If you thought you had the worst toys, you don’t.. This has got to be IT!
Mr. Potato Head with plastic potato
In 1952 George Lerner designed a toy called Mr. Potato Head. Originally the toy consisted of several facial features, ears, and hats that could be pushed into a potato (or any other veggie really). I assume Lerner figured that even a poor family could spare one spud for decorating, it could also be eaten after.
But by 1964 the stench of rotting potatoes became too much and the manufacturer, Hasbro, decided to include a plastic potato with slots to receive the various body parts. No more rotting taters; but limited options for creativity.
Of course, using ‘real’ things in toys can lead to disaster. Just think of the classic nerve-testing Operation. Or the potential for economic ruin with Monopoly or, God forbid, the arrival of Armaggedon in the guise of the war game Risk.
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