July 22, 2009
As we all know, video games rot our brains and make us weak and lazy. It's summer, Bunky (for us northern hemisphere dwellers anyway)! Get off that sofa and exercise. Or read a book. Better yet, read a book about the fabulous active toys you played before you became a doughy gamer - before sofas, consoles, and gamepads lured you into their quaggy vacuous vortex.
And I've got the book for you. The Wham-O Super-Book. I discovered it last week at, of all places, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. After hours of blissfully exploring Picasso, Pollock, and Penck we hit the bookstore for a quick peek. I was tired and hungry and ready to leave...until this mad wonderful opus stopped me in my tracks.
When I was growing up, Wham-O made the best toys in the business: The Superball, Hula-Hoop, Slip n Slide, Frisbee, Hacky-Sack, Silly String, and my personal favorite: Super Elastic Bubble Plastic. This book showcases all of Wham-O's great toys, including the positively weird stuff, like the Chain Gang Drinking Coasters and the Patio Style Bomb Fallout Shelter Cover. I'm not making that last one up.
Released last year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the company, the Wham-O Super-Book is chock-full of colorful photographs chronicling each toy (including packaging), and it features dozens of vintage print ads and other marketing materials all bearing Wham-O's signature style. As a visual archive of a truly original American toy company (started by a couple of childhood friends out of a garage in 1948), it's an invaluable resource and a retro feast.
So do yourself a favor. Get off that sofa, buy this book, return to your sofa, read it and enjoy! :-)