Despite the best of intentions, not all toys that reach the marketplace are entirely safe. Take Click Clacks for example (also known as Clackers, Clack Balls, Kerbangers, etc). They seemed harmless enough – just a couple of acrylic spheres attached by a string – but history tells us that they were eventually deemed so dangerous that their sale was banned.
Click Clacks arrived on the scene in the early 70s under a variety of names. They were inexpensive and kids loved them. Simply hold the center of the rope, move your wrists up and down, and watch the balls collide together above and below.
It was impossible to ignore the loud clacking sound this activity caused. Parents who purchased Click Clacks soon regretted it. If only there was a way to undo the damage.
Parents got their wish when news reports (fueled by equal parts fact and urban legend) began reporting numerous injuries sustained by youngsters playing with Click Clacks. These ranged from pinched fingers to cracked skulls to shattering glass spheres that left splinters of glass in the eye.
Safer plastic versions soon followed, but the damage was already done. Click Clacks had earned a dubious reputation, one from which they would never recover.
But for a few short years, the sounds of Click Clacks echoed across the nation, bringing smiles to the faces of children everywhere. Once branded “dangerous,” however, they became scarcely seen, and today, live solely in the memory banks of millions of 70s kids.
If you ever had the pleasure of playing with Click Clacks, I hope you’ll take a moment to share your memories in our comments section.
Do you have any way of finding these to purchase? I really don’t have much memory of my child hood but this sure is one memory…I would love it to be this one!
Yes definitely had these and so did all my girlfriends. And yes, I definitely did have these taken away. First the noise, and then, the stupidity of first my brothers, than me and my sister.
It wasn’t that they were dangerous when we did what we were supposed to do with them. It was when my brothers would try to use them as flails or some weird version of nunchaku, or when someone would be flipping them around while others competed to see who could stick their hands and/or faces in and then get them back out without getting hit.
So many messed up bruised hands and forearms, black eyes, and lumps on the heads later, both me and my sister had lost our Kerbangers. My oldest brother still apologizes to me for that and we’re in our 40’s now, lol.
OMG I am crying with laughter reading your post….so funny and soooo true. We did the same thing with these click clacks although I have to admit, I was pretty good using them the ‘correct’ way…I’m still laughing out loud…very funny stuff!
In “Beware the Blob” aka ” the film that J.R. shot” theres a scene with Dick Van Patten confiscating the classic clear glass click clacks. And yes when kerbangers came out years later all the old urban myths of kids losing their eyes resurfaced.
I remember seeing a photo of something like these being used in the Australian outback or somewhere to trip up ostriches(?) or something. Throw them at their legs and the balls would tangle the string around their legs. And they approved these things for kid use.
We refered to them as kerbangers. Mine were yellow and had the plastic handle to hold not the more popular ring. While I do remember a few bruised wrists from this toy, what I wouldn’t give to jave one today.
I grew up in Hicksville in the 70’s and had an old man neighbor across the street. He would give out click clicks to all the kids, he told us he invented them. I think we called him Mr. Intestine.
I have the original click clacks and I am the master at them, sadly though one of the strings attached to one of the balls finally broke apart. I cannot throw them out as I have them all these years, as I am 60 now. They were a see thru blue, oh how I loved those silly toys. They are now in my junk drawer.
I still have mine. Although I am still as bad at it as I was back then. Every once in a while, I will take them out and give them another try.