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The Wacky WallWalker was a toy molded out of a sticky elastomer. It was shaped similar to an octopus, and when thrown against a wall would "walk" its way down. It was a hugely popular toy in the early 1980s.
Before its introduction in the United States, Ken Hakuta received in the mail several sticky octopus-like toys from his mother, who lived in Japan. They were intended for his children, but Hakuta found himself fascinated with the toy, which was called Tako in Japan. He realized their marketing potential, and after purchasing rights to the product in 1983 for $5,000, he began to market them locally in Washington, D.C., dubbing them "Wacky WallWalkers". Their popularity was mediocre, until Nina Hyde of The Washington Post wrote a feature story on them. This created a buzz, and people in the Washington area flooded local stores to purchase them. Within the next several months, hundreds of media outlets ran stories on them, creating one of the biggest selling fads of all time. As the fad began to decline, over 240 million Wacky WallWalkers had been sold, raking in about 80 million dollars.
The popular toy was featured in the 1983 animated Christmas special Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls, starring the voices of Daws Butler, Tress MacNeille, and Marvin Kaplan. The show featured seven Wallwalkers from the planet Kling-Kling: Big Blue, Springette, Bouncing Baby Boo, Crazylegs, Stickum, Wacko, and their leader, Kling-Kling. One character in the special was modeled after Hakuta's son, Kenzo.
The Wacky WallWalker was referenced in The Simpsons ' "Treehouse of Horror XXII"'s Avatar parody when the female alien hit a tree and "walked" down it in the manner of the Wacky WallWalker. The Wacky WallWalker was similarly referenced in an episode of Family Guy, when Peter Griffin draws faces on an octopus tank, only to have the glass break, and is subsequently saved by Seamus Levine who throws the octopus on the wall.
- Elizabeth Church. "Want to buy some goo?" The Globe and Mail (Canada) 21 July 1999. M1.
- Deck the Halls with Wacky Walls (1983) (TV)
- Tom Shales. "The Year Dan Rather Lost His Place and Other Great Moments in TV '83" The Washington Post, 6 January 1984. D1.
- Briefing. James F. Clarity and Warren Weaver Jr. The New York Times, 11 July 1983. Section A; Page 12, Column 1.
- The Wacky WallWalker Fad at X-Entertainment
- Video promoting Wacky Wall Walker at the end of a Corn Pops Commercial
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