Parker [Brothers] identifies as its "wildest failure" a game called Oobi, which it trotted out in 1971. This was billed as "the new message medium." It consisted of an egg-shaped hollow container on which was printed these words:
"I contain a message to another human being. Please further my journey an inch, a foot or a mile. Add a note, if you wish. Then help me to the next nice person like yourself."
Parker was so high on Oobi that it instituted special security measures to keep competitors from stealing the idea. Development went forward under the code name, "Project O." The game was introduced on the West Coast with an artful television commercial declaring, "Oobi means love."
Sales were weak but Parker didn't believe it. Oobi was moved into the Southeast. Then Parker got the message: The public hated Oobi.
A legendary flop in the toy industry. It was brought out in 1958 by the Ideal Toy Company, which was the same company that invented the teddy bear in 1903 and introduced the Rubik's Cube in the 1980s.
The story goes that the company president, Ben Michtom, got the idea for it after visiting the Pope. From the NY Post:
Under the leadership of Morris’ son, Ben, Ideal expanded to produce the Shirley Temple Doll; the first black baby doll; Betsy Wetsy; and one major flop, a baby Jesus doll, which had the Catholic Church’s blessing.
“What a bomb,” exclaimed [Paula] Michtom. “Being Jewish, [the family] didn’t understand that no one was going to buy the toy. No one was going to have their children playing with the Christ child.”
Even the kids in the ad for it look pretty disinterested in the thing.
From the mind of inventor George Fullerton came, in 1973, the Belly Bongo.
It's called a "Belly Bongo," and according to inventor Fullerton, it will make you "shake, rattle and roll." Made of high-impact styrene plastic, the Belly Bongo toy is an 8-inch square composed of four open-ended chambers. A hard rubber ball hangs from a three-inch string on the front-center. A canvas strap threaded through the back fastens it to your body. When Belly Bongo is secured around the hips — "where the action is," says Fullerton — the ball moves with the motion of your body. As it hits on the hollow chambers, it produces a bongo-beat, the tone of which varies according to the chamber size. With the motion of walking, the Belly Bongo emits a bump-da-da-da, bump-da-da-da beat. "It tells you how sexy your walk is," Fullerton grins.
A rapid-motion twist produces an up-tempo pong-pong-pong-pong. With proper body movements, Belly Bongo makes you your own bump-and-grind drummer. A checker in the electro-mechanical division at Honeywell, Fullerton spends his evenings designing and tapping away at product prototypes in his Largo home. Belly Bongo is the latest in a long line of toys and crafts he's invented. Fullerton explains his wealth of entertainment ideas as a direct result of the lack of hair on his head. "It's all because I'm bald-headed," he says with a laugh, "If you're bald-headed, it means you're crazy."
In the Barbie family, Skipper is Barbie's younger sister. The 1975 version of her included the unusual feature that moving her arm caused her to experience "plastic puberty" (as one reporter put it). From wikipedia:
In 1975 Growing Up Skipper was released. The gimmick of the doll, which led to much controversy in the newspapers, was that if Skipper's arm was rotated, the doll would become an inch taller and small breasts would appear on her rubber torso. This concept was later used for Mattel's My Scene brand in 2007 with the "Growing Up Glam" line, which was also controversial.
Appleton Post-Crescent - Dec 19, 1975
Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 19, 2017 -
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