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. People who think that toy can’t attack you, never met a Water Wiggle, I assure.
With a normal hose, Water Wiggle was a mischievous companion. Should you have particularly powerful water pressure, Water Wiggle transformed 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 Water Wiggle, which could strike without warning and deliver a blow to the face, among other areas.
In most cases, nobody got seriously hurt, just knocked around a bit. Most cases, That soon changed and 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 head of the toy and putting the metal connector in their mouth. Whether that was the toy’s fault mattered little. After the second tragedy, Wham-O 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. It’s as if they would rather the people forget it ever existed.
That’s a tall order though, to ask the typical 70s kid to forget such an infamous toy. The Water Wiggle may have been a little sadistic in its splashing activities, but for most of us, it was also a heck of a lot of fun, providing wonderful summer memories for millions of children. Back in the day, we were fine with a little danger mixed in with our fun.
If you have a few of your own memories concerning the Wham-O Water Wiggle, I hope you’ll take a moment to share them with the rest of us in our comments section below.