Something about being a little kid brings out an irrepressible need to jump and bounce. Who among us didn’t mercilessly assault our bedroom mattresses as if they were a circus trampoline? And, if you wanted to go bouncing down the block to a friend’s house, and if you weren’t quite coordinated enough to handle a pogo stick, there was only one real choice – the Hoppity Hop (or Hippity Hop, if you prefer). In their heyday, these popular playthings filled suburban streets with their distinctive sounds, as happy children everywhere got their bouncing fix.
Most credit the concept to an Italian toy maker named Aquilino Cosani, who patented the idea for an inflatable rubber ball with handles in 1968. He called his creation the Pon-Pon. The toy soon migrated to America, where it was sold by Sun Toys as the Hoppity Hop, as well as another version (this one with a rubber animal head attached), the Hoppity Horse.
A pair of beloved Disney characters, each represented on their very own Hoppity Hop, soon arrived on toy store shelves, and soon started flying off of them. Young tykes had a choice between Hoppity Mickey Mouse and Hoppity Donald Duck.
A Hoppity Hop came deflated and was brought to life via a common bicycle tire pump. Properly inflated, the thick rubber ball was virtually indestructible, unless you tried to bounce across a board with nail sticking out of it. Their resiliency and sheer fun factor made them a beloved toy for decades. You can still occasionally find updated versions of the Hoppity Hop, mostly for sale online, but the newer products don’t hold the same charm as the originals, which were once a staple on playgrounds, sidewalks, and sometimes even the kitchen floor, throughout the 70s decade and slightly beyond.
If you were the proud owner of one of these vintage toys, tell us which kind you had and share your bouncy recollections in our comments section. Let’s work together to keep the memory of the Hoppity Hop alive and well, here at Retroland.