I just bought my childhood back.
The Candy Mountain Flatsy playset by Ideal was released in 1971. I received this playset for Christmas when I was a child. I loved Flatsies, and the Candy Mountain playset was awe-inspiring to little Ghouliette.
It also reminded me of our family vacation that previous summer to the Catskills in upstate New York. We stayed at the Motel on the Mountain (before it became a gay motel in 1977). The track of Candy Mountain Flatsy mirrored the winding road up the side of the Mountain that my dad had to drive the family car in order to reach the Motel at the top. When we got to the top, the engine overheated and started smoking as we parked the car! But I digress.
Candy Mountain Flatsy was one of those toys that I nostalgically looked back on as an adult, long after it was discarded at some point with all the other toys I no longer played with. But whenever I looked online for references to it, all I could find was the occasional car and Flatsy doll on eBay, and one tiny picture on Pinterest of the front of the box. Until recently, that is, when I decided once again to look on eBay for this touchstone to my childhood. This time, my patience was rewarded. A complete Candy Mountain Flatsy, in the original box, was languishing on eBay without any bids. With a few minutes left before the auction ended and no other bids, I snagged it!
The box is in pretty rough shape, but it still holds everything that was originally included. The set came with a Flatsy doll, one car, one track, the two halves of the candy mountain, and plastic pins to hold the track in place. The cardboard mountain has five holes bored into it at strategic places. The track has five slots for little plastic pins to fit in. You fit the track onto the cardboard mountain, lining up the pins in the track to the holes in the mountain, and push the pins through the holes to secure the track to the mountain. I appreciate the fact that the playset came with ten pins even though there are only five holes, in case you lose one (or more). It’s that kind of consideration for the customer that is severely lacking in today’s toy world, if you ask me.
The doll that comes with the playset has long blue hair, and is dressed in a little white A-line dress with blue, pink, and yellow dots with yellow piping around the arms and at the scalloped hem. It looks like the iced decoration on a gingerbread girl. Continuing with the sweets theme is her car, which is shaped like a soda bottle – because after eating all that candy, you’ll want to wash it down with something.
The little girl who had this playset once upon a time kept it in excellent condition. The cardboard mountain is minty, and the car is also in excellent condition. And I’ve never seen a Flatsy in as good condition as the one that I received with the Candy Mountain. A search for Flatsies on eBay will yield dozens of Flatsies, mostly nude, and with atrocious hair. The little girl who owned this one never destroyed its original hairstyle. It still retains that style, typical of the late Sixties and early Seventies, with a corkscrew curl on each side of the face and the rest of the hair pulled back into a ponytail. Her face paint is vibrant, and her dress, while showing its age , is still in good condition. The only problem with this doll is that her right arm no longer bends, but this is a common problem with Flatsy dolls and in no way does it inhibit her ability to drive.
The playset came with the original instructions still enclosed, which proved very helpful in setting up the track. When I was little, my father set it up for me, but now I can do it all by myself!
Also included are detailed instructions on how to place Flatsy in her car. Flatsy needs to sit a certain way, just like operating a real motor vehicle. She has to have her legs in front of her at right angles (see instructions) before you place her in the car. This proved difficult with her shoes on, so I had to take them off. Then I had to wedge her into her car because her dress was getting in the way. Once she was in the car, I had to make sure both arms were also directly in front of her (because Mom always said to never stick your arms out the car window, right?). Because her right arm won’t bend anymore, I had to leave it hanging out. Luckily, she suffered no accidents as a result.
Now that I had Flatsy properly seated in her vehicle, it was showtime! I eagerly put the car at the top of the track and pushed it. It didn’t go far before it got stuck, so I pushed it again. Again, it got stuck. It got stuck here…
But once it reached the end of the track, it kept on rolling across the table, just like the instructions promised it would.
Maybe I need to adjust the track to get the car to work. I’ll have to play around with it. But despite this minor disappointment, I’m happy to have the Candy Mountain Flatsy again. It reminds me of my childhood, and of a more innocent time. Even the graphics of the cardboard mountain take me back to the early Seventies. The photos of cookies and cakes remind me of the holiday recipe articles in the issues of Better Homes and Gardens that my mother subscribed to for years. It truly reflects an age gone by.
So does the Candy Mountain Flatsy deliver on the box’s promise of Flatsy Fun and Flatsy Excitement? Um, kind of. It’s really great having a favorite toy from my childhood again, but I was a little disappointed that the car won’t roll down the track anymore. Still, I can fulfill the other promise on the box: to play with her, pose her, love her.
What favorite childhood toy are you nostalgic for?