Water Wiggle

Water Wiggle

Kids love to abuse their toys, but every once in a while a toy turns the tables and inflicts a little abuse of its own. With its goofy smiling face, the Water Wiggle seemed innocent enough. Simply throw on your bathing suit, attach the toy to the outdoor faucet, turn the water on … and watch all hell break loose.

Founded in 1948, Wham-O brought us some of the most iconic toys of all time, including the Hula-Hoop and Frisbee in 1958, and the Slip-n-Slide in 1961. The following year, they unleashed the innocuous-sounding Water Wiggle on an unsuspecting populace. And if you happened to have particularly powerful water pressure in your neighborhood, the Water Wiggle turned into a Tasmanian Devil of sorts, lashing out in all directions, bobbing and weaving like a prize-fighter. Your young reflexes were no match for the Water Wiggle, which could strike without warning and deliver a blow to the face, and other bodily areas as well. In most cases, nobody got seriously hurt, just knocked around a bit. Still, the toy’s days were numbered.

Two incidents occurred in the 70s, once in 1975, and again in 1978, where children drowned by removing the plastic helmet and putting the metal connector in their mouth. After the second tragedy, Wham-O quickly recalled the toy and pulled the remainder off the market. That would be the end of the Water Wiggle until 1986, when Wham-O briefly reintroduced a (presumably) safer version of the toy. Today, however, there isn’t any mention of this toy on the Wham-O website, as if they would rather the people forget it ever existed.

That’s a tall order though, to ask lovers of retro toys to forget such an infamous yet beloved item. The Water Wiggle may have been a little sadistic in its splashing activities, but for most kids, it was also a heck of a lot of fun, providing wonderful heat relief in the summertime, and a lifetime of memories for millions of former children.

When summer rolled around, did you and your friends play with a Water Wiggle? Did anyone get whacked in the head as a result? We’d love to hear all of your memories of this infamous toy in our comments section below, as we pay tribute to an item that demonstrated the Wham-O name to the best of its abilities.

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