Play-Doh is ridiculous, everybody. Hasbro claim to sell a hundred million tubs of the stuff every year but did you know its ninety years old and was originally created as a product to clean coal soot from wallpaper?
Kutol Products was a soap company that was bought over by brothers Cleo and Noah McVicer in 1927. As coal declined in use, so to did the company’s fortunes. A sister-in-law of one of their sons, Kay Zufall, a nursery school teacher, suggested they could turn the wallpaper cleaner into a toy; she had read an article about children using it in art projects.
Bob Keeshan agreed to advertise the toy, now coloured branded Play-Doh on Captain Kangaroo in return for 2% of the profits – a pretty good deal considering they’ve sold two billion cans since 1955.
ArtistJeff Koons created a three-metre tall sculpture named “Play-Doh,” assembled with 27 perfectly interlocking sections of painted aluminium. It took twenty years to make and one of the copies (he made five) was sold at auction in 2018 for twenty two million dollars.
© Jeff Koons
In 2014 Hasbro had to apologise profusely and replace the “extruder” part of their Play-Doh Cake Mountain set because it looked, well, rather phallic. I’d post a picture, veins and all, but it’s too rude even for the night thread.
There was a Play-Doh perfume. Released for the brand’s fiftieth anniversary, its aroma was “meant for highly-creative people, who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood.”
This concludes my TED Talk on why Play-Doh is ridiculous. Good night.