The worst toy I ever had.


Christmas, 1966.   For months I’d been begging my parents to buy me the hottest new toy the commercials were telling me I just had to have: a walking, barking dog called Penny the Poodle.  Even if you’re old enough to remember this horrible toy, you may not, because it was quickly forgotten after the initial pre-Christmas hype.    I’m sure millions of small children spent that Christmas Day in tears of disappointment and frustration when they realized Penny the Poodle did NOT live up to the hype.

Here’s the commercial, which in retrospect, was pretty creepy, even for those days:

I remember unwrapping the large box with joyful anticipation, ripping off the green and red foil paper and bows to reveal the “Penny the Poodle” logo and the see-through window on the side of the box that revealed Penny’s Pepto-Bismol pink head.

Eagerly, I pried her out of the box with my small sweaty hands and tried to get her to work.  No batteries were necessary.  Penny was supposed to stand, walk, wag her tail, bark, and turn her head.   She was supposed to do everything a real dog does except poop and pee.

She did nothing.  Instead, she lay on her side on the floor, twitching as if she was having an epileptic seizure.    I tried to right her and squeezed the little remote control to get her to walk, wag her tail, do SOMETHING, but no dice.  She fell over again. This time she didn’t even twitch and convulse. I righted her again and manually tried to make her legs move. Her right leg fell off and lay there on the rug like a turkey drumstick covered in pink gravy. Penny was DOA.

I was heartbroken.  I opened the rest of my presents apathetically, because Penny the Poodle was the toy I had REALLY wanted for Christmas.   I cried on and off for most of the day.

My parents returned Penny to whatever store they had got her from and brought me home a replacement, this one powder blue instead of Pepto Bismol pink.   But this one wouldn’t work either.  Back to the store it went.  My parents refused to get me a third Penny, but by then, I’d given up and was happily playing with my Barbies and Wishnik troll dolls.

Penny the Poodle has curiosity value to toy collectors.   You can find a few on eBay, but none of them seem to be in working order, and probably never were.

Thanks to my readers who voted for me to post a funny true story tonight in the poll I posted earlier. I know this story’s a little sad, but there’s always humor in pathos. Or pathos in humor. Or something like that.

73 thoughts on “The worst toy I ever had.

  1. When I was little I found all the toys from Santa in my moms walk in closet before Christmas. So I dragged my sister in the closet before Christmas and we took the dolls and clothes out of the boxes and played with them. It was Beautiful Chrissy. And Barbie and fashion clothes and accessory’s.

    When we were finished I tried to put it all back into the boxes, but it was just too obvious to hide what I did. I had to call my mother in and show her what I did.

    It was a pretty cleaver move, because my mother had to buy brand new dolls to convince my sister that Santa Claus was still alive, well and living in the North Pole.


    Liked by 4 people

    • For her fifth birthday my cousin Janet got one of those essentially-life-sized walking dolls. She had been wanting it for a long time, was madly in love with it, and insisted on taking it everywhere.

      That was no big deal until the day my grandparents took her to The Statue of Liberty. Back then, you could just get on the ferry like you were getting on the subway; there were no tickets or reservations or anything. They drove downtown and parked the car. My cousin REFUSED to leave the doll behind and pitched such a fit that they let her take it.

      My grandparents took turns carrying the thing up into at least the crown of the statue.

      This became one of those stories that got told around the Thanksgiving table every year.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Way back in the 1950s, my grandfather gave me a Saucy Walker doll for Christmas. She was my favorite toy ever!

      Thanks for sharing this funny memory, Lucky. I want to watch the commercials but I need to get my headset so the sound doesn’t wake my husband. And I’m too lazy to get up and get the headset right now. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        • Her face was the soft vinyl and her body was hard plastic with jointed hips and knees that sort of almost walked when you held her hands and moved her a certain way. But it was difficult to do, so mostly she just sat. She was my Saucy Sitter, LOL.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Do you want to hear something really crazy? When I was a teenager my mother threw away every single thing I owned, all the toys I had saved so carefully, all of my books and papers, stories I had written, costume jewelry, presents that had been given to me over the years… she threw away everything. Including my beloved Saucy Walker doll.

          About four years ago I found a Saucy Walker doll for sale on eBay. She was still in her original box and the ad said the box had never been opened! Almost sixty years old, this doll was, and she had been stored in a closet and never played with!

          I bought that doll. And… I have not yet been able to bring myself to open the box it was shipped in. That unopened box has been standing on the floor beside my bed for almost five years. My therapist suggested that I bring the box in and open it there. But… I still haven’t done it. I don’t even know why.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t remember Penny Poodle (my condolences) and sadly as I was reading your post I couldn’t remember one toy that I really wanted, well unless you counted what my brother always got but I can’t even remember his toys but they were cooler than mine. Your post did take me back though and I could clearly see my grandmother’s silver tree with the tri-colored rotating light that shone against it and I could even recall me and my brother getting up early one Christmas and opening our gifts but I have no clue what we received. Good post!! ~Steph


  3. I had a monkey that slammed symbols together repeatedly. After a few days the monkey lost his batteries and my dad could never quite find “the right size” batteries in the store to replace them. Can’t say that I blame him. It was a horrible noise. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

      • I know right? I think it was something for people to buy for the kids of parents they did not like…and wanted to torment. No one in their right mind would have bought it for their own kids and intentionally have put it in their own house…..hence the mysterious disappearance of the batteries….

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know exactly the one you mean.

      (Wasn’t there one of those in “King of Queens,” or was it just that Doug referred to Arthur as “A demented circus monkey?”)

      The current-day equivalent, IMO, and one item on a VERY short list of things about which I’d BS a kid is (GAG; RETCH; GIMME A SECOND, HERE)



      Being subject to that WORSE THAN ANY NAILS ON ANY BLACKBOARD IN THE UNIVERSE voice should be a valid defence for many violent acts, up to and including murder.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Reading all this stuff just confirms another of my philosophies of life. I would never live my life all over again from the beginning, even if I could change anything in the process. I used to say that it would just be too painful. Now I think it might also be just too scary!🎎

    Liked by 1 person

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