Childrens’ toys Mandrake!

general Jack D. Ripper

One of my favorite movies of all time is Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. The characters are absolutely over the top: Peter Sellers with three roles as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley and Dr. Strangelove, George C. Scott in what I think is his finest performance as General “Buck” Turgidson, and Sterling Hayden as the insane General Jack D. Ripper. Early in the movie, Ripper orders a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union and then rambles on to Mandrake about all the commie plots in the U.S., specifically the fluoridation of water.

General Jack D. Ripper: But that’s just the beginning. Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk… ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: [very nervous] Lord, Jack.

Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?

Mandrake: I… no, no. I don’t, Jack.

Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That’s the way your hard-core Commie works.

Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen… tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first… become… well, develop this theory?

Ripper: [somewhat embarrassed] Well, I, uh… I… I… first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.

Mandrake: Hmm.

Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue… a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I… I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.

Mandrake: Hmm.

Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh… women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake.

Mandrake: No.

Ripper: But I… I do deny them my essence.

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I am much the worse for wear as a result of drinking barge loads of fluoridated water over the years. However, the same can not be said for children in this country playing with toys that contain horrible substances like lead and other noxious chemicals. The majority of the toys sold in this country are not made here. Most are made in China. I don’t know about you but Chinese toys make me nervous. Having a child put a toy made in China into his mouth gives me pause. Chinese products headed the list of items recalled by the U.S. Product Safety Commission by a wide margin. To be fair, this isn’t that surprising since we imported almost $24 billion worth of toys from the Middle Kingdom last year.

If you want to spare your kiddos or Grand kiddos from having the dubious opportunity to play with Chinese toys, why not give them American toys? Here are a few to consider.


I still have fond memories of Slinky sessions as a kid. The Slinky is still made in Hollidaysburg, PA.



Knex are actually a reshored product. Up until 2008, a lot of Knex products were made in China, but the Glickman family decided to bring production back to the U.S., for a number of reasons, including getting better control over material and quality to ensure the safety of their toys. Way to go Glickmans!


Dado Cubes

I don’t think Dado Cubes existed when I was a kid, but if they had I would have loved them.

dado cubes

So, the next time you need to outfit small Americans with toys, give them American toys. They will be happy, you will be happy and so will the members of our extended American family that make the toys. Triple Win!

I leave you with another hilarious bit of dialogue from Dr. Strangelove. Dr. Strangelove was arguably patterned on some of the Germans who helped the U.S. in the space race.

Dr. Strangelove: I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy…heh, heh…at the bottom of ah…some of our deeper mineshafts. Radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep, and in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in dwelling space could easily be provided.

Muffley: How long would you have to stay down there?

Dr. Strangelove: Well let’s see now ah…cobalt thorium G….Radioactive halflife of uh,…I would think that uh… possibly uh… one hundred years.

Muffley: You mean, people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?

Dr. Strangelove: It would not be difficult Mein Fuhrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh…I’m sorry, Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country, but I would guess that dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.

Muffley: Well, I, I would hate to have to decide…who stays up and…who goes down.

Dr. Strangelove: Well, that would not be necessary, Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross-section of necessary skills. Of course, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. Ha, ha. But ah, with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present Gross National Product within say, twenty years.

Muffley: But look here doctor, wouldn’t this nucleus of survivors be so grief-stricken and anguished that they’d, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?

Dr. Strangelove: No, sir…excuse me…When they go down into the mine, everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead! [involuntarily gives the Nazi salute and forces it down with his other hand]Ahhh!

Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn’t that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious…service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

Russian Ambassador: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.


About John Briggs

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at
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1 Response to Childrens’ toys Mandrake!

  1. Amy says:

    I bought the Dado cubes for my nephew. He and my other nephew love them! I would have gone nuts for them if they had been around when I was kid as well.

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