June 22, 2006

FROM GAYLA TO GALAGA

The "Baby Bat" kite from Gayla is the quintessential kite design in my mind. It was around before my time, and it's still available to the kids of today. Although, while I had my fair share of kites, and I admired the monster-like nature of this one, I never actually chose to purchase "the bat." The reason is laughable now, but while I was growing up I thought that bloodshot eyes were gross. Just looking at them made me squint and turn away.

Anyway, I saw one of these kites on ebay recently and as I studied the alluring display card I noticed something for the first time. Those oh, so repulsive blood vessels in the eyes actually spell out the manufacturer's name "Gayla." Now that is cool.

Another trivial thought occurred as I studied the design.. the logo for the video game Galaga sure looks similar to Gayla's; it even has the stars flying around it. So there you have it...Believe it or NOT!


17 comments:

gentle_dissident said...

the gayla eye kites were the only kites for kite fighting

i don't remember them being called "bat" in the 70's. i think there was a white. i also remeber them bein $1.00

Prather said...

I owned "bat" as a kid, but never noticed the logo in the eyes. I agree about the fighting. I used to whup my brothers ass with it. He had this crap rainbow warrior kite.

Das Brick said...

Very nice! I too had the Gayla Bat!!! I bought it at Spag's here in Mass... a local legend. Not only did I not notice the logo-in-eyes, I did not worry about buying something from Gayla! Which seems like a really wince-inducingly bad name nowadays. Gayla? Gayla. Probly from the same guy who named Dreft detergent. Dreft. Dreft. Dreft. http://www.dreft.com/languageselection.jsp?referer=/index.jsp

Anonymous said...

I believe that the white version was called the "Eye-Spy", but I can provide no documentation of same. I first noticed the hidden logos last year as I was framing an unused set of the eye stickers. I've flown at least 7 or 8 of the things in my life, and I've had the sticker floating around in my desk drawer for a decade in a stack of random stickers, yet it took until then for me to figure it out. --Devlin Thompson

superadaptoid said...

Actually that Galaga logo is completely "inspired" by the lettering of ROGER DEAN, 70s album art designer for bands like YES. Lettershapes, the swash joining the G to the a. Even down to the choice of colors. Piracy pure and simple!

kidkosmic@yahoo.com said...

Do large retail stores like Wal_mart still sell The Bat kites? I haven't seen them in a long while. I had several--off and on--as a kid and was very drawn to the "crazy eyes." I'd like to display one from my ceiling today.

Kirk D. said...

I appreciate the input all.

Kid K. I haven't seen any at Wal-Mart recently, but I googled Gayla Kites and there are a number of places selling new ones online.

A couple days ago I was outbid on four vintage Gaylas, and I wonder if the Eye- Spy was one of them.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I sure remember these kites with great fondness. In Houston TX in the 70's we were always looking upward to capture any glympse of NASA activities. My mind lived in the sky during those years.
We would send Bat Kites (and baby bat kites) into the sky so far that all that could be seen was a string that dissapeared into the blue. I think the white pointy nose version with much larger eyes was perhaps called "Sky Spy". Intially all the kites I recall came w/ the eye stickers that you appiled to the plastic kites. The sky spy having the largest. Shorty after, the eye's came on the kite. The lead to the kites featured a wonderful plastic gromit that was perfect for attaching the string for flying. Great in strong winds. Later, Gayla kites had, and still do, a simple hole reinforced by sticker. The initial Bats, and Spy were made of a thick mil plastic. In a few short years the plastic became noticably thinner. Since the Sky Spy had a pointy nose, it commonly broke when the kites took dives in high wind gusts.
I remember Puffer Kites as well. It was a yellow inflatable kite. (I don't think Gayla made it) It was a fun, light wind novelty kite that stayed in stores for perhaps 2 years.

Thanks for stimulating my 70's kite memories!

Scott.hardy@sbcglobal.net

Kirk D. said...

Thanks for the great memories and info Scott!

I'd forgotten about those inflatable ones. I had one. I just can't remember what was on it.

I also had a kite that was a great Tron knock off. I'd looooove to see that thing again.

The Pirate said...

Hi, I just ran across this blog by Googleing vintage Gayla kites. Interesting. My name is Gayla and I've been collecting Vintage Gayla Kites for a couple of years now. I didn't realize the blood veins in the baby bat kite spelled out Gayla. I love it! A bonus! I have only one baby bat. I can't believe how much the prices have gone up on eBay in the last few months. There's one bidder that paid $300.00 for a 1960's Sting-A-Ree kite! And the same bidder paid $158.11 for the 1960's Baby Bat kite. The price is getting out of my league. If any of you have a Gayla kite you want to sell let me know! You can find me at GaylaClub.com.

Kirk D. said...

Hello Pirate-
The kites on your site look great!
I had no idea they were going for so much. Though I can understand why, they make great collectibles, and everyone remembers them. Good luck in your hunt!

Anonymous said...

These ARE THE BEST KITES to HAVE KITE FIGHTS WITH!

I bought the Baby Bat & Sky Spy from skyspykites.com


I had them in 3 days & I need to get more :-(
Good Times!

Anonymous said...

I used to dog fight these same kites too. Oh the wonderful memories.

OnlyAVision said...

I had the white ones. They came with different colored keels. I remember this because we would fight them and I always had to go buy another one!

Jacqueline said...

Actually I have very much fondness for Baby Bat. I got myself in trouble a bit with it when I was younger. I lived about 30 miles from an Air Force base during the 70's around the time of the cold war and well mine set off the radars. Dad didn't help much by fortifying it with roofing staples which are gavinized steel. But that kite I remember could fly indefinatly. Blow on it and it can go 50 from that jumpstart and I have seen this kite cut out after 100 feet from lack of wind bounce and then fly back higher. I also found out real quick that the best twine to use on this is 20lb fishing line and an old fishing pole. But got 5,250 feet with it and enjoyed every moment and on occasion I still fly one when I can find one.

Kirk D. said...

Ha, that's a great tale Jacqueline!

I just saw some Gayla kites in a tourist-y dime store and it made me glad. Although they sold for like, eight or nine dollars which seems way too high even considering inflation.

Anonymous said...

I remember flying this kite, along with Sky-Spy(white version) and Fantasma Gordo(the eagle/hawk looking one) when I was a youngster living in Puerto Rico. Incredible memories from a long time ago!

Funny thing is I had no idea about the name on the eyes until I read it here. Funny how you never stop learning. I'm bidding on a couple on eBay right now and it seems like you can get the newer version of the Bat on Amazon.