August 20, 2007 at 12:27 pm 1 comment

The 1960’s Patio Culture coincided with one of the most prosperous times in American history. Despite the expenditures involved in running a Cold War globally, and a hot one in Vietnam, the U.S. provided ample opportunity for a prosperous middle class to thrive. Couples could build families on blue collar wages, and as often the case, spoil them. clackersKids reared during the Patio Culture Era were often showered with materialistic goods usually in the form of toys. However, this newfound materialism was often tempered with the traditional childhood imagination exhibited by their parents from the Depression Era. A shiny new toy was often supplemented by a homemade one, and plain old sticks were always perennial favorites. Just like their parents, kids embarked on exciting outdoor adventures in and around the neighborhood…only they were better equipped!

Perhaps the biggest school fad toy of the 1960’s, clackers are an excellent example. A simple, primitive design constructed out of space-age polymers; both old and new at the same time. Basically, this testicular looking device consisted of two colored acrylic cast balls connected with a cord with the object being the ability to hit (clack) them back and forth. The timeless simplicity of the design harkened back to the time when similiar devices, bolos, were used by early humans for hunting. If used improperly, both could be equally devastating. Once a kid gained sufficient skill to “clack” his clackers for a sustained amount of time, he would instantly gain status in the kid world. Trouble is clackers could be manufactured in various qualities and sometimes they were known to shatter sending acrylic shards all over the place. Case in point are the clackers I can remember being sold locally at Wacker’s Dime Store. They were not labeled with safety warnings…they were not even packaged. They were sold from a big pile that the kids would rummage through to find just the right color, often creating massive tangles in the cords. I’m sure entrepreneurs used Clear Cast (acrylic kit responsible for tacky homemade paperweights) to cash in on the fad. Needless to say, the tendency to shatter and their more obvious use as a weapon sent this toy to the graveyard of memorable 1960’s toys.

Entry filed under: Kid Stuff!.

Retro Eats…Gotta Love ‘em! Mondo Exotica!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. SV  |  December 15, 2007 at 8:02 am

    These were great. Everybody had them and they were banned from our school. They left bruises on your wrists ,but we didn’t care.

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Greg Knight's Patio Culture



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