• Talking Pictures Schoolhouse, Mattel
  • Talking Pictures Schoolhouse, Vintage Toys Mattel

Talking Pictures Schoolhouse from Mattel (1972)

Company: Mattel | Release date: 1972 | Ages: 3-5 | Where to purchase: eBay

Released in 1972 by Mattel Preschool, Talking Pictures Schoolhouse was a sight and sound system that taught children about themselves and the world around them.

The toy encouraged children’s emotional intelligence through listening, visual recognition, and self-reflection. The scenarios presented related to a child’s experiences in their physical and emotional environments.

Two programs were included: About My World (an exploration of colours, shapes, and sounds) and About Me (a contemplation of feelings, manners, and the body). Children could match the images on each side of the records with the illustrations on the playboards. The records were inserted into the side of the plastic schoolhouse. The battery-powered toy played short stories and conversations in which different scenarios were explored. The scenarios addressed fear, pride, remorse, personal boundaries, happiness, and other emotions.

When the story was finished, the record could be ejected by pressing the button above the disc.


A complete toy included the schoolhouse record player, nine double-sided mini records (18 audio tracks), three playboards, a record tray, and operating instructions. A parent guide, warranty card, and mail order form were also included. The D-cell battery was not included.

The Talking Pictures line also included the Talking Pictures Alphabet Phone (a primer on the alphabet) and the Talking Pictures Nice Neighbors Phone (an introduction to firefighters, police officers, letter carriers, and more).

Other toys of that era that combined visual and audio elements to engage children included My Books That Talk and Record Player from Kenner (1968), Say It! Play It! Cartridge Tape Recorder from Kenner (1968), Instant Replay Record Player from Mattel (1971), and Mattel See ‘n Say Toys (1974).

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