Comic Book Men

I just finished all 7 seasons of Comic Book Men an Amazon Prime video. It was an AMC television show, podcast, starring Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks II, Tusk) and his employees of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. This is a comic book store located in Red Bank, New Jersey. Sitting around a table Kevin Smith, Bryan Johnson (Mallrats, Dogma, Shooting Clerks, Making Fun: The Story of Funko, Impractical Jokers: The Movie), Walt Flanagan (Clerks, Mallrats, Vulgar),

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Wham-O Super Ball

Wow, I loved these balls. I remember that they surpassed any other ball I ever owned for how high it would bounce. Even a golf ball, off the concrete, could not match. I used to throw the super ball off the house and field it with my baseball glove. It was incredible but after a few hundred times off the bricks it would disintegrate, unlike the rubber baseballs, tennis balls or golf balls I also used. They were made of a synthetic rubber invented by chemist Norman Stingley in 1964.

An elastic ball made of Zectron, containing the synthetic polymer polybutadiene and hydrated silica, zinc oxide, stearic acid among other things was vulcanized with sulfur at 329 degrees F and formed at a pressure of 3500 psi.

Thrown to the pavement by an adult the Super Ball could bounce as high as a three story building. He offered the invention to Bettis Rubber Company, who turned it down, and then to Wham-O who still makes them today. In the late 60’s Wham-O made a bowling ball size promotional Super Ball and dropped it off a building. On the second bounce it destroyed a parked convertible. Lamar Hunt, founder of the AFL, said that his kids played with Super Balls and he pitched the name “Super Bowl” to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle on July 25, 1966.

Click Read More to see more on the Super Ball

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Thingmaker

Thingmaker is a product by Mattel started in 1964. The toy came in kits, like Creepy Crawlers, with die cast moulds that you you heat in the open-face hot plate oven to about 390 degrees F (199 degrees C) and add the Plastigoop which would cure , when cooled by the placing in the water tray to form rubbery replicas.

There were even moulds sold separately like Superman and Tarzan. There was different sets for making soldiers, or dragons or Creeple People and more. They even made moulds the would fit together and you would insert the goop into a hole that would fill the cavity.

When cool you would have a 3d character , like the soldiers and moulds shown in my photos. It was a lot of fun making these different things and we were smart enough, back then, not to injure ourselves or burn the house down. Through the years they have added safety precautions to the kits but they still sell them.

To read more about Thingmakers check out Wikipedia.

See the photos from my collection (and Tims!) and some cool Creepy Crawler videos by reading more!

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Spyder Bike

Wheelie bikes are also called Muscle bikes, High-Riser bikes, Spyder bikes and Banana bikes. Designed in the 1960’s to resemble the Chopper motorcycles with ape hanger handlebars (wide, easy to see through, with high grips), banana seat with sissy bars

(long seats that could accommodate a second rider with a metal backrest at the rear) and 16-20 inch wheels (the larger one in the back). Al Fritz designed the Schwinn Sting-Ray which was released in 1963, other companies, like Sears, would follow upon their success. I got a Sears Spyder bike for Chistmas in the 60’s and it was my favorite.

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Carousel Gumball Machine

The Carousel gumball machine was started in the 1950’s by Arthur Gold. In the 1980’s the brand was purchased by Ford Gum & Machine. The machines are cast iron with glass globes. They are made in different sizes known as the King, Junior and Petite (like mine shown in the photo). They still make replicas today but the originals are sold on auction sites for a little more. You can also buy parts for all the models.

Mine has advertising on the glass that says “Specialty Atlanta” and has a picture of a coffee cup? The idea is that they are banks. On mine, if you remove the top screw you can load gumballs and the bottom releases to get your money!

Electric Football

I got my Electric Football game for Christmas in the late 60’s and I thought it was incredible. As an only child I mostly played the game by myself and it worked very well.

In the late 40’s Norman Sas, President of Tudor Metal Products, invented the game. Sas based it off the Tudor vibrating car racing game already in production. In the 60’s, industrial designer Lee Payne came up with the idea for plastic 3D figures in football poses and actual NFL licensing of teams. There have been many updates through the years and they still make electric football games today. This is all I have left of mine, the kicker and a goal post!

Sid & Marty Kroft’s Bugaloos Game

Sid & Marty Kroft’s Bugaloos Game is a Milton Bradley, 1971, board game based on the 1970-72 NBC television series airing on Saturday mornings.

In the game you try to be the first Bugaloo to reach Tranquility Island. The quartet was I.Q. (John McIndoe), Harmony (Wayne Laryea), Courage (John Philpott) and Joy (Caroline Ellis). You roll dice and move spaces, which are notes.

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Etch A Sketch

This is my original Etch A Sketch that I received as a child. By turning the two knobs the stylus moves, displacing aluminum powder on the back of the screen in a line. Turning it over and shaking the powder erases your work. This method of drawing is called lineographic art.

The Etch A Sketch was invented by André Cassagnes of France and manufactured by the Ohio Art Company. The first release was July 12, 1960.

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Sliding Puzzles

This game was invented by Noyes Chapman in 1880. It was the 15 number game which is sometimes wrongly credited to Sam Lloyd.

My parents loved these and would get one occasionally. They were a lot of fun, especially for a kid on a long drive. Sliding Piece Puzzles (Recreations in Mathematics) by Edward Hordern is the definitive book on this mathematical game.

For more information on these games read this Wikipedia entry.

Rubik’s Cube

Ernő Rubik invented the cube in 1974 as a tool to help students understand 3d objects, moving parts independently without the mechanism falling apart.

After realizing the possibilities of his puzzle he got a patent and sold it to Ideal. There are many books and videos (now) on solving for us ordinary but curious folk. Read more on Wikipedia, Rubiks, Youcandothecube and Ruwix.