Fisher Price 110 Camera For The Pint-Sized Pretend Paparazzi
Styled after the sleek 110 format cameras of the time, 1974's Pocket Camera from Fisher Price is a gem that I remember from my childhood. The chunky design was good for little hands, and each press of the button twirls the flashcube a quarter turn - just like the disposable Magicube flash on the real thing. You can even look through the viewfinder and pretend you're taking pictures. The carry strap encourages toting along the camera on real trips to snap pretend pics on the go.
There's another opening you can look through, and you view a series of real photos (which have faded with the years, sad to say...). This camera has a selection called "A Day At The Zoo", with each press of the pretend shutter button advancing the photos through the menagerie of animals. The photos inside have faded to red in the past 35 years, but you still get a fine selection of creatures, along with subtitles that your little shutterbugs can read out loud.
I suppose that a lot of us had our fascination with photography start with toys like this one. Just manipulating a camera shaped viewer like this was enough to get the pretending started. The Pocket Camera requires neither batteries nor film, so the fun never has to end. Of course today many kid cams take actual digital pictures while still remaining as durable as a toy needs to be. Digital photography is very suited to kid-sized patience. No week-long wait for photos to come back from the drug store, not even the excruciating minutes while a Polaroid resolves itself. Real digtial photos from a real digital camera. I must admit to being a tiny bit envious of today's pint-sized paparazzi, but there's no camera anywhere that can match the pretend photos a child imagined snapping with this old plastic toy.