My father was an electronics engineer, and as a result, I grew up in a 1980s and ’90s household steeped in Radio Shack products. We had Radio Shack telephones, clocks, intercoms, stereo systems, cables, tapes, microphones, weather radios, batteries—and best of all for me, Radio Shack toys and games, educational and otherwise.
In 2018, it’s almost incredible to think about the cultural reach Radio Shack had on American gadget and toy culture in the 1970s, 80s, and 1990s. Through its thousands of stores across the country (about 7,300 at its peak), the firm served a wide slice of American households, and several generations, like me, grew up under its influence.
To celebrate the memory of this now-diminished retail giant, let’s take a look at a handful of interesting toys from Radio Shack’s “golden age.” There are tons more toys and gadgets out there, of course—Radio Shack produced thousands of toys during its many decades in business—so I’d love to hear about some of your favorites in the comments.