Monday, March 9, 2009

Beloved items from childhood #1: The Etch-A-Sketch Animator

Draw it.
Save it.

Draw it save it.

The Etch-A-Sketch Animator!

One of my favorite toys when I was a kid, the uber-pricey and incredibly stupid Etch-A-Sketch animator was basically an electronic flipbook--you'd draw up to twelve frames (WOW! TWELVE FRAMES!) and watch them slowly move. The original commercial had a breakdancing skeleton, and that sold me. I mean, who doesn't love a bag of bones with pop'n and lock'n skills? I'd sit in my room for hours working on these simple animations, mostly making various things, well, breakdance. To throw caution to the proverbial wind, you could make your animations run backwards using the risky "Reverse" button. Imagine a skeleton magically flying out of a backspin ONTO his feet, all thanks to a single finger push. The manual had a handful of things laid out for you to animate (a horse, a tiger, a baseball player and said skeleton), but they were seriously time consuming. Still, the device was pretty mind blowing at the time, when it truth it really did just blow.

Check out one of the tv commercials for the animator. I love the John Wayne-esque voice over declaring "Batteries not included!" And who could forget all the times we'd turn to a camera in our white sweaters and give a seriously pained thumbs up in front of a tacky wall hanging? Here's the spot, courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. I think he was giving that thumbs up in front of a Piet Mondrian painting because that's all the majority of us could emulate on the original Etch-A-Sketch.

    That and a crappy house. Or the world's worst staircase.

    I remember asking my mom (after trying out the neighbor's Etch-A-Sketch) if I could just get a sketchbook and a mechanical pencil for my birthday instead.