May 05, 2008


I find it oddly comforting to know that every Monday morning a crew of employees continues to file into the majestic S.S. Adams factory in Neptune, New Jersey where aspects of the workday routine have remained practically changeless for nearly a century. A typical day may involve cramming leopard-skinned "snakes" into fake cans of "mixed nuts," or fitting yellow sponge rabbits into magic set boxes, or maybe even sitting at a lathe hollowing out real U.S. coins for use as Squirting Quarter gags or Scotch and Soda magic tricks.

The Adams approach to new products is also comfortingly constant. While the modern day practice among their competitors is to take established pranking concepts and slap on a technological veneer— MP3 players that shock, cell phones that squirt, whoopee cushions with remote control— Adams chooses to focus on reviving time-tested novelty classics, as well as dreaming up a few choice items that have such dateless appeal they could have been top sellers fifty years ago. (i.e. Gross Soap...)

This year Adams unveiled an assortment of new old items, each guaranteed to stir up sizable mirthquakes. Let's have a look...

Amazing Scottie Dogs
You've played with them, you've been mystified by them, and you've made them do unsavory things; the magnetic doggies are back and their magnets are more powerful than ever before. The dogs themselves are actually genuine uncirculated stock from the fifties. How cool is that?

Chatter Teeth
These familiar wind-up choppers are based on the gag originally designed by Eddie Goldfarb and introduced to the world by legendary toymaker, Marvin Glass (by way the Fishlove Novelty Co.) Variations of these have been sold alongside Adams merchandise for decades, but this is the first time that Adams has gotten in on the lucrative world of novelty dental work.

Flying Butterfly
This item was the invention of S. S. himself. The mechanical butterfly was discontinued decades ago (originally sold inside greeting cards) but her time to fly has come again. These little beauties travel a surprising distance and the new models are more durable than their predecessors. S.S. would be proud.

Squirting Quarter

Until now you had to use the Squirting Nickel to soak your friends in the eyeballs. These days five cents isn't always enough to attract the sucker's gaze, but a shiny new quarter will certainly do the trick!

Considering how the Joy Buzzer helped America have a few laughs during the Great Depression, these little numbers may be just the thing to liven up our little recession! If you're a retailer you can get this stuff straight from Adams haunted factory; just give them a call. But if you are just a lowly consumer I recommend ordering online through World Famous Magic shop.

No, Adams didn't shell anything out for this little sales spiel. I'm just a fan. Well, there's also the fact that I still design for them. Oh, and of course that book I made for them.
Happy shopping!


Dave said...

I had a set of those scottie Dogs when i was a kid. They were all black back then though. I always wondered where they came from, and have no clue where they went to. I do however have a set of clacking teeth, but can't find the box (although I know I have it somewhere) to know who made it. I know it is from no later than 1971 because they were given to me by my Grandfather who died that year. Toys 'R Us used to have a section of Adams Gag products. I'm not sure if they still do or not.


Dave said...

I found the box. They're called "Talking Teeth" Featured On Network TV!
Model No. 618 - "Talking Teeth" 1970 H. Fishlove & Co. Made In Chicago 60610 USA


frozen charlotte said...

i found you had to be careful in your whoopee cushion positioning, or it would burst instead of making that rude noise. i wonder how many other hapless kids suffered that childhood buzzkill.

Kirk D. said...

dave- both of your dogs were black? What a gyp! I think I have that same version of the Talking Teeth.
Yes, Adams used to have a big account with Toys R Us but it ceased to exist in the 90s.

frozen charlotte- I see you fell prey to the cardinal sin of the Whoopee cushion "Do not over inflate."
(Ashamed to say, I've ruined many this way.)

Jerome Terrible said...

Just found a pair of the teeth, circa 1970. Perfect, still in the box. The quality far surpasses toys made overseas.

Kirk D. said...

Guard it with your life.

Anonymous said...

Sad to say, SS Adams is basically nothing more than a name now. The family finally sold out. The brand name has been sold to a company called "Magic Makers" in South Dakota, and the building is now for sale. It may end up being converted to condos. It was a great company while it lasted...lots of memories.

Geralyn Gray said...

I loved this article and just included a link to this story on my blog: