Hot-potato games have graced store shelves since the 1950s. In 1966, Ohio Art joined the craze with Spudsie, the Hot Potato Game.
Spudsie was a red plastic hand-held “potato” with a painted-on face and clownish smile. It stood about 7-inches tall and was light enough to be easily tossed around by children. A knob in the toy’s back offered five different time settings, from 1 to 5.
Once a player set the timer, kids stood in a circle and tossed Spudsie between them as quickly as possible. The frenetic tossing halted when one player was left holding the toy when the timer ended and Spudsie emitted a loud “ding!” The timer was reset and the toss-fest repeated until the last player left standing was declared winner.
Spudsie has enjoyed extended longevity because it has proven to be useful for teaching young children hand-eye coordination and catching skills. Recent versions, including the last reproduction release from Schylling, have been constructed of soft foam rubber to make Spudsie more suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Todd Coopee is Editor-in-Chief of Toy Tales, an online publication that covers toys and games past and present.