Thursday, January 29, 2015

At Flashbak: They Stick Like Magic! A Gallery of Colorform Adventure Sets (1966 – 1980)

Now at Flashbak, a gallery of my Colorforms collection!

"Last week here on Flashbak, I remembered “Fotonovels” or “Photostories,” and tagged those publications as one way that kids of previous generations could remember the experience of their favorite movie or TV program in the pre-VCR age.

Today, I remember another popular item from the same time and having roughly the same purpose: the Colorform Adventure Set, or “Cartoon Kit” as it was sometimes known.  In broad terms, Colorforms sets consist of vinyl-sheet figures, ships, or objects, and a cardboard background upon which they can be set, and re-set.

Colorforms were first created in 1951, and in 1957 the company began to license popular entertainment characters such as Popeye for their sets.

In the year 2000, the Toy Industry of America named Colorforms one of the best toys of the 20th century, and in 2011, Time Magazine named them as one of the 100 best toys “ever.”

Colorforms often came with brochures or booklets demonstrating for kids “one of the many” scenes they could make with their new toy.  And parents were informed, likewise that “your child now joins millions of others in the same age group in a happy growing experience.”

For Colorforms, according the booklet, possess “rare educational value” helping your child with six important skills: “Finger dexterity,” “sense of spatial relationship,” “size matching,” “building ability,” “color sense” and “sense of neatness and order.”

When I grew up in the seventies, Colorforms proved a key and constant element of childhood, and today I want to feature pictures from my home collection, and some of my very favorite sets. 

Basically every sci-fi franchise you could think of in the 1970s and 1980s had Colorforms sets to accompany them, from Star Trek (1966 – 1969) and Battlestar Galactica (1978 – 1979) to Planet of the Apes (1968) and Gremlins (1984). I had as many as I could get my hands on, and I’ve managed to keep several sets across the decades.

Here are five examples of the Colorforms adventure sets, circa 1966 – 1980..."


  1. The ones I remember most are the Castle Dracula Fun House and the Mickey Mouse Magic Glow Fun House. That one you had to place a lamp behind and secret pictures would appear. I also had a Hulk/ Spiderman set that I enjoyed.

    For more on the history of Colorforms, check here:

  2. Anonymous6:56 AM

    I had the Batman & Buck Rogers who highlight, as well as many others, including Superman, The Muppet Show, and a cool Spiderman one that you could prop up like an easel (the "board" was a building, with one side the exterior for him to climb and the other the interior where he fought the baddies.