grandma gave my cousin Tina and I a plush Benji.
15. How can somebody look like a character that wasn't due to be created/shown for 20 years or so?!?!
Regarding #15, yeah, in Star Trek: Enterprise, set before the original Star Trek, Archer was able to meet Ferengis because the series itself post-dated Star Trek franchise episodes (from ...Next Generation" on) that had the Ferengis.
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