If there’s one thing the 70s taught us about toys, it’s that anything with an “ick” factor is likely to sell very well. This is perhaps best demonstrated by a viscous green matter packaged into plastic garbage cans called Slime. Introduced by Mattel Toys in 1976, Slime proved immediately popular, a must-have on many a kid’s Christmas list that year. Let’s take a look back.
Slime was, for lack of a better description, a snot-like green substance that poured slowly out of the can into your hands. Cold and clammy, it oozed through your fingers, creating an unforgettable sensory sensation. It practically begged you to be used to torment younger siblings and unsuspecting parents, who probably wondered whatever possessed them to buy such an unsettling product for their kids.
For those that still ponder what planet Slime was discovered on, it was actually made from pretty common ingredients, notably guar gum and borax. Wet to the touch, it had to be kept sealed in its garbage can home when not in use, otherwise (as many young ‘uns eventually found out) it would dry up and harden, making it much less fun to play with. A reasonably similar version can be made in your own kitchen, with only a few common ingredients. For those wishing to explore for themselves, here are a few recipes to make your own Slime.
The original product opened the floodgates for numerous Slime-based toys that followed. Soon after, you could buy Slime that also contained rubber worms, eyeballs or insects. Mattel also released the Slime Monster board game, featuring a reptilian creature that drooled Slime all over the place. The product’s popularity continued into the 80s, sold by Kenner as “Ecto-Plazm” as part of their Ghostbusters toy line. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Masters of the Universe jumped on board with their own versions of Slime.
And, of course, the kid’s station, Nickelodeon, took Slime popularity to a new level, dumping buckets of the substance on the heads of the cast of You Cant Do That on Television, as well as on the game show, Double Dare. They marketed the product as Gak, and sold many varieties, including a glow-in-the-dark version, a scented version, and one that changed colors when exposed to light.
Gross toys have come and gone over the years, but none quite as memorable as Slime. If you remember the sensation of feeling it in your hands for the first time, or begging Santa to bring some for Christmas, we’d love to hear your thoughts and recollections in our comments section, as we tip our hats to the sublime substance forever known as Slime.