Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Toys of the 1970s: Nerfoop

Fig. 1 – Modern-day Nerf Hoop
I have a Nerf Hoop home basketball game (Fig. 1) in my home office. I must say that the Nerf Corporation made a mistake when they went to a denser, heavier foam ball with latex coating. This new ball, which is constructed similarly to the Nerf football, is too heavy for the relatively flimsy hoop and bouncing it around can get pretty loud.

As a fifth-grader I had a Nerfoop™ basketball game (Fig. 2) which came with a less-dense foam ball. It was more like a facial sponge, and had no latex coating. This Nerf™ ball was perfectly calibrated to the strength of the hoop and allowed hours of by-myself playtime in my bedroom. (Another inexplicable corporate decision: Retiring the Nerfoop™ name.)

Fig. 2 – Nerfoop™ listing in 1977 Parker Brothers wholesale catalog
Image © Jason Liebig
My solitaire game was to stand at the opposite end of my room and try to make a long distance shot. After releasing the ball, I ran forward to grab the rebound. If my long shot missed, I had to jump in the air, catch the ball and try to put it back in the hoop, dunking if possible, before landing on the floor again.

This was in Amarillo, Texas, where our ranch-style basement-less house sat on a concrete slab, so there was minimal house-rattling from all of this jumping around. For my Nerfoop™ soundtrack I would usually play my Abba greatest hits 8-track or my K-Tel disco compilation LPs. Or my various 45s, including “Head Games” by Foreigner, “Last Train to London” by ELO, and “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson:



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