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Early hipsters celebrate the 50th anniversary of an L.A. fad

June 19, 2008 | 11:39 am


Kids have been swaying and playing with hoops made from everything from dried grape vines to wood for centuries. But leave it two Los Angeles businessmen to turn these ancient toys into a nationwide sensation by remaking the ring out of brightly colored plastic and giving it a wacky name: Hula Hoop. It was 50 years ago today that Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin , founders of a company called Wham-O, filed a trademark application for their new product.

The Hula Hoop was test marketed and promoted to young Baby Boomers in playgrounds across Southern California. Within a year, Wham-O (which later made the Frisbee)  sold 100 million of the hoops, re-affirming Southern California's reputation as a fad factory.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary by watching a 1960s commercial of the Hula Hoop and Frisbee. It's not as fun as playing with the real thing but your aging Baby Boomer hips will thank you.

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: AP