Is it a dress??  Nope.  A hat??  Nope.  Capris?? (called “pedal pushers” or “clam diggers” once upon a time)  Nope.  It’s the Hula Hoop!!  Back then, Hula Hoops were like cell phones.  Everyone had one.  They were everywhere.  And pretty much everyone learned how to use them.  My sister and I each had a Hula Hoop, but all the adults, (mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents), were avid to give it a try.  Yes, it was truly a rage at the time.  I don’t recall how long it lasted, but the Hula Hoop hoopla I refer to here began in 1958;  fifty-six years ago.  The Hula Hoop was made of plastic and commercially sold both domestically and internationally. It was manufactured by WHAM-O, who later gave us the Frisbee.  WHAM-O claims that 25 million Hula Hoops were sold in four months.  However, that wasn’t actually its true beginning.  I suspect hoops have been around since the invention of the wheel.  Besides, it’s a circle and that concept has been here, well …, before the planet; another circular object. 

Native Americans used hoops in a dance that generally told a story.  The hoops were used as props and sometimes represented symbols or animals.  The Greeks used hoops as a form of exercise. Wikipedia can give you a quick, condensed version of hoops and their uses.

So, even though Hula Hoops seemed new and innovative back in 1958, it wasn’t really.  But it was and still is fun.  In recent times, hooping has had a revival of sorts.  I confess I do enjoy watching the youngsters and some of the amazing displays of skill and agility in utilizing the Hula Hoop.

A  whacky, satirical comedy, The Hudsucker Proxy (1994 – Coen Brothers), with actors Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman and Tim Robbins, revolves around the “invention” of the Hula Hoop while giving a lesson in economics and the darker side of the business world.  It’s a fun watch.  Below is a clip of one of my favorite scenes.  The little guy doing the hooping, (actor Arthur Bridgers), is just adorable.  And, it’s fun to see some of the vintage styles of the 1950s in the film.



Some recent trivia about the Hula Hoop:

  • Banned in Japan at one time declaring the rotating hip action as indecent.

  • Kareena Oates, an Australian, set a world record for Hula Hooping with 100 hoops, spinning them for three full revolutions on June 4, 2005.

  • June 1, 2007, the largest hoop (by circumference – 51.5 feet) was spun by American Ashrita Furman.

  • October 28,  2007, Jin Linlin of China spun 105 hoops. 


Hooping is more fun than regular exercise.  Puts a new spin on healthy fun.  And then there are some who prefer to hoop in classic vintage style.






Honk, Honk!!


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