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The war against war toys

The Story

If the Voice of Women campaign has its way, there will be no war toys sold in Canada. They say boys' minds are only being acclimatized more and more to war. But the message is a tough sell, as explained in this 1965 CBC-TV clip. The arsenal their crusade is up against is more sophisticated than ever, and includes "the Johnny Seven One Man Army, a lethal looking affair equipped with grenades and trench mortar." They also face the force of toy manufacturers, who say that without these toys we would have "a race of nambie-pambies."

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Dec. 18, 1965
Reporter: David Halton
Duration: 1:41

Did You know?

• Canadian Voice of Women is an organization founded in 1960 due to concerns about nuclear war and how its possibility was affecting the lives of their children. According to their website, the group is dedicated to "the mobilization of women, and public and governmental education."

• In the 1960s, the organization's opposition to the war in Vietnam led them to bring women from Vietnam to tour Canada. These women met with American women at mass rallies at border points across Canada.


• In the past decade, the organization has protested and held public events at the time of the Gulf War, the War in Kosovo and the war in Afghanistan.


• The Johnny Seven One Man Army is also known as the John Seven O.M.A. Produced in 1964 by Deluxe Reading under their Topper Toys banner, it is a multi-function toy weapon that includes a grenade launcher, anti-tank rocket, armour-piercing shell, repeating rifle, Tommy gun, automatic pistol and a bipod.


• The O.M.A. was one of the top selling boys' toys of 1964, selling over 1.6 million units, according to pop-cult.com. The site says the toy may have been popular because "it was several guns in one (and) kids could assemble and disassemble the thing for whatever role their mission called for."


• Pop-cult.com also notes that the toy was released before the start of the war in Vietnam, when public opinion began to turn against the notion of battle violence.


• In 1965 Topper introduced an item to complement the O.M.A. It was called the Johnny Seven Mircohelmet Phone Set: a plastic helmet with a tinted visor and headphones built inside, with a walkie-talkie attachment.




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