5/26/15

Strolling Bowling (c. 1980, Tomy)

I remember when wind-up toys from the great Japanese toy company Tomy were pretty common.  Of course, Tomy is still out there today, but from my young viewpoint, they seemed to come out of nowhere in the late 70's or early 80's.
Here is a charming and fun little toy that I picked up to sell, from nostalgia, but after playing with it, I couldn't part with it.
This is from a series of sports-related wind-up games that also included "Goof-Around Golf" as well as  football one.  All three cleverly folded up into carrying cases, making them completely portable.
For Strolling Bowling, an additional part of the lane hooks onto the end of the board, which also contains a well-designed mechanism for the bowling pins.  Levers on both sides of this add-on allow the pins to be reset, and you are ready to bowl.  Just wind up your little bowling-ball-friend (with holes oriented in an ersatz face, of course) and let him hop down the lane!
When you are finished bowling, everything stores in the lane, which becomes a carrying case, complete with a cut-out to store the wind-up, so it doesn't get rattled around.  Excellent design, and for those of you who note the original price tag, it's $5.99.
Speaking of Tomy, I should really do a feature one of these days on their often-copied masterpiece, RUN YOURSELF RAGGED!

3 comments:

Christopher Sobieniak said...

I remember when wind-up toys from the great Japanese toy company Tomy were pretty common. Of course, Tomy is still out there today, but from my young viewpoint, they seemed to come out of nowhere in the late 70's or early 80's.

They certainly came out of nowhere in the atmosphere of the time, plunged head-first into the realm of goofy wind-ups and electric gizmos I'm sure plenty of kids my age clamoured for. While I don't recall having a Strolling Bowling set, I do remember having one of their electronic game sets like this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aCeg-EbOAI

Recall my brother having the Onmibot as well, though I don't think we ever got much use out of it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cLC3FFiqE0

It looks like lately their presence in the US only amounts to a line of pre-school sets, Pokemom, Battleborg and a few other licensed entities. Here or there they might do a limited edition thing like their Tomy Atomic Pinball machine some years back, but certainly those days are over.

Incidentally, if you like to see a bit of one of Tomy's manufacturing plants making those wind-ups, there was a little film made by Disney animator Frank Thomas' son where two talking wind-ups find out how they came to be. This use to show up on The Disney Channel a few times in the 80's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inqB4kfyqio

One of Tomy's Japanese toys that made it's way over here eventually was a game I first saw referenced/spoofed in some anime/manga called "Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu" or what eventually got called "Pop-Up Pirate" in the west. It sorta reminds me of "Tip-It" or "Don't Break The Ice".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pop-up_Pirate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er6qj6D7C6g

Speaking of Tomy, I should really do a feature one of these days on their often-copied masterpiece, RUN YOURSELF RAGGED!

They certainly had a knack for unusually-titled games like "Turn The Terrible Tank".

Sampoerna Quatrain said...

Incidentally, if you like to see a bit of one of Tomy's manufacturing plants making those wind-ups, there was a little film made by Disney animator Frank Thomas' son where two talking wind-ups find out how they came to be. This use to show up on The Disney Channel a few times in the 80's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inqB4kfyqio
>>>

Oh my gosh! As soon as I read those words, it popped into my mind. I remember this film! Thank you for the blast from the past!
And how could I forget that ZOIDS were in it...I shouldn't mention Tomy without mentioning ZOIDS!

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Glad to remember that film then.

And yes, we can't forget Zoids!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DjBzNiIFtE