Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Marx Toy Soldiers On The March!

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The classic figure of a soldier has been captured in toy form many times over the years.  Whether made of lead or a clothespin, there's something about the crisp painted-on uniform, tall hat, and rifle at the ready.  "The Big Parade" is made up of a rank of soldiers in peacetime march.  This 1960's toy by Marx resembles toy soldiers of old, but these troops are made of decidedly modern plastic.  They also require more than just kid power.  An army may march on its stomach, but these guys aren't moving till they get some fresh batteries.

Bigparadebox01 Optimistically referred to as remote controlled, you simply drop in a couple D cells and let the boys march on.  You can twist the front wheel to set the parade off in one direction or another, but that's hardly "remote control" in this man's army.  The original setup also included a plastic baton.  The exciting ad copy on the box makes the wand seem like it's going to do a lot more than just be a piece of plastic, but I'm pretty sure that it's just there to wiggle around to music.  No matter - the soldiers' marching feet and the big bass drum are charming enough.

I haven't gotten this set to work yet - I guess that the 40 year old motor is on a furlough.  It's certainly a cute enough gadget to try and fix.  Today a toy like this would have a sound chip scratching out an endless loop of "Stars and Stripes Forever", bBigparadebox02ut back in the 60's I suppose that you'd just put on a record of military marches (which may sound like an odd music genre, but the thrift stores are full of such recordings) and conduct your own plastic patriots.

It's nice to see a toy that depicts one of the more fun duties of being a soldier.  Make your mamas proud, boys!

related:

Strange World War II stuff
The pocket watch goes to war
Rolex Oyster P.O.W. watch

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