Monday, March 5, 2012

Some Toys Just Won't Go Away...!

Some of the older toys, despite their age, are still fun to play with.

A lot of the toys from the 50s and 60s are still made and sold today, probably because they were enjoyable to play with! Most kids today know what hula hoops are called and seem to instinctively know what to do with them! Not bad for a silly little toy over 50 years old!

Mar 5, 1963:
Hula-Hoop patented

On this day in 1963, the Hula-Hoop, a hip-swiveling toy that became a huge fad across America when it was first marketed by Wham-O in 1958, is patented by the company's co-founder, Arthur "Spud" Melin. An estimated 25 million Hula-Hoops were sold in its first four months of production alone.

In 1948, friends Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr founded a company in California to sell a slingshot they created to shoot meat up to falcons they used for hunting. The company’s name, Wham-O, came from the sound the slingshots supposedly made. Wham-O eventually branched out from slingshots, selling boomerangs and other sporting goods. Its first hit toy, a flying plastic disc known as the Frisbee, debuted in 1957. The Frisbee was originally marketed under a different name, the Pluto Platter, in an effort to capitalize on America's fascination with UFOs.

Melina and Knerr were inspired to develop the Hula-Hoop after they saw a wooden hoop that Australian children twirled around their waists during gym class. Wham-O began producing a plastic version of the hoop, dubbed "Hula" after the hip-gyrating Hawaiian dance of the same name, and demonstrating it on Southern California playgrounds. Hula-Hoop mania took off from there.

The enormous popularity of the Hula-Hoop was short-lived and within a matter of months, the masses were on to the next big thing. However, the Hula-Hoop never faded away completely and still has its fans today. According to Ripley's Believe It or Not, in April 2004, a performer at the Big Apple Circus in Boston simultaneously spun 100 hoops around her body. Earlier that same year, in January, according to the Guinness World Records, two people in Tokyo, Japan, managed to spin the world's largest hoop--at 13 feet, 4 inches--around their waists at least three times each.

Following the Hula-Hoop, Wham-O continued to produce a steady stream of wacky and beloved novelty items, including the Superball, Water Wiggle, Silly String, Slip 'n' Slide and the Hacky Sack.

One thing so many of these toys had in common. They brought the kids outside to play! Plenty of exercise involved in using them as intended! Funny how you could help the kids get their workout disguised as play, isn't it?

I think that coffee on the patio is in order this morning, as the temps are moving back up to the 80s!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a baby boomer and I so remember the hula hoop, we played outdoors on the farm where I was raised, always outside and running..Now kids just don't move and do anything outside, it is all technical, went to a big mall on saturday and sunday, people got to the Apple store and stayed there for hours..oh, my first nice day in about 300 for this area, we walked around this huge Mall several times, went inside got what we wanted walked some more, parked the car on the top floor of the parking garage and walked and walked the sunshine felt lovely, we get about 300 days of raining and windy and icy and sometimes snow, this year no winter so I guess the ants, bugs, and mosquitos will be happy as can be come the one month it swelters here August..I loves the Hula Hoop it wasn't expensive and my brother and sister and I shared and twirled for hours and hours outside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love your blog read it daily early or late!!!!!!!!!!!

George said...

Anon makes good points. Reading the original post brought more a sense of sadness to me rather than the happiness of reliving old memories. Sadness that things have changed as they have with our youth. Now perhaps I am just an old fuddy and I don't appreciate the changes but it is true that the youth are not outside as they used to be. Taking the hula hoop, we had contests in the neighborhood and it was amazing what we could do with a cheap, non-mechanized, item. Today, it seems everybody needs bells and whistles.

Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

Had 'em all! Wonder what would happen today if a kid went to school with a slingshot or a pea shooter in his back pocket? Yikes!
Oh, thanks for the cartoons yesterday and yes, coffee by you today. It's 26 out here.....

Sixbears said...

