Today's Awesome Toy of Christmas Past is one of those toys that was a staple of kid-dom back in the late '70s and early '80s. I hardly new a kid who didn't have at least one of these, and I happened to have two of them, thanks to their widespread availability and their almost mystical ability to be the perfect stocking stuffer.
I'm talking about the classic wind-up Rascal Robot from Tomy!
These little, dome-headed walking wonders were everywhere back in the day. I remember a brief period in 2nd grade when about 5 or 6 of us boys in my class all had one of these and we would wind them up and race them to the edge of a desk. And considering how slowly these little dudes strolled along, it had to have been the most boring race in history, yet we did it during every indoor recess that winter.
Tomy was huge back int the '70s/'80s, ruling the toy shelves with dozens of hand-held games (either run on batteries, clockwork or even water) and the impulse buy areas with their seemingly endless array of wind-up animals that walked, waddled, jumped, swam or tumbled across many a living room floor or coffee table on Christmas morning.
My first Tomy robot was the classic red and blue model, which seemed to be the most common. There was just something about this mix between R2D2 and that Forbidden Planet robot that made this guy so endearing. In fact, it was much more than just a simple wind-up toy (which usually were fiddled with occasionally on their own for a few minutes), but mine would quickly become integrated into my action figure adventures taking up the role of interplanetary sidekick/personal computer to my Princess Leia figure.
Later, (maybe even the following Christmas) my stocking would spill forth another Tomy Rascal Robot, but this time it was the somewhat more rarely seen (in my neck of the woods, anyway, thus earning many ooohs and aaahs from my classmates in 3rd grade) black and gold version.
This crimson domed droid was also immediately whisked into my toy adventures and took his place at none other than Darth Vader's side, storing important spy information, using his sensors to located hidden rebels and even occasionally performing an act of torture. This, in my eyes, was one mean little robot.
After all these years, I have never forgotten my beloved Tomy robots (Like I have forgotten any other toy?!), and I was pretty stoked to have scored these two on eBay (despite their matching broken claws) a while back. Eventually, I'd like to find a couple still sealed in their packages for the sheer nostalgia it would bring forth, seeing them once again as they were the moment they were pulled out from my Christmas stockings.
Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Droids.