Quintessentially American in every way, Tin Can Alley (named after Tin Pan Alley, a district of New York) brought a touch of the exotica to any British housing estate in the late-70s. Not only did it mean that we got to manhandle your very own rifle - albeit a plastic one at that - but we also had our first introduction to Dr Pepper, which were the tin can targets.
Tin Can Alley looked like a real-life replica of a rickety fence with some tins of drink perched precariously on top. The aim was to use the battery-heavy supplied rifle to fire off red beams at the sensor pads beneath each of the tins. Every time you managed to hit on target, the tin above would shoot off the fence, making you feel instantly like a real cowboy. You may have even celebrated with a diginified "Yee-haa!".
Because of the toy's appeal among young boys, Tin Can Alley was superseded by numerous copy-cat games, such as Marksmen, Magic Shot Shooting Gallery, Electro Shooting Gallery and Shoot Out In Space. Later, a hand pistol version of Tin Can Alley was also produced, but true fans of the game mainly prefer the shotgun for its ability to 'cock and shoot'.
The advert for Dr Pepper these days asks the question: "Dr Pepper... What's the worst that could happen?" Thankfully, compared to some other toys around at the time, the worst was probably just a screaming hissy fit after hours of realising it wasn't the can but rather the sensor three inches below that you had to hit. At least you knew where you stood with pellets - even if it was a dent in mum's dado rail!