It was 1979 when Xavier Roberts and five of his friends developed the Little People Originals dolls, a loveable but odd looking children’s toy that would soon become known as the Cabbage Patch Kids. Roberts, a sculptor from Georgia with a love for sculpting and quilting, was the manager of a craft store. Working part-time to put himself through college, he stumbled across a grand idea, a new way to market his dolls that would very quickly make him rich beyond his wildest dreams.
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In April 1975, Gary Dahl, a Los Gatos, California advertising executive, was in a bar listening to his friends complain about their pets. Although adorable and loveable, barking, dirty litter boxes, tearing up furniture, and constant feeding and care made messy pets somewhat of a nuisance at times. Gary said, jokingly, that a “pet” rock would be an ideal pet to own. He explained that a pet rock did not require feeding, walking, grooming, would not die or become sick and would not be disobedient. In short, they would be the perfect pet. When Gary arrived back home, he began thinking – maybe a pet rock was not such a bad idea after all. If it were marketed well, it just might work.
File sharing is the sharing or distribution over the Internet of electronic files such as multimedia files (moves and music), electronic books, video games, and any other digitally formatted media. With the movement of popular entertainment mediums to electronic formats, file sharing has become quite common and widespread. Popular with teens, file sharing often involves copyrighted properties such as music or movie MP3 files and hence, is typically considered illegal.
Rarely has a toy reemerged over and over again as a hit “new toy” as the Lemon Twist (or Jingle Jump, Footsie, Skip-A-Roo, or Skip It) has done. First introduced in the late 1960’s as the Footsie toy, it became very popular for several few years before gradually fading away into obscurity. Then in the mid-1970’s the toy reemerged as the Lemon Twist toy and became one of the top selling toys of the decade.
Flying disc toys have been thrown by people about as long as flat round objects existed. In the United States, two simultaneous “inventions” of the flying disc occurred on opposite ends of the country while a major tweaking of the disc design and a hearty dose of marketing set off the 1970’s Frisbee craze that lasted for nearly two decades.
From 1890 to 1900 was the greatest era in the history of chewing gum in the United States. The press, the pulpit, and the medical profession were largely occupied in denouncing the “vulgar” habit as detrimental to mankind. Sparked by an off-chance discovery of the perfect chewing gum ingredient, the chewing gum craze took off in early 1890 and continued its grand run for well over a decade.
Stuffed with soft, white cotton and covered with smooth, soft fur the Teddy Bear is an enduring stuffed animal loved by children all over the world. When the Teddy Bear was invented in the 1900’s, its popularity soared and turned its inventors from sole proprietors of a local candy store into one of the largest toy companies in history.
For Hollywood, the 1950’s presented a plethora of obstacles. A weather-beaten Hollywood had to contend with new competition from the highly successful television market. To counter TV, Hollywood looked for gimmicks to attract moviegoers. Once such device was a newly improved medium – the three dimensional or 3D movie.
Hacky Sacks, or footbags, were popular with youth in the United States during the 1980’s. During the peak of the fad, several million Hacky Sack footbags were sold sold each year. Surprisingly, the Hacky Sack had been invented nearly a decade earlier and footbags in general have been enjoyed by the public for many centuries.
The Smurfs, a comic and television franchise, centered on a group of small blue funny talking creatures called Smurfs. Popular in the 1980’s, they appeared on television, t-shirts, miniature models, games, burger boxes, and in toy stores throughout the United States. Many may not know it, but the Smurfs were created over a decade before their surge to success.