Hello, Vintage Phones? It’s You I’m Looking For

Hello, Vintage Phones? It’s You I’m Looking For

Do you remember when there was a bit of mystery involved in answering the phone? When you’d pick up the receiver and not know who was on the other end of the line? (An act so intriguing, Lionel Richie even wrote a song about it!) As the youngest of three kids in a busy family,…

Learning American History from American Girls

Learning American History from American Girls

Let’s face it: When you’re a grown-up, getting real mail can be terrible. (Look, another bill. Great, a reminder to get my teeth cleaned.) Occasionally you receive a nice letter-pressed wedding invitation or glossy gossip magazine. But when you were a kid? Getting mail was awesome. (Invitations to classmates’ parties! Birthday cards with a $5…

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple

On February 11, 2014, the staff at The Strong and the American public learned of the passing of Shirley Temple Black, actor, politician, diplomat, and former U.S. ambassador. Most Americans, however, know Temple as the most popular child star in Hollywood history.

Derek Jeter: The “Star Power” of Play

Derek Jeter: The “Star Power” of Play

Rabid fan that I am, and with spring training just finished, I knew baseball had to be my blog topic so I could talk about the coming season, Derek Jeter’s recent retirement announcement, and the power of his presence and his play. Yankee Captain since 2003, Jeter has been the face of his team for…

Bingo!

Bingo!

Some of my fondest childhood memories date back to the 1970s and 80s when my grandparents would take my sister and me to Friday night bingo at the local fire hall. The moment we stepped into the building, we were enveloped by the sights, sounds, and aromas of bingo. Hot dogs, popcorn, and refreshments were…

Screen-Play: Walking a Mile in Magic Boots

Screen-Play: Walking a Mile in Magic Boots

In my last post, I examined television’s stereotypical un-cool Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) player who doesn’t conform to mainstream standards of attractiveness or sociability and fits more comfortably within the fantasy world of role-playing games (RPGs). But “dork” is not a four-letter word as far as these characters are concerned. In fact, television programs offer audiences…

Let’s Make a Deal

Let’s Make a Deal

When you hear the term “game show,” what comes to mind?  A theme song? A colorful set? Enthusiastic hosts and fabulous prizes? Whatever your answer, chances are you’ve watched a game show at least once. Growing up, my mother and I often watched game shows together and our viewing included everything from $25,000 Pyramid and…

Screen-Play: Too Cool for Ghouls? Dungeons & Dragons and Television Misfits

Screen-Play: Too Cool for Ghouls? Dungeons & Dragons and Television Misfits

Why does television portray Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) as un-cool by putting it in the hands of nerds? Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the iconic game grew out of the war-themed, strategy-heavy board games introduced in the 1950s by Avalon Hill, as well as from the miniature war games hobbyists enacted with figurines and battlefields…

Jackie Robinson: A First in Baseball and in Toys

Jackie Robinson: A First in Baseball and in Toys

Before the 1950s, American toy manufacturers avoided favorable illustrations of people of color on toys and their packaging. But the middle of the 20th century saw the beginnings of positive examples—toys that purposefully utilized constructive African American likenesses. And some of the earliest appearances of this long-overdue imagery bore the portrait and endorsement of Major…

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Lunar Travels with Big Loo

Meet Big Loo, your new best friend. If you ever go to the moon, make sure you take Big Loo with you. With him along, you won’t need any other companion. Advertised as a robot from the moon and perfect for lunar exploration, the 38-inch Big Loo functioned like a one-man, er, one-robot army. Louis…