Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Best Christmas Present I Never Got

My mom provided daycare for a couple of kids back in the 70’s when I was about 10.  It was a brother and sister and the boy was a year younger than me.  I recall one day shortly after Christmas he brought one of his presents over.  It was a Marx Magic Shot Shooting Gallery.  The Gallery was a plastic box similar in shape and size to a 13” tube tv with a piece of plexiglass closing off the targets inside. 

You used a magnetic gun to pick up ball bearings inside the shooting gallery, drag them into position and by pulling the trigger lob the ball bearing toward the targets.  It wasn’t terribly accurate, but you were shooting at objects only inches away from the gun, so you were bound to hit something.  Much of the scoring relied on you and your opponent seeing what happened, which wasn’t always easy.  I mean, you could argue for hours whether the ball actually went through the hole in the ring or missed it entirely.  

By far, the hardest targets to hit were the cuckoo clock which spun the hands when the ball passed through the hole and the ricochet target which was kind of lame because you received no points for it, just a “free” ball.  Why am I aiming at it if all I get is another shot?  Pretty pointless.  Resetting your ammo was almost as much fun as shooting it.  Tilt the game forward and shift side to side and the balls fall back into place, ready for another round.

Anyway, I coveted that game in the true biblical sense.   Almost as much as my neighbor’s Weebles Haunted House.  I never did get it in childhood, but I managed to find this one at an estate sale this past summer.  You can see how years of dragging those ball bearings across the plexi scratches it up.

Hey kid, love the mullet.

I love the inscription in the lower right corner.  Looks like Grandpa and Grandma Huters didn't bother wrapping it.

Note the original price tag of $7.49.  Not the best effort trying to scratch out the price on the gift. They wanted him to know how much they had spent on him.

I wonder if Tim appreciated receiving this and  I wonder if he thanked Grandpa and Grandma Huters.

You know, it wouldn’t take much to change “Tim” to “Tom” on the inscription, slip this under my Christmas tree and pretend Grandpa and Grandma Huters finally came through for me.   I certainly would have thanked them.

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