Archive for the ‘WHAM-O’Category

1979 Toltoys Fun Fountain

One of the most viewed posts here on Toltoys Kid is the entry featuring Willy Water Bug. I receive regular requests asking where they can be found today, unfortunatey I’m not much help, suggesting they start a ongoing search on ebay. It seems the kids of the 70’s want their kids today to enjoy the same summer fun we had, running on the lawn with water splashing everywhere and not a care in the world.

I feel I may be in for more requests with today’s post featuring a cousin of Willy, the Wham-O “Fun Fountain” clown sprinkler. The example below is again the Toltoys Australia branded version, I was lucky enough to find this guy in mint unused condition. When the hose is attached to the base and the water turned on, the hat rises above the head on a stream of water. Unlike Willy Water Bug I do remember this toy, in particular hitting the hat by swinging a cricket bat at it. Really loved the 70’s I did.






05 2011

Toltoys 1973 Frisbee Mint in Pack

A nice ebay find from a couple of years ago was this packaged Toltoys Frisbee. Another product of the Wham-O / Toltoys partnership, Frisbees were heavily promoted by Toltoys in Australia in the early days, as this article on the AFDA website discusses.

How many of these were lost over the back fence or in the surf in the 70’s?


02 2011

Willy Water Bug

Willy Water Bug
If you look closely underneath the “1982” text on the Walton’s Wishbook cover below you’ll see a strange little yellow creature. He’s the one sitting innocuously next to the cool Tomy / Toltoys Air-Jammer motorcycle.

Who or what is this thing you ask? Meet Willy Water Bug, one of Wham-O’s contributions to the summer-toy craze of the 70’s. This was to be no Slip’n’Slide however, since the result of attaching the prescribed garden hose to the rear of Willy produced viciously whipping tentacles of terror reaching out for small bare legs in all directions. Fun for all the family!

I can’t say I recall Willy from my childhood, but finding the example above complete with Toltoys liveried box was manna from heaven for this blogger let me tell you. What was it with Wham-O? Not content to poison us with Super Elastic Bubble Plastic they went on to unleash this water-laden lacerator on frolicking children. Even the kid on the box is recoiling in fear.
Being a William in real life, I’m not a massive fan of the nickname “Willy” either, so lets’ just consign this one to the circular file shall we?




04 2009


Big Bubbles, Some Troubles.

You’ve got to wonder what WHAM-O were thinking when they decided to market a toy to children that was designed to be inflated by mouth, yet was not safe enough to come in to contact with painted surfaces or furniture.

(Re-)Introducing SuperElasticBubblePlastic. Basically you squeezed out a blob of this toothpaste-like goop, molded it over the end of a little plastic straw, and blew for all you were worth. When it worked it was something to see, huge multi-coloured balloons that lasted for as long as a few hours, or until your mum binned it. I often had blow-outs to one side or another however, in theory you could pinch the hole together and keep on puffing, but any engineer knows that once you have a weak spot it’s all over and you may as well start again.

I still remember the distinctive smell of these balloons, somewhere between burnt drinking straws and vomit as I recall.

I suppose we must give WHAM-O credit though for pioneering the field of flammable and creatively toxic kid’s toys. Lead paint was for wimps, you knew you were playing in the 70’s when you stuck a cocktail of Polyvinyl Acetate, Acetone, Pigments and Plastic Fortifiers in your little gob. Ahhhh the 70’s.


PS – Interesting WHAM-O / Aussie connection: WHAM-O introduced the polyethylene Hula-Hoop in the US in 1958, a year after it was created by the great Australian Alex Tolmer, founder of Toltoys. Tolmer sold 400,000 Hula Hoops in Australia in 1957, WHAM-O sold about a bazillion from 1958, and set off a craze that still comes around the school yard every few years even today. So there you go!*

* Page 142, The Playmakers


01 2008