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Wonderful and Terrifying! The Fun Fountain by Wham-O
While most of us remember how magical and painful the Water Wiggle was, we don’t talk about Water Wiggles slightly less painful cousin, The Fun Fountain. This “fountain” consisted of a clown head-shaped base that sprayed water at high pressure skyward, and a clown hat that you placed over the stream. The water pressure would lift the clown hat skyward, levitating it just out of reach, and spraying everyone near it with an enjoyable drizzle of chilly hose water.
Some would say, “Well, that is fun?” It was, but really it was just the start of things because, like all good water toys from before the nineties, The Fun Fountain has a dark secret. It wasn’t just a stay cool toy, but was instead a game of Russian roulette, with each kid taking their turn passing through the stream. Do it fast enough, and you could maybe get the water to reconnect with the hat and climb skyward again. Do it too slowly and the hat would come tumbling to the ground, and you would be mocked for your slow-pokedness or worse, you would get bopped in the head by this hunk of plastic.
Now, the thing is, it didn’t always hurt. Sometimes it was a glancing blow, but other times it hit you just in the right spot and if you caught a rough spot on the hat it could actually cut you, and boy could that could close down the fun wet lawn time quickly.
Here is a commercial from the early eighties that shows the Fun Fountain in action. What you see in this ad is the fun the fountain offered, but believe me, there was a dark side to this amusement that took the shape of a wet clown hat of pain.