We’re talking about a toy gun, to be sure. But compared to our current world, where guns and what to do with them have become a flashpoint topic full of fevered opinions and arguments, it’s breathtaking to behold just how different things were 60 years ago.
The Sears Christmas offered around 40 different toy guns for boys featured on 11 different pages of the catalog. (There were also two pages of BB guns and two more pages of real rifles for Dad.) Most of the toys were Western-style pistols and rifles modeled on those worn by TV cowboys, those superheroes of the 1950s. (That’s James Garner pictured along with Jack Kelly as the “Maverick” brothers). Most of the toy guns fired caps. But there are also space ray guns that shot whirling plastic bits and model cannons.
And then there are machine guns and “burp guns” that fire volleys or single shots. These look unsettlingly realistic to modern eyes, especially in the hands of 9 year old boys. (Click to zoom in to see and read the ad copy on these.)
Well, this was a decade when kids knew they might face either Communists or Indians around any corner. One had to be prepared. It’s a little amazing we all survived.