The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By David Stevens
Editor 

Dear Santa: Bring me some zectron

 

November 26, 2017



It was made of “amazing zectron.” It could leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Not even the Super Bowl offered “50,000 pounds of compressed energy” like that modern marvel.

At 98 cents, the Wham-O Super Ball was quite possibly the greatest toy Santa Claus ever left under an aluminum Christmas tree.

It’s probably the best toy I ever received as a child of the ’60s.

The Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots were a great concept, but the blue one knocked the red one’s block off every time. It usually only took one punch.

Electric football was a great idea, too, but the offensive guards were the only players who could “run” straight ahead and they always fumbled if you gave them the ball.

G.I. Joe was kinda cool, but he kept disappearing from his footlocker under my bed, ending up in my sisters’ room, usually in Barbie’s stupid Dream House.

The Super Ball, on the other hand, was “super fun,” just like it said on the box.

The history books tell us the Wham-O people made 170,000 Super Balls per day during this Christmas season 50 years ago. These things were “vulcanized with sulfur,” meaning an 8-year-old could bounce one over a grain elevator in Muleshoe and it just might come down in a cotton field in Lazbuddie.

I’m not making this up.

I don’t know exactly what zectron is, but in researching this report the internet tells me it “contains the synthetic polymer polybutadiene as well as hydrated silica, zinc oxide, stearic acid, and other ingredients.”

I’m pretty sure the blue Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot also had some zectron, but the red one didn’t.

The reason I mentioned the Super Bowl earlier is because it took its name from the Super Ball.

Lamar Hunt, who started the American Football League, bought some Super Balls for his children in the summer of 1966. After watching all the excitement in his driveway, he suggested to National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle the two league champions should call their game the Super Bowl.

Of course they called the game the AFL-NFL Championship Game instead, until some newspaper reporters heard about the Super Ball and Hunt’s suggestion ... Next thing you know, Joe Namath was talking trash, wearing white shoes, probably smoking zectron, and, then, Wham-O:

The AFL’s Jets knocked the blocks off the NFL’s Colts, and the Super Bowl got born.

Good times back in the day.

But if anybody in Lazbuddie is reading this, I’m still looking for my Super Ball.

David Stevens is editor for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: dstevens@thenews.email

 

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