Joy Buzzers, Whoopee Cushions and Snap Gum; where are they now?

I was just a kid the first time someone tried to shake my hand while concealing a joy buzzer
.  If you don’t know what a joy buzzer is; let me take a moment to describe it.  It’s made of metal, creates a buzzing feeling and is concealed in a prankster’s palm.  He (believe me, it was always a “he”) would offer to Index shake your hand.  When you did, you would be startled to feel a tingling feeling in the middle of your palm.  It was supposed to be shocking and was considered in some circles to be hilarious. 

There were other gag items as well.  There was the Whoopee Cushion, a rubber bladder which reportedly used by Roman Emperors to good on their unsuspecting guests.  If you are unfamiliar with the product, it is typically hidden under the cushion of a chair so that when someone sat on it they (and the rest of the room) would hear a loud “poo” sound. 

There was also fake rubber vomit, invented by the Marvin Glass Company, no less.  I have to admit that it was startling and actually pretty realistic looking. 

SnapGum And let us not forget Snap Gum which concealed a mousetrap device that snapped down on your finger as the prankster offered you a piece of gum. 

As I look back, I wonder:  “Who were these people who thought this stuff was so funny?”  There must have been plenty of them as they supported an entire industry.  I guess today their children and grandchildren are paying to see the Jackass movies.

I spent some time seeing if any of these products were still available.  The short answer is; yes they are.  Take the Stink Bomb I found on the Zymetrical website.  Here is how they describe the product:  “Once these glass stink bombs are broken they give off a nasty rotten egg stench. There are 3 separate glass vials per box ordered, each with enough potency to clear the place out!”  

Glass vials, h-m-m-m-m-m, I guess they’re not for kids. 

Stinkbombs If you wonder who wants a stink bomb, the answer is a person named William does.  In July of 2011 he wrote the website the following rave review (punctuation and grammar are the authors):

I recently ordered the stink bombs, i bought seven packages for around $11, i thought it was a good price for seven. (in fact it was the best I saw out of all my research) little did I know there are three in each package which makes 21 total for just about $10! using these are great, they clear out rooms and are the best for a good prank! so easy to hide and a horrific smell lasts for just a few minutes! GREAT!!

As we can see, William did his research and saw the value in buying them in quantity.  My God, what does William intend to do with 21 stink bombs? Whatever it is, he is a big fan.  The same website also sells “Fake Rubber Snakes” ( I guess as opposed to “Real Rubber Snakes”), Bullet Hole Stickers, Explosive Toys and other products which cannot be named in a family blog like this one (although I did use the word “poo” didn’t I).

Joy_buzzer_small So bottom line, gag novelty gifts are still out there and there are still people who want them.   There have been improvments in these devices over the years (there is actually now a self inflating Whoopee Cushion).   It does seem howeve that  some enterprising company should update these novelties from the mechanical to the digital age and thereby bring micro chip version of the Whoopee Cushion and Joy Buzzer to a waiting public.

Do you have information on the state of the novelty gag business?  If so, write in and let us know. 

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