Friday, July 01, 2011

881 Easy Bake, You’re Dead. Thanks, Estelle

881 Easy Bake, You’re Dead. Thanks, Estelle

Remember the Easy Bake oven?  That’s a kids’ contraption that looks like a little stove and is powered by a lightbulb.  Well it’s dead.  It doesn’t know it yet.  But it is.  

Hasbro makes it these days.  Bought it from Kenner.  Been around since the early 1960s.  Used to look like a tiny oven.  Now looks like an almost full size microwave.  Comes with little boxes of cake mixes and such.   

Follow the directions on the package.  Make yummy stuff.   Take an English muffin, cover with ketchup, add oregano.  Bake.   Presto, Pizza!

But while technology and the times have caught up with the cabinet, they haven’t caught up with the innards.  The Easy Bake still is powered by a lightbulb.  A plain old, old fashioned, Thomas Edison style light bulb.  And when you no longer can get ‘em, what do you do when the light blows out, which -- of course -- it will.

Even if one fit, try to get enough heat out of one of those corkscrew bulbs to warm a pizza, let alone actually BAKE something.

From here on in, the Easy Bake Oven might as well be called the Environmentally Sound Tester of Lightbulb Longevity.  ESTLL, pronounced “Estelle,” for short.  Because that’s all the “oven” is going to be good for.

That’s all you’re going to be able to do with it.  The Easy Bake comes with a “warning,” but it’s not about the lightbulb.  It’s about small parts choking hazards.   No need to warn about touching the lightbulb, pretty soon. No worries about unplugging the thing to avoid a fire either.

The original Easy Bake used two 100 watt bulbs.  The current models use only one.  Toy Slow-Cooker?  

About a million of these things have been recalled for safety issues over the years -- the last of ‘em being 2006.  A year later, it was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame.  That’s hall of fame, not hall of flame.

Pick up a couple of these.   And a supply of real lightbulbs if your state still allows them.  They’ll be worth something some day on the antique and collectible market.

Forget stocks.  Forget metals.  Buy famous old toys.  Get rich quick.

Shrapnel:

--So you’re now paying for the NYTimes website’s full access?  Are you at least the least big angry that they’re still flashing full screen ads at you before you get to the news?  At least the Times gives you a place to click called “skip this ad,” while Forbes.com -- the capitalists are not charging … yet -- tells you you can “skip this ‘Welcome Screen.’”

--Congratulations to Chris Brown, winner in four categories at the BET awards.  Would have been five, but they don’t give a statue for his best known hit.  They give jail time for that.

--Wall St. 24/7 predicts Sears will be among the national brands to disappear before the end of 2012.  Earth to 24/7:  they’re dead already.  They just don’t have the sense to lie down, kind of like the Easy Bake.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com.
© WJR 2011

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