Michigan Hitches Onto the Hula Hoop Fad, Late 1950s
What Michigan kid of the 50s did NOT have a Hula Hoop? Most of ‘em did.
The Hula Hoop hit Michigan and the United States in 1958 when it was marketed by the Wham-O toy company. All of a sudden, these hoops became an outrageous rage, building to an unprecedented peak. Kids, adults, movie stars, singers, wives of politicians…EVERYone was getting in on the Hula Hoop fad. Every kid and all your friends had one and YOU just had to have one yourself.
As soon as Hula Hoops hit the local stores, they were sold out. In the first four months, 25 million hoops were sold.
Now, just where in Michigan could a kid get a Hula Hoop?
Just to name a few - Woolworth, Walgreen, Kresge, Crowley, Montgomery Ward, Jacobson's, Winkelman’s, J.C. Penney, and ANY toy or department store. Many grocery stores stocked ‘em as well, because the owners knew the hoops would bring in more customers.
A year earlier, Wham-O introduced the Pluto Platter, later re-named the ‘Frisbee’...but when the owners happened to catch sight of Australian kids twirling a wooden hoop, their plan to market hoops had its genesis...and soon the hoop fad replaced the Frisbee fad.
Even so, after only a few months, the Hula Hoop was already on its way out. The furious demand for the hoops diminished and the public was moving on to the next toy fad...and Wham-O had plenty more coming.
The Hula Hoop and its Australian predecessor were not the original toy hoops; they were not ‘invented’ in the 1950s – they had already been around for centuries. Old photos from well over 100 years ago show children playing with toy hoops. Even physicians in the 1800s had their patients use twirling hoops to help with back pain. Even further back, it’s believed hoops were used as early as 500 B.C.
Hooping still has its fans well into the 2000s…and if it’s lasted this long, it’ll probably never completely fade away.