One of granddaughters has all these wonderful toys, yet really likes to play with rocks and sticks. Go figure.

Ben in Texas said...

Yep, We had one as kids. Somewhere I got ole 8MM film of all us boys playing with it one Christmas. Fun Memories.

Anonymous said...

I remember a whole lot of Hula Hoop users during the Ed Sullivan show, it was a very popular item!

John said...

Kids play outdoors? What a novel idea!

linda m said...

Native Americans have been using the "hoop" for generations in their Native dances. It is amazing to watch them perform their dances - they can do things with those hoops that normal people would never dream of.

JOJO said...

AAHHH the good old days. When toys were fun and cheap. And yes never stayed in the house always out side.

Coffee on the patio it is. Should be in the high 80s here.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Now that was one toy I was never really interested in except to watch a pretty girl use one.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 3:42...
I think that as kids, my sisters and I spent more time outside than in! Always found more than enough to entertain ourselves.

Love the guys who made their fortune creating toys and ways that folks could exercise and have have fun! What a great calling!

Thanks for coming over today. I appreciate it!


Hey George...
I guess that we should have seen it coming somewhere down the line, but how?

Seems to me that we did alright without all the fancy gadgets available today. Running around hollering, bike riding, tree climbing, all that stuff.

Now days, I spend a lot of my time inside instead of out but mainly out of fear of drive-bys and being robbed! Sad!

Hey, thanks for coming over this morning!


Hey Phyllis...
If a kid went to school with those today, not only would he be suspended but his parents would likely be arrested as well!

Not only that, he would be outgunned by the folks carrying firearms!

Sad commentary on the way things are! 26? YIKES! You need to come to Texas!

Thanks for the visit today!


Hey Sixbears...
Nothing makes as good a toy as do the ol' sticks and stones! Heck, I even had my favorite piece of board to play with!

Imagination is a wonderful thing in a child! Nonstop entertainment!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!


Hey Ben...
That was another feature of the hula hoop...boys and girls alike could play with it and no one cared!

Those old movies are priceless now days as a way to visit the past!

Thanks, buddy, for coming over today!


Hey Anon 7:39...
Amazing how fast it caught on when introduced! Cheap, too!

Less than $2.00 for the original!

Best thing, you can still buy them today!

Thanks for coming by this morning!


Hey John...
Almost unheard of in this day and age!

A little more of playing outside (where it's safe) couldn't hurt!

Thanks so much for coming over today!


Hey Linda...
I've seen some of those hoop dances and they are amazing!

Learn from some of the older traditions when we can!

Thanks for the visit today!


Hey JoJo...
Cheap and fun! Outside seemed to be the lace to be back then!

Funny that as we get a little older, we start trying to copy what we did back then! Only the toys we use now are not as cheap!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Why Dizzy! You dirty old man, you!

I'll have to admit that it is a pleasing sight to watch, though! We may be older, but we ain't dead!

Thanks, Dizzy, for coming by today!

MsBelinda said...

You brought back old memories of me playing with my cousins with my new hula hoop and the fun time we had.

Back when I was a kid there were hardly no overweight kids we all played and ran around outside without even knowing we were exercising.

HermitJim said...

Hey MsBelinda...
Glad to help bring back some good memories this morning. Seems to me we had a lot of fun, running around outside!

Wonder why kids now days don't try it more? Too much mischief I guess!

Thanks fort taking the time to drop by this morning!

the Griper said...

let's not forget those toys of violence, the cap gun and bb gun

HermitJim said...

Hey Griper...
I had both and I'll admit they were a lot of fun!

Killed a lot of bad guys with that cap pistol!

Thanks for the visit today!

BBC said...

By the time the hoop got popular I was in the Navy and cool exercise was swinging in bars to the twist.

BBC said...

I can still do the twist but forget the limbo.

BBC said...

Ageless toys brings to mind hookers, never met one I didn't like.

LOL