Sweet memoir of a golden age of toy design


Prolific 1970s toy designer Mel Birnkrant wrote an absolutely charming, lengthy memoir of his history in the field (including the unlikely story of how he got into the business). It's called, "The Colorforms Years," and it's free to read.

I remember the moment the Outer Space Men were conceived as clearly as if it were yesterday. The heavily armored big front door of our NYC apartment opened into a tiny hall, hardly bigger than a phone booth. And a phone booth, in a manner of speaking, is, more or less, what it turned out to be. It measured 3'X3'. The door, when swinging open, barely missed the walls, one of which was a closet with sliding doors. The other was the portal that led to a small kitchen, hardly bigger that the hall. The third side opened out to the front room and a primitive early version of the toy collection wall, that later grew to gargantuan proportions, when recreated in the house we live in now...

The only telephone in the apartment was attached to the kitchen wall. Thus, the marathon phone conversations with Harry, that took place nearly every day, always began with the long phone cord stretched and me standing in the hall. Sooner or later, I would, inevitably, end up lying on the floor with my feet resting high up on the chained and double locked front door. But, on this occasion, I remained standing, too excited to lie down. I had just seen Matt Mason in the stores for the first time, and an earthshaking IDEA was counting down: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - to BLAST OFF in my mind.

Mel Birnkrant, The Colorforms Years

(via MeFi)

(Photo: Mel Birnkrant)

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