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For the Love of Slime

By: onipar

When I say “slime,” what’s the first thing you think of? I’d venture a guess that your answer would depend on when you were born. Perhaps you first think of Ghostbusters. Maybe Hordak’s Horde Slime Pit comes to mind. You might think of Nickelodeon Gak, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ooze, or the Goosebumps Monster Face. Whatever it is, the fact remains, pop culture, toymakers, and kids are obsessed with slime.

I was surprised to discover the first slime toy wasn’t born of the 1980s (as I had first assumed), but came from Mattel in 1976, sold in a tiny trashcan. It seems as though our obsession with slime predates the Ghostbusters and Slimer.

 

Without conducting a largescale study, I think it’s safe to assume that kids are simply fascinated with gross stuff. Think back to your childhood and I’m sure you’ll uncover a multitude of gross-out memories: booger flicking, armpit-farting, burger breath burping nastiness that only a pre-teen could conjure. Some brilliant SOB in the Mattel marketing department knew there was huge sales potential there, and the gross-out game never subsided. Look around the toy shelves today and you’ll still find slime, goop, and sludge for sale in a variety of iterations. Even Nickelodeon knows not to scrap a big seller.

 

 

My personal favorite slime-based toy was the simple container of Gak from Nickelodeon. I never did get any of the add-on toys that were sold separately, but I made the most of my Gak until it became covered in fur and dust. I guess slime toys never were meant to last in the long run, but boy were they fun. I can still remember the strange, slightly chemical smell of Gak.

Nickelodeon further solidified (slimeified?) its connection the grossest of gross-outs with shows like You Can’t Do that on Television and Double Dare. On the former, famously saying “I don’t know” would result in giant bucket loads of slime to be poured atop their heads. My personal favorite, Double Dare, upped the ante by enveloping a number of slime-based physical challenges into their gameshow. What kid could resist the challenge of picking a giant booger-filled nose?

Gross toys branched out as the years progressed, and we got such wonderful gems as Madballs, Creepy Crawlers, Garbage Pail Kids, Boglins, Mad scientist playsets, and so much more. But for me, it all started with slime.
 

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onipar Posted on Sep 22, 2020 at 03:21 PM

Oh no! I didn't remember the stuff staining. I wonder if they ever incurred any kind of lawsuits for that.

Benjanime Posted on Sep 04, 2020 at 04:16 PM

i used to have a couple of buckets of that nickelodeon gak stuff, and my mom absolutely hated my stepdad for letting us have it, as it was known to leave some pretty nasty stains on carpeting and furniture.

onipar Posted on Sep 04, 2020 at 03:39 PM

Mr. Magic, ah that's too bad. It was a little different than your standard slime...almost like the lovechild of slime and silly putty.

Vaporman, the slime pit! I still love the gross out toys and games. I have a couple Dr Dreadful sets and creepy crawlers setups in my closet right now.

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 04, 2020 at 03:11 PM

Sadly I never had the Gak experience.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 04, 2020 at 03:03 PM

It was the beginning of the "gross out" market! Slime, hideous toys, etc. were everywhere by the mid-80s. But yeah... I think of slime, I think of the Slime Pit for sure.

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