Kate Hinds is an Associate Producer for WNYC News. She also reports for WNYC and Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: The 2010 Hess Toy Truck
Thursday, October 28, 2010 - 11:30 AM
(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) It's a sure sign that the holiday shopping season has begun: the Hess Corporation has announced that the newest addition to its toy truck lineup will be available for purchase at its gas stations in mid-November. This is a much-anticipated event among children and adults alike--some of whom have been collecting these toy trucks since the company began making them in 1964.
This year's truck is actually a truck-and-jet combination (to the untrained eye, it looks like a tractor trailer carrying a space shuttle on its back). To quote from the source: "Loaded with chrome detailing, the 14-wheeler tractor trailer features a flatbed trailer with hydraulic lift and runway lights that doubles as a launch pad for the accompanying high-powered jet." It costs $25.99 plus tax--and comes with batteries.
A quick web search revealed adulatory blog posts, historical society exhibits, lots of auctions, and a Facebook fan page where you can learn about the Hess toy truck's enduring role in family tradition
("I love getting my grandsons the Hess toy truck each year, they love them." "My son is 28 and still gets one for Christmas") --not to mention its rather breathtaking worldwide reach ("I'm from Romania. Could anyone help me with the new model? I would like to buy 4 trucks").
But Hess might want to rethink their marketing to parents, especially those living with children in tight quarters. I read the following description with something approaching terror: The 2010 Hess Toy Truck "offers the most sounds ever on a Hess toy!"
UPDATE: a reader passed along this link to the 1985 Hess truck commercial. (Thanks, Rachel S.!)