Bowling all wound up…It’s Strolling Bowling!


I’m impressed with the innovations of man. Sometimes it’s fuel cells, sometimes it’s our space exploration program, and sometimes it’s Strolling Bowling. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Strolling Bowling was a toy created by Tomy in 1979 and is a strange toy indeed.

It’s a little plastic bowling alley that unfolds and has pins that you flip up at one end. You have a wind-up bowling ball with orange feet that you place at the other end of the alley. To knock down the pins just wind ‘er up, release, and the ball hops down the lane. I thought this was hysterical due to the ball having feet and after seeing the commercial again I still get a chuckle watching the ball hop.

This contraption held my interest for the longest time when I was a kid and I think it might be because it had an element of skill involved. The ball hopped in varying ways, but could be predicted, so you could calculate where to position your ball. Seeing all the pins getting knocked down was great fun and satisfying, too.

Even though it’s not as impressive as man’s other innovations, such as Velcro or the spork, it did take a lot to keep a young child of the 80s occupied and Strolling Bowling did that superbly.

Strolling Bowling commercial (via tracy80sgirl)

Warning: the Strolling Bowling jingle has burned itself into my mind forever since the 80s and will most likely stay in your head once heard.


Martin Touhey goes by the screen name Sleepyeyed and has a passion for retro things of all kinds. One particular passion has led him to the creation of a documentary film about his favorite video game - Dragon's Lair. See the teaser at

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5 thoughts on “Bowling all wound up…It’s Strolling Bowling!

  1. I’ve never seen the commercial before, but strolling bowling was one of my fav toys as a kid. One of the good things about it was that it was self contained, you could even play it on your lap in the car. On the other hand, the pins were a royal pain. When you wanted them standing up half of them would lie down, yet when you were trying to pack it away half of them would refuse to lay down.
    I also used to have a wind up pacman toy which was the same size as the bowling ball, I would sometimes use him instead, just for fun.

  2. Great post. This was one of the toys I was fortunately enough to have. I’d love to have the entire collection (Goofy Golf, Football, Wrestling), but Strollin Bowling, which I do have, is the best of them all.

  3. Great post! I used to love this toy. I don’t know if I had it, or one of my buddies OR quite possibly I never played with it.

    However, I feel like I did. And that’s what counts.

  4. TheSixMillionDollarJedi says:

    This looks like such a great game and toy. If I made a top 10 list of toys I wanted but never received this would be on it.

  5. plcary says:

    I had that one and Funny Football. My friend had the boxing one called Bumbling Boxers?

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