WHAM-O Salutes 60 Years of High-Flyin’, Slip Slidin’, Hula-Hoopin’ Super Bouncin’ Fun as America’s Storied Innovator of Imaginative Play: 2008 Marks Iconic Toy Maker’s 60th Year Of Engaging America’s Young And Old With A Yearlong Celebration That Includes Online Commercial Contests, Special 60th Anniversary Products And A Search For The Next Great Kid Toy Inventor

Emeryville, California (EastBayDaily) —     In 1948, childhood friends and University of Southern California college students Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, founded WHAM-O as a leading designer/distributor of innovative, high-quality recreational activity products. WHAM-O initially set up shop in Knerr’s parents’ garage and introduced the Slingshot(R), the original product from which the company derived its name, based on the comic book sound of a target being hit. With toys that range from zany to basic, WHAM-O has since provided endless hours of affordable, interactive amusement for all ages and skill levels.

“For over 60 years, WHAM-O’s iconic brands have given consumers innovation, quality, value, and fun, and have built WHAM-O into the globally successful, year-round seasonal products company that it is today. From off-the-wall novelty items to classic toys and sporting goods, WHAM-O’s products have sparked imaginations, engaged people with active fun, and brought endless enjoyment to backyards, beaches, parks, and playrooms the world over,” said Mojde Esfandiari, WHAM-O’s president and CEO. “Our creative team is as bright and imaginative as our celebrated products, which have come to define summertime fun and have inspired people of all ages to get outside and enjoy life for more than 60 years.”

In acknowledgment of that 60-year history, WHAM-O will celebrate its iconic toy culture with two interactive contests designed to celebrate the colorful past and engage WHAM-O enthusiasts of the future. Because Melin and Knerr frequently experimented with toys in fun, wacky ways and were open to original and sometimes odd ideas, WHAM–O will entice its loyal fan base of creative, innovative boys and girls to tinker, test and create the next great WHAM-O toy through a “60th Anniversary Kid inventor contest.” Kids will be asked to submit their toy inventions for the opportunity to have their invention marketed and sold as the next great toy from WHAM-O.

In paying tribute to WHAM-O’s history of zany and out-of-this world antics in its early TV commercials, WHAM-O will take a page from its illustrious past to create the ultimate online opportunity for today’s generation to take part in outdoor fun, Web 2.0 style, with the “Wacky Zany Original Fun Commercial Contest.” Today’s generation will have the opportunity to join the “Originator of Fun” to create and upload their best “WHAM-O style” vintage commercial online for a chance to win $5,000.

Additionally, WHAM-O will reach out to kids of all ages across the country to showcase “WHAM-O” talent and reward those with great historical knowledge of WHAM-O’s Frisbee-flyin’, Slip ‘N Slidin’, Hula-Hoopin’ past. The 60-year-old company will cross the airwaves nationwide with “wacky” promotional radio call-in contests that reward lucky listeners with iconic WHAM-O products. WHAM-O will also “go on the road” with “Team WHAM-O”, made up of world record book holders and talented experts who are specifically known for performing the best tricks with WHAM-O’s legendary products.

WHAM-O will commemorate its 60 years of providing summer fun with its enduring, iconic product line-up of world-famous favorites, including some exciting updates, each designed with an energy and enthusiasm that has made the name WHAM-O synonymous with fun. These, iconic products include:

Hula Hoop(R) – An idea that was inspired by Australian children using bamboo rings for exercise, WHAM-O first created a rendition of this pastime in 1958. Also celebrating a milestone anniversary this year, the Hula Hoop was an overnight success with a resulting fad that spread so quickly and unexpectedly that production of all other WHAM-O products was suspended to meet demand. Well-known for the recognizable “shoop-shoop” sound made when used, what better time to commemorate this classic childhood favorite than on the anniversary of the 60-year-old toy innovator, WHAM-O.

Slip ‘N Slide(R) Mega Shark – Summer fun will be an adventure with this exciting “Shark Attack” Slip ‘N Slide with water-powered shark jaw. It opens and closes continuously – without electricity – and kids can slide into the open mouth and get wet, or knock the shark’s head off.” End the ride by sliding into the inflatable splash zone.

Frisbee(R) Pro Classic with U-Flex(TM) – Celebrate WHAM-O’s 60th anniversary with this versatile Frisbee in six hot new colors – perfect for all ages and skill levels. The product’s U-Flex(TM) Technology makes it a cinch for anyone to grip, throw and catch this Frisbee. If a competitive game of Ultimate is more your style, the Official 175g Ultimate Frisbee Disc works well and is heavy enough to play a rousing game with. Perfect for the beach, park or backyard, these Frisbees are sure to be an “ultimate” success with everyone.

SuperBall(R) – A collaboration created by WHAM-O and Chemist, Norm Stingly in 1963, the “out-of-this-world” SuperBall(R) is made of an amazing material called Zectron(TM). Compressing 50,000 lbs. of energy, the SuperBall(R) bounces higher than any other ball on the market and will provide hours of bouncing fun.

Hacky Sack(R) Striker(TM) – Invented in 1972 and sold to WHAM-O in 1983, the original footbag, Hacky Sack(R), became an instant craze. The game of Hacky Sack is challenging as well as fun for all ages, and with this 14-panel, soccer ball look-alike, soccer and Hacky Sack lovers alike can test their foot-eye coordination by attempting to keep the ball in the air – just as they would with a full-sized soccer ball. Take it a step further and learn a freestyle trick or two, even create your own. The possibilities are endless.

WHAM-O’s line of 60th Anniversary products will be available at major retailers nationwide. For more on WHAM-O’s 60th Anniversary, visit http://www.WHAM-O.com.


Headquartered in Emeryville, California, WHAM-O, Inc. has provided children and adults with innovative, imaginative toys that spark creativity and encourage social interaction and get kids playing for 60 years. Founded in 1948, and inheriting its name from the sound that its flagship product, the WHAM-O Slingshot, made when connecting with its target, WHAM-O, Inc. continually redefines the concept of fun by remaining simple, uncomplicated and without age boundaries. WHAM-O, Inc. makes simple, fun, affordable, interactive products for all seasons. The company’s rich history and solid reputation for innovation, quality and value, makes WHAM-O, a dominant force in today’s toy and sporting goods industries, and includes category leading brands such as the Original Slip ‘N Slide, Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Hacky Sack, and SnowBoogie(TM). WHAM-O also, is the exclusive licensee for SEA-DOO and SKI-DOO inflatable water and snow tubes, towables, islands and pool products. WHAM-O, along with its other brands MOREY and BZ Bodyboards, CHURCHILL Fins and Riva Snowboards, designs and manufactures a core of more than 70 products that are carried by virtually every toy, sporting goods and mass retailer in the world. For more information please visit http://www.WHAM-O.com or call toll free 1-888-WHAM-O-50 (1-888-942-6650).


Lisa Townsend
The Pollack PR Marketing Group