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Click-Clacks * How Cool Were You?
If you owned "Click-Clacks" as a youth, then please share this blog entry with your friends...
CLICK-CLACKS - I was always drawn into the latest fads as a youth. Whether skateboarding, yo-yo's, or even Click-Clacks. Yes Click-Clacks... Do you remember Click-Clacks? I can remember when the fad hit, because I was an immediate fan and bound and determined to learn how to make them work. I can't remember if it was my cousins Kenny B and Roger in Colton, California, or if it was my neighbors Paul and Chucko Gage that introduced me to Click-Clacks, but when I saw them the first time, I just had to get some and learn how to use them. In fact, I wanted to master the new art form of Click-Clackers.
In the beginning, resin ball Click-Clacks were not purchased as a set. Instead, you went to either your coffee table or the coffee table of your grandparents and you two of the large grapes off the over-sized grape cluster centerpiece. With two resin balls in hand, you then had to get your Dad's power drill and drill holes all the way through. Then you fed thick 1970 type paracord through them and tied a not. Since paracord was not available, you used whatever thick twine was available and it was prone to breaking at just the wrong time. The twine was then fed through the holes and centered up through a keyring and you were set to go.
The Click-Clack learning curve was rather steep and involved many bruises on the forearm, wrist, and/or hand as the clackers would get out of sync. You had to raise one ball with your weaker hand while dropping it and allowing it to strike the other ball at the bottom of the swing. It would strike and both would follow one of Newton's laws and they would rebound outward. After a couple of outward bounces and rebounds you then attempted to get them to strike each other at the bottom of their swing and again at the top of their swing. They would click at the bottom and clack at the top. The noise was loud and the speed made them blur into one large circle image in the midst of the loud noises. If you were goo you coul get it to go for five seconds, then ten, then fifteen or more. It required concentration, steady movement and strength of the forearm, wrist, and hands, as well as a certain amount of luck. Why luck?
The resin ball grapes were made for a centerpiece and not for a precision balanced Click-Clacker. They were not always perfectly round and/or balanced. The pourings often created air bubbles and other imperfections, and that is why selecting just the right grapes was important. This could make the difference in your being awesome with your Click-Clackers or whether you were a dweeb and unable to master the movements and become the coolest member of you family, friends, and peer group.
The imperfections in the poured resin grapes would also cause dramatic explosions. It was quite an impressive and dangerous site when the the resin ball grapes would split into pieces and resin shrapnel would go flying in all directions. They might just break in half. They might explode in every directions. Safety glasses were only worn by those who already wore glasses. The rest of us just took our chances when the grape explosions occurred. If you could get yours to explode, this usually meant you were really awesome at the task. And when the shrapnel came to rest it was time to once again raid the large grape cluster centerpiece for a new Click-Clack ball.
Eventually, you could purchase these at hobby and toy stores. They were deemed very unsafe for the unskilled, banned, and the toy became a watered down plastic handled unit with plastic guy wires that prevented the flying of any stray balls. This reduced injuries, but completely defeated the need for any expertise and thereby it has lost any of the original intrigue or coolness. Yes, the cool factor was very important to me growing up and clickers were definitely cool when they hit the scene.
If Click-Clacks were invented today and a junior high student took them to school, the Department of Homeland Security would probably be called in to arrest the offender for bringing a hazardous weapon onto the school grounds. I think we have become overly sterilized and this stifles some of the curiosity of the younger minds. Being a teenager in the 1970's was awesome. Life without the internet was incredible. Being in tune with the underground movements of the day with incredible fads like Click-Clacks made me feel like I was the coolest of cool.
NOTE: Click-Clacks were ranked as #9 on the list of all time most dangerous banned children toys behind such toys as the "Atomic Energy Lab" with real radioactive material, "Sky Dancers", "Candy Cigarettes", and "Lawn Darts". http://www.littlethings.com/banned-toys/
THE #1 MOST DANGEROUS BANNED TOY
In 1951, A.C. Gilbert (the inventor of the popular Erector Set), created the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. It featured real radioactive materials for kids to experiment with and the user could create mist trails with particles of ionizing radiation. The U-238 Atomic Energy Lab originally sold for $49.50 and included four Uranium-bearing ore samples. Using the DollarTimes.com valuation calculator the $49.50 set would cost $464.92 in 2015 money.
Make it a great day!
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah