Turns out, Mr. Potato Head and friends can still steal the show from Pokémon.
Pikachu has been upstaged, temporarily at least, by the expansive collection of playthings predating smartphones.
Come inside and play at MOHAI, Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry.
“Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” on display now, is a journey through three decades of childhood bliss.
Easy-Bake Oven. Hungry Hungry Hippos. Cootie bugs. Lionel trains. Charlie’s Angels. Pong. Gumby. Colorforms. Wham-O. Spirograph. Risk. Rockets. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Roy Rogers.
The exhibit features popular toys that capture the nostalgia and joy of being a kid, complete with the history and accoutrements.
Some toys are behind glass in basic form. Others are part of displays. Check out the lawn dart deeply embedded in a turkey on a barbecue grill. (No wonder they took Jarts off the market.)
Some toys are out in the open for touching, twirling and hurling.
This is an interactive exhibit in the old-fashioned way. Slam Nerf balls. Race Slinkies on stairs. Ask Magic 8 Ball a question. It’s no Siri, but it was all there was back then.
The traveling exhibit continues through Sept. 25, with special toy-themed events.
These are the original toys, not replicas. A few even have the kid’s name written on it, like kids did back in the day. After all, it wasn’t like you had a room full of toys like the lucky kids these days.
“It’s a real eye-opener,” said Mark Haggland, 23, of Auburn. “I kind of take my stuff for granted, man. These kids had only their imagination and a couple bucks to play with.”
Haggland was impressed with the toys’ durability.
“As much as they’re low tech, they’re high quality,” he said. “Because they only had a couple of toys and had to make them last.”
There were a few surprises.
“It’s kind of crazy what they put in those chemistry sets for these kids. They put borax in there, and all these things that almost poisoned them,” Haggland said.
Explore faux living rooms where boxy TV sets play shows from the era featured, with themed sofa and decor, right down to the ashtray on the end table. These curators did a good job of keeping it real.
There are multimedia presentations and a trivia game hosted by the original Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick. You almost expect Marcia, Greg, Bobby and Cindy to bop in any minute.
The real stars are the toys themselves.
“It’s really cool to see all the things my dad played with when he was little,” said Rachel Bender, 10, of Seattle.
She and her twin sister, Ava, had a Slinky race and made chains of plastic primates from the giant Barrel of Monkeys.
“It is so much fun to see all the things that I grew up with and how it has changed,” said the girls’ dad Mason Bender, 47. “It is interesting to see how many guns there were.”
Bender had one of those chemistry sets.
“I don’t think we did much damage,” he said, “but we could have probably.”
His daughters admired the Easy-Bake Oven of yesteryear.
“They look better and more fun,” Rachel said.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.
If you go
“Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s” is at the Museum of History & Industry, 860 Terry Ave. N, Seattle. The exhibits continues through Sept. 25. More at www.mohai.org.
*MOHAI Movie Night at Lake Union Park: “Toy Story,” 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 20
*Maker Day: Pinball Mechanics, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 27
*Academy of Play Kids’ Club: Make a Light-Up Stuffed Toy, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 30
*Academy of Play: 21st Century Toymaker, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 30
*Toys Family Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 10
*Toys Take Over Amazon, Van Vorst Plaza, Amazon, 426 Terry Ave. N, Seattle, 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 14
*Academy of Play Kids’ Club: Build a Microworld, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 20
*Academy of Play: Let Toys Be Toys, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 20
*Maker Day: Toy Take-Apart, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 24