old toys & industrial waste
March 13, 2008 5:46 PM   Subscribe

yesterday, my neighbor was talking about that stuff we had as kids that was basically a little tube of awful smelling plastic gunk and a small straw. you put a glob of plastic on the straw and blew weird, oily bubbles. anyone remember what that crap was called? what was it?
posted by xz to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Googling for the words plastic bubble toy was just too easy, right? (Sorry.)
posted by phoenixy at 5:49 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I loved those things, but gawd did they stink! They're Super Elastic Plastic Bubbles. Modern version here.
posted by amyms at 5:50 PM on March 13, 2008

The brand name I know is "Blow-loons." Which invited lots of funny jokes about how bad they "blow" etc etc.
posted by SassHat at 6:11 PM on March 13, 2008

I remember these too. Just tonight at the grocery store I saw them hanging in the middle of the cereal aisle.
posted by sanka at 6:12 PM on March 13, 2008

in the US you can still buy them ad the dollar stores...and yes they still smell like ass
posted by meeshell at 6:28 PM on March 13, 2008

I never had these as a child, but my fiancee introduce me to it about a week ago! I loved it. She found it in Chinatown, and there was no english on the tube so I can't help at all.
posted by comiddle at 6:28 PM on March 13, 2008

I remember that stuff, I just don't remember what it was called. I remember the taste, too. It was kinda toxic, wasn't it? Now I want to find it and buy it and blow toxic bubbles.
posted by wv kay in ga at 6:36 PM on March 13, 2008

I got some at Walgreens in San Francisco last Christmas. Hadn't seen it in years.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 6:53 PM on March 13, 2008

I will admit I find that smell intoxicating. The commercials promised something much, much more fun than what you got for your dollar or two.
posted by pinky at 7:29 PM on March 13, 2008

I just threw some of this stuff away in when I moved a couple of weeks ago. It was fun, but the balloons didn't seem as durable as they were when I was a kid.
posted by kimdog at 7:38 PM on March 13, 2008

As featured on Metafilter, a colored version of traditional, soap-type bubbles has been invented. They aren't on the market yet, though, and since the Metafilter story was about 2.5 years ago I dunno if they ever will be.
posted by jedicus at 8:00 PM on March 13, 2008

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic! It's been over 30 years but I still remember that vile smell.
posted by brujita at 8:08 PM on March 13, 2008

Oh, God. I remember that horrible stuff. I think those bubbles, clackers, and the Slip 'N Slide made up the trifecta of truly dangerous toys.
posted by maudlin at 8:14 PM on March 13, 2008

posted by Oriole Adams at 9:23 PM on March 13, 2008

I know that this is askme and all, but man, if that shit ain't carcinogenic, I don't know what is.
posted by nevercalm at 11:48 PM on March 13, 2008

Am I the only kid to was really into the smell? I couldn't get enough!
posted by lorbus at 12:14 AM on March 14, 2008

According to the Internet, the primary chemicals were polyvinylacetate for the bubbles, with acetone as a solvent (which evaporates when you blow the bubble, leaving the PVA film).

...so the odor was probably acetone.
posted by aramaic at 5:46 AM on March 14, 2008

The stuff I get when I want these (and yes, I have played with these in the past year) is B'loonies, available at my grocery store, Walgreens, and when I'm lucky, the dollar store. Good luck bubble hunting! (Here's the requisite fearmongering safety crap.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:03 AM on March 14, 2008

Love that stuff. Although mine never worked.

Strange ChangeStrange Change Had the deadly Clackers too; brained myself more than once and smashed my fingers often. My other odd "game" was Strange Change where we melted plastic bits to super-hot temps then molded it into what looked like gummy aliens or creatures or some crap.

Luckily we never got Jarts though.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:39 AM on March 14, 2008

Oh the memories...

I remember when they replaced normal straws with straws that didn't allow air to come out of the bubble to prevent people from inhaling the fumes.

Good times.
posted by Schuby at 7:56 AM on March 14, 2008

My father once demonstrated this to us kids, and I thought it was weird.

Recently my nephew gave me some of that Baloonies material, and I haven't even opened its blister pack 'cause I still think it's weird.

Not that I'm adverse to huffing, it's just that some toys are icky. Play-doh, f'rinstance -- yuck.
posted by Rash at 11:57 AM on March 14, 2008

Am I the only kid to was really into the smell? I couldn't get enough!

I liked the smell of it too.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:16 PM on March 14, 2008

Wow, here in Appalachia we must be closer to 1982 than I thought we were. We have this stuff in our dollar stores, grocery stores, Wal-Mart's, BigLots's, Toys R Us's, and generally just about everywhere. Perhaps they're selling all the ones they took from you folks' towns back in the day.
posted by TomMelee at 6:41 PM on March 14, 2008

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