Suburban Shooting, California Coast, 1959
A lone gunboy takes aim from the tailgate of a 1958 Plymouth Sport Suburban station wagon. His stance is sure and his aim is studied as he stares down the barrel of a toy rifle. He is dressed to kill in a smart striped knit tee tucked into indigo denim blue jeans held up with suspenders. Rubber-soled sneakers complete the ensemble. This is a timeless Americana classic little boy look of the highest order.
His shooting vehicle is space age all the way. The dashing stainless side trim and warm green tinted wraparound glass are among the many stylish design features that make the ‘58 Sport Suburban one of my favorite wagons of all time. And you know I love those taillight housings that look like cartoon rabbit ears.
Boys love to play with toy guns. That has been proven generation after generation. The craze was born when civil war ended and gun factories began manufacturing the first authentic looking cap guns and BB guns for children. Over the next several decades having a well-rounded arsenal of western and or army style faux firepower became the norm for most boys growing up in America. Bang, bang you’re dead!
By the late 60s toy gun control had gotten out of hand. In 1968 Sears, the granddaddy of all American retailers took a stand by removing toy guns from their catalogs. That same year Mattel, the Southern California based toy company extraordinaire that brought us Barbie nine years before, introduced Hot Wheels and the boys toy market hasn’t been the same since.
Here’s to 1958 Plymouths, toy guns and Hot Wheels!