Fads! Some Stayed, Some Went
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 by Frank Shortt
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Fads come and fads go, some catch on quickly and go quickly, some take a little longer to get used to and seem to stay around longer than was originally planned.

The Beehive Hairdo came into being in the 1960’s and became the hairstyle of the rich and famous, as well as, the not so rich and famous. This kitsch hairdo was the invention of Margaret Vinci Heidt of Elmhurst Illinois. It lingered through the 60’s and into the 1970’s. There seems to be a revival in the last few years among the elite of Hollywood, especially in other countries that have movie outlets. Aquanet gained riches!

Bell Bottom trousers became the uniform of choice for the U.S. Navy in the 19th century and were redesigned as new leaders of the Navy gained power! The craze that swept the world was introduced by Coco Chanel in the 1920’s. She was responsible, in part, by causing ladies to choose to wear the clothes that their husbands wore. This fashion persists to this day and can be seen being worn by men and women alike. Actors are usually the ones who are responsible for widespread fashions of any kind.

The Hula Hoop was the brainchild of Arthur Melin an employee of Wham-O Corporation!  Production became an instant success in 1958 and an estimated 25 million Hula Hoops were sold in the first four months alone. Skinny kids, chunky kids, and all ages of mankind became infatuated with this circular craze, “The way to lose weight and have fun doing it!”  The Hula Hoop was even banned in two countries; in Japan because it presented indecency, and in Russia because it showed the emptiness of American ingenuity! Needless to say, one may find piles of the hoop in every exercise area of any park or school. The “hoop” craze only lasted originally for about 9 months, but has persisted as exercise enthusiasts have held on to the belief that it is a valuable tool in slimming ones waist if they care to take the time and energy to keep that thing up around their waist.

The original Lava Lamp was invented by Edward Craven Walker in the U.K. in the 1960’s. It took a while for the lamp to catch on, but as Americans began to buy them in the 1970’s, probably due to the hippie movement, the rest of the world could not wait to have one. The Lava Lamp is still made in the same factory in Poole, Dorset U.K. Although the fad has ‘cooled’ in the U.S., the rest of the world seem to want the gaudy things!

Who has not been to a wedding in the 1990’s where the dance of the day was the Macarena? This was usually after the bartender had made his haul and the folks attending had lost all their inhibitions. The song is attributed to a Spanish group, Los Del Ro, who introduced it to South America when they were invited to a private party. (Should have kept it private!) but alas, the word leaked out and the song became a hit in Miami in 1996 due to the promotion of several DJ’s. I suppose that in certain communities the dance still persists, if the crowd suddenly loses all their inhibitions!

The Nehru jacket was named for the popular prime minister of India, Jawaharial Nehru. After he had one made, all the leaders in India made this their upper garment of choice. Pierre Cardin advanced the craze in 1964 as he titled it his “Space Age” line of clothing. The Beatles singing group helped to popularize the Nehru Jacket while using it on the stage during concerts. The Nehru is seldom seen as a garment of choice, but some designers still sneak in parts of it as a new type top. The ‘mod’ craze lasted from the mid 60’s into the late 70’s.

Ouija Boards have been around since the mid 1880’s in the U.S. in different forms. The modern day version was commercialized by a businessman named Elijah Bond. This “parlor game”, “talking board”, or “tool of the devil”, has been encouraged by necromancers since the early Chinese Sing dynasty (about 1100 A.D.) and has caused much stir in the church community. These boards are for those who do not have anything but time on their hands.

Gary Dahl was the future millionaire who invented the Pet Rock idea. It consisted of a rock, some straw for it to rest in, and a cardboard box to market it. It was for the person who had tried most every pet and become disillusioned with pets. Dahl called his idea the “perfect pet” and marketed it as thus. Yes, he made over a million dollars and laughed all the way to the bank!

Steve Kordek lived to be a hundred years of age. He is credited with inventing the modern day Pinball Machine. The first ones had no flippers and the ball was directed by

Static nails to the desired destination. The nails were called pins, thus the Pinball.

Early Pinball Machines demand a large sum of money and most have ended up in mancaves and game rooms of the wealthy. Most of us senior citizens have been guilty of playing these “sucker games” in cafes and beer joints. There have been many fights between rival players and even between the player and the machine throughout the years. The machine usually won! The rival players, unfortunately, ended up at a first-aid station to patch up their wounds!

Spaulding was the company that introduced Saddle Shoes in the early 1900’s, or better known in the 1950’s and 60’s as Saddle Oxfords. Their heyday was in the 1950’s as they were popularized by the bobby-soxers. The distinctive brown “saddle” on each pair gave them their name. This was and still is a shoe that is in demand.

This is only a short list of fads and fashions that have been introduced throughout history. A study on all the fads would take up many books and space in libraries all over the world. These were mentioned because there may be those still living who remember them. Some you probably wish to forget!