Happy 50th Birthday To The Hula Hoop!


June 19th, 2008, marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most popular toys ever to be introduced in America - the giant colorful plastic ring known as the Hula Hoop. Though other more sophisticated toys have superseded the simple hoop, it remains a favorite among both adults and kids and is still a mainstay in almost every American household.

While hoops made from dried vines date back to ancient Egypt, the modern Hula Hoop first became popular in the 1950's when a wooden version was introduced in Australia, primarily for exercise.

The idea was adopted by American entrepreneurs, Arthur Melin and Richard Kerr, who owned a toy company called Wham-O.

Their version of the hoop was slightly different, in that it was made from plastic and came in various colors and was meant for kids to have fun. Unable to get toy stores interested in buying the Hoop, the two spent a lot of time in Southern California parks, demonstrating it to parents and kids.

Much to their surprise and delight, the Hula Hoop became an instant success! Over twenty-five million were sold within the first four months, and the number reached a staggering 100 million units by the end of the first year - averaging about two Hula Hoops per every American family.

As the hoop's popularity soared, the company struggled to keep up with the demand - at times hiring as many as 50 high-schoolers to manually bend and seal the ready-made tubes.

However, just like all fads, the Hula Hoop frenzy died just as rapidly as it had begun. In fact, had the company not purchased the rights to its next big product - a flying plastic ring, also known as the Frisbee, it would have probably gone bankrupt.

Since then, Wham-O has made many fun products, including the boomerang, the Wheelie Bar and the Slip-n-Slide. However, none of them have had the cache that the Hula Hoop did - which even provided inspiration for "The Hudsucker Proxy", a movie starring Tim Robbins and Paul Newman.

As for the humble Hula Hoop - It's starting to make a comebackas a fitness device, thanks to the Wii Fit Hula Hoop game recently introduced by Japanese company Nintendo. Even Disney's Wall-E is geting into the act - Enjoy the videos and don't forget have some fun with your Hoop today!

Source: al.com,modernmechanix.com, wham-o.com

Cite Article
  • chlooe
    chlooeThursday, December 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm
    love to play with hula hoop because you can twist and twist
    • skuxboy101
      skuxboy101Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 2:37 pm
      • green thing Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 8:25 am
        so funny
        • kidnintend
          kidnintendWednesday, November 18, 2015 at 7:22 am
          any one else hola hooop dance
          • MomMonday, June 1, 2015 at 5:29 am
            i dont like hoola hoops
            • bibliophile
              bibliophileSaturday, December 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm
              Happy B-day...
              • 5nf
                5nfTuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:38 am
                really 50 years
                • susie
                  susieSaturday, October 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm
                  • OhhhhhWednesday, May 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm
                    i think its great but i cant hula hoop
                    • narias3
                      narias3Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm
                      The hula hoop is so awesome. Sadly, I stink at it