Paddle ball

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For other uses, see Paddleball (disambiguation).
A paddle and rubber ball attached together with an elastic band.

Paddle ball is a one-person game played with a paddle and an attached ball. Using the flat paddle with the small rubber ball attached at the center via an elastic string, the player tries to hit the ball with the paddle in succession as many times as possible.

The paddle is similar in size and shape to a table tennis racket. It is usually made from either wood or plastic, although other materials can be used.

Paddle Ball History[edit]

Created and patented (U.S. Patent 1,529,600) in the 1920s, the paddle ball was one of the more whimsical products to follow the invention of soft rubber.

In 1931, the Fli-Back Company was founded in High Point, North Carolina with the paddle-ball as their sole product. The paddle logo depicted a cowboy playing paddle ball while riding a bucking bronco. This first successful mass-marketing of the toy allowed the company to diversify into a number of other toys including the yo-yo and spinning tops.[1] In 1972, the Ohio Art Company, the makers of the popular Etch-A-Sketch, purchased the Fli-Back Company. They continued to make Fli-Back paddle ball games in High Point until 1983.[2]

In 1937 the toy was featured in Newsweek.[3]

In the 1950s Duncan Toys Company manufactured the "Hi-Li Paddle Ball Toy" that sold millions of units. The paddle reads “Duncan’s Official Hi-Li, Reg. U.S. Pat. Off., Champion No. 99.”[4]

In 2000, Yomega received a trademark for "Extreme 180° APB",[5] their paddle ball featuring adjustable cord lengths and ball types.

Paddle Ball In Movies[edit]

In the movie "The Misfits" Marilyn Monroe is depicted whacking a paddle ball provocatively way while wearing a polka-dot dress in a Reno saloon.[6]

In an unforgettable early demonstration of 3-D effects, the carnival barker in "House of Wax" is shown doing tricks with a paddle ball to gain the attention of potential customers. [7]

In “Blazing Saddles” , Mel Brooks (in his cameo as the cross-eyed governor) and Harvey Korman use a paddle ball to great comedic effect. Korman's character performs tricks with relative ease and hands the paddle to Brooks, who can barely manage one hit.[8]

In the Pixar/Disney animated movie “WALL E” there is a brief scene in a montage where the robot loses control of a paddle ball and is struck repeatedly in the head. The paddle ball winds up in the "Don't Keep" pile.[9]

Paddle Ball Records[edit]

The most paddle balls controlled simultaneously is 7 and was achieved by Steve Langley aka The Paddle Ball King on the set of Lo Show Dei Record, in Milan, Italy, on 8 April 2011. Langley controlled all paddles for 10 seconds with all balls bouncing simultaneously.[10]

The most people controlling paddle balls is 443 and was achieved by Steve Langley aka The Paddle Ball King, O.P. Earle Elementary School and Landrum Middle School (all USA) in Landrum, South Carolina, USA, on 30 November 2012.[11]

The most people in a paddle ball relay is 162 achieved by a team from Nike Digital Sport (USA) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on 20 February 2013. The attempt was held on the plaza of the Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip. Each participant was required to have full control of their bouncing ball before the next person was allowed to begin.[12]


  1. ^ "Fli-Back". Yo-yo Wiki. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Paddle Ball King to Attempt Guinness World Record at the High Point Museum". High Point Museum. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Jarvis, Michael T. (21 April 2002). "One-Man Swat Team". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Duncan Hi-Li Paddle Ball Toy". Smithsonian Museum of American History. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "EXTREME 180° APB - Trademark Details". Justia. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Beggs, Scott. "Marilyn Monroe Plays Paddle Ball With the Vintage Trailer of the Day Read". Film School Rejects. Reject Media. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Hairdisc. "House of Wax 3D - 1953 - Paddle Ball". Daily Motion. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Blazing Saddles". Larsen on Film. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  9. ^ WALL-E: A Robot's Tale. Disney Electronic Content. 26 July 2011. p. 80. ISBN 1423157680. Retrieved 19 November 2015.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  10. ^ "Most paddleballs controlled simultaneously". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Most people in a paddle ball relay". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Most people in a paddle ball relay". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 19 November 2015.