The magic 8 ball is a toy that can provided yes or no answers to questions ask of it. It’s basically a large ball filled with a liquid with a icosahedron solid inside with all the different possible answers. When turned over a new faces comes to the surface. The possible answers are:


The NO’s
My sources say no
Don’t count on it
Very doubtful
My reply is no
Outlook not so good

The I’m not telling's
Concentrate and ask again
Reply hazy try again
Ask again later
Cannot predict now
Better not tell you now

The YES’s
YES
Outlook good
Without a doubt
As I see it yes
It is decidedly so
Signs point to yes
You may rely on it
Most likely
Yes definitely
It is certain
The Magic8 Ball was actually originally made by Tyco, not Tonka as is often thought (Tonka specializes in toy trucks). The point of the magic 8 ball was to ask it a yes or no quesiton, shake it up, and then look through a small viewing glass to read the answer.

The answers were printed on a icosahedron which floated in a thick blue liquid. The font used was small caps sans serif. 50% of the answers were positive, 25% were negative, and 25% were vauge.

Here is a full list of the Magic 8 Ball's 20 answers

The Magic 8 Ball is one of the most succesful toys ever. Some variation of it can almost always be found in family households.

This morning I was watching Looney Tunes, and there was this one called "Hobo Bobo." It made me wonder about the origin of the Magic 8 Ball.

It starts out with a forest scene, apparently in India. A narrator starts to tell us a story about elephants:

In India, the elephant's tremendous strength has been harnessed for many labors. Sort of skin-covered jeeps. Although they work for peanuts, they never complain. Well, almost never.

And here we are introduced to our cranky protagonist.

Now once there was a little elephant, Bobo by name, who was very discontented with his lot. Bobo, because he was little, was given little logs to carry. But he knew as he got bigger and bigger, he would be given bigger and bigger logs. To Bobo, his future looked very dark.

Bobo walks past a crystal ball sitting on a little wooden stand carved in the shape of an elephant. He stops and looks into it, and the narrator says:

Oh, much darker than that.

The crystal ball turns into an 8 ball.

There, that's more like it.

It's a visual pun. Bobo, from our vantage point, is sitting behind the eight ball. Exactly where you don't want to be.

This conflation of crystal ball and eight ball made me wonder if this cartoon had given someone the idea for making the oracle that we call the Magic 8 Ball. Or maybe the cartoon, as Looney Tunes often did, was just making a cheeky little reference to a cultural phenomenon of the times.

The Big Cartoon Database says that "Hobo Bobo" was originally released by Warner Brothers on May 17, 1947. The Magic 8 Ball is said to have been invented by Abe Bookman of the Alabe Crafts Company in Cincinnati. Some sources say that he invented it in 1946. Others just say that it happened "in the late 40s."

So, are the two related? Signs point to yes. Which came first? The Magic 8 Ball says "Better not tell you now."




(If I ever find out, I'll let you know.)


8ball.ofb.net
www.bcdb.com/bcdb/detailed.cgi?film=529
www.yesterdayland.com

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