For youngsters not quite ready to tackle the pogo stick, but eager to get their own bouncy fix, the 1970s offered the Hoppity Hop. Consisting of a large rubber sphere with a handle (or head, depending on the model) affixed to the top, this was a coveted toy among the younger set – at least until your legs grew long enough for a Big Wheel.
Debuting in 1970, the Hoppity Hop was an Americanized version of an Italian toy called the Pon-Pon, invented by Aquilino Cosani in the late 60s. Sun Toys renamed and marketed the toy to great results in the US.
The toy consisted of a big rubber ball, similar to a typical dodge ball but larger, with a sturdy ring to serve as a handle. The toy came deflated, requiring a standard bicycle pump to finish the job. And, should your Hoppity Hop ever lose its bounce, it usually only took a few pumps to return the spring to its step, so to speak.
Thankfully, the rubber was pretty resilient, and as long as you kept your hopping activity away from broken glass, exposed nails, porcupines, that sort of thing, it was unlikely that you were ever going to wear out this toy.
Soon after its debut, a new version of the toy was released, called the Hoppity Horse. The concept was the same, but the boring ring was replaced by a horse head with handles sticking out of each side.
If horses weren’t really your thing, or you just happened to be a fan of all things Disney-related, Sun Toys scored the licensing rights to two of the most popular characters and introduced the Hoppity Mickey Mouse and the Hoppity Donald Duck. They looked a little something like this:
The official Hoppity Hop enjoyed two decades of popularity before sales started to slip in the early 90s. The toy enjoyed similar popularity in England where it is known as a Moon Hopper. Today, if you want one of the Mickey or Donald versions, those occasionally show up on eBay and can fetch a pretty penny.
Were you ever the proud owner of any of the members of the Hoppity Hop family? Can you still remember the distinctive sound the rubber made as it bounced off the pavement? I’d love it if you took a moment to share your Hoppity Hop memories in our comments section below as we pay tribute to this iconic toy of the 1970s.