Wham-O Michigan Summers! Remember the Fun Fountain Clown Head?
Before central air came nearly standard in most homes, we Michiganders had to find new and innovative ways to cool off. Some opted to go the route of the pool or maybe a lakehouse and if you weren't lucky enough to be one of those kids, you either made friends with the ones that did or you jumped in a sprinkler.
Michigan's Backyard Waterpark Was All Wham-O
Wham-O you geniuses! How they managed to combine the irony water from our Michigan garden hoses (otherwise known as the drinking fountain growing up in Michigan prior to bottled water and soccer moms) and incorporate it into a toy is beyond me.
Yes, you took four plastic table covers, sewed them together, added water and called it the Slip N' Slide. Over sixty years ago they put a hose in an inflatable animal and created the first-ever Elephant Sprinkler. They also made the Water Wiggle, which was a product you attached to the end of your hose and would then dance around like a loose firehose. Lots of blackeyes as a result of Mr. Wiggle, but as long as we were outside and getting tired, our parents didn't care.
Whamo's Most Dangerous and Most Memorable Toy
Imagine being in a toy manufacturer's board room in today's society and suggesting that your company take the head of a plastic clown, drill some holes, have a hose attached to it, and have a powerful stream of water come out of its head.
THEN before turning on the hose, put a separate but heavier than it should be, clown hat on top of it, and watch it begin to slowly rise. Oh, the glee you felt as a young Michigan Gen-Xer. The HAT IS RISING!!!!!! Certainly, that is high enough given that the top of the hat is spreading the water 360 degrees thanks to the holes in the top.
Nope, it went higher.
And higher still. Pretty cool, huh? You want to run through it, don't you? Well, that is exactly what we did and if you paid any attention in science you will know that the ONLY thing keeping that hat up is the stream of water. Jumping through it resulted in the hat dropping and you hoped the stream would pick up the hat again.
As you can guess, we got hit in the head with clown hats a lot in the 80s. We didn't wear a helmet or a life jacket either, we just got wet and suffered some scalp cuts. I'm sure if Wham-O's Fun Fountain Clown Head were to hit the market today, there would be dozens of lawsuits tomorrow.
It could be worse though, we could bring back Jarts! See the Wham-O Fun Fountain Clown Head in action below.