I have to go way back to remember my first record player. It was the Fisher-Price Music Box. It was apparently first produced in 1971 with very few changes over many years. I don’t know if I had a hand-me-down from a cousin or if I got one of these new in 1976 or 1977.
It was essentially a music box disguised as a record player. It came with five records with one song on each side, making for ten total songs.
- Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
- Jack and Jill
- London Bridges
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Au Claire de la Lune
- Children’s Marching Song
- Humpty Dumpty
- Hickory Dickory Dock
- Camptown Races
I am pretty sure this thing was still kicking around my parents’ house for a very long time after both my younger sisters had outgrown it. This was another toy built to last. It was virtually indestructible. The problem was that it was very limited and quickly outgrown.
The next “real” record player was one a child could grow with. Also by Fisher-Price, the Phonograph was first produced in 1978 and also had little changes for many years. My sister and I shared one, but I think it was technically hers. It must’ve been 1980 or so when we got ours.
It was a great first record player. It could change speeds and was a pretty tough little record player. We used it mainly for story records. Disneyland records and Rankin Bass stories are the ones that stick out in my memory.
My sister had all the classic Disney stories. Robin Hood and The Jungle Book were the two Disney records I really liked. I liked the Rankin Bass and movie adaptations better.
“When you hear the chime ring, turn the page”…different variations on that sentence are still burned into my memory.
Disneyland had started releasing records in 1956, but these 7″ records and storybooks started appearing in 1977 with Zorro and Sleeping Beauty. They were periodically released up until 1986 with The Great Mouse Detective being the last in the series. My sister and I had amassed quite a collection of these over about five years. They were fun, but wore off pretty quickly and we both moved on to musical tastes.