Friday, December 4, 2009

Long-Lost Toys of Christmases Past

Christmas is a time when I reminisce about my childhood holidays and the gifts that I received way back then. While I still have many of my original toys, even more are now long-gone, passed on to younger relatives or sold by my little brothers in yard sales for candy money when I was away at college. (With therapy, we've finally managed to move beyond this issue.)

While talking to my friend Ron (born in 1936, pictured at right) about long-lost favorite toys, he told me about his greatest lost-toy regret: an entire shoebox filled to the brim with vintage radio show premiums. These included multiples of the Lone Ranger Six Gun Ring, Sky King toys, Captain Midnight badges, and his greatest treasure, the Green Hornet Glow in the Dark Secret Compartment Ring, for which, he says, "I had to eat this horrible, nasty cereal I had begged for so I could get the ring, and my mother wouldn't let me order it until I finished the whole package. That really sucked, let me tell you."

As he listed the contents of his shoebox, I began mentally adding up the current selling prices of these items. I wondered, "should I tell him? nooo...I don't think's probably better that he doesn't know..." Finally, he finished recounting the various pieces he had owned, and then asked me the question I was dreading: "how much do you think they'd be worth now?" I told him. When he finished shouting and cursing, I asked him what happened to the box full of toys.

Ron grew up in Detroit in the late 1930s and 40s, and lived in a 4-family flat. One day a new family moved in, with a little boy named Gordie. Apparently, Gordie's family lived in even more dire financial circumstances than their neighbors. So Ron, in a remarkably generous moment, gave Gordie his entire shoebox of premiums. Lest you think this story ends with a Christmasy-sweet sentiment, here is Ron's final comment on the matter: "That little bastard Gordie...hmmm....I wonder if I could track him down and get it back..."

On a more pleasant note, Ron recently rediscovered his childhood diary. After some searching, he found this entry, penned in his 10th year: "Hooray - I got my Green Hornet ring today. And yes, it really does glow in the dark, and it really does have a secret compartment, and, it really does look like real gold!"

The ring pictured above is the most affordable (ha!) Green Hornet ring I've been able to find so far, priced at $450. If you, too, are looking for a long-lost Green Hornet Glow in the Dark Secret Compartment Ring, it's currently available online at:

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