No, that isn’t a deformed and brightly coloured picture of the planet Saturn accompanying this post, but instead one of the most ridiculous toy crazes to hit during the 1980’s. Take a disc of thick durable plastic and stick two rubber footballs that have been joined together through the middle to produce the Pogo Ball, or Lolo Ball as it was original called I believe.
To use a Pogo Ball you had to balance on the plastic foot stand, grip the top ball between your ankles, and then jump up and down in order to travel about. Sounds simple in theory, but in practice getting started was the hard part, whilst keeping going was the very hard part. All that jumping was extremely tiring, so the Pogo Ball was never going to become a major form of transport.
I guess the Pogo Ball could be considered as being part Pogo Stick and part Space Hopper. Personally I found the Space Hopper easy and therefore more fun to play with. My skill level with the Pogo Stick could probably be described as pre-beginner, and I didn’t do much better with the Pogo Ball either, in fact probably worse. On a pogo stick you at least had a handle to hold on to, but with the Pogo Ball you had to hold on with just your ankles. Now, hands are infinitely better at holding on to things than ankles. Its what hands were designed to do. Ankles on the other hand are merely boney lumps with little gripping power, so I usually found myself becoming separated from the Pogo Ball in mid-air, and therefore came crashing down fairly often.
I remember watching the TV advert with all these kids bouncing around on their Pogo Balls and having a whale of a time, whilst I sat there nursing my scuffed knees and twisted ankles and wondering what I was doing wrong. Seems like there are some people who are actually quite skilled on these things though, as the following video clip shows.