Thankful for Rip Off Madballs

Day before Thanksgiving. Everybody’s looking for a feast. I don’t have any sentimental or nostalgic feeling for Thanksgiving. I don’t eat turkey and that cranberry gel in the cans has always scared me. I can totally appreciate a green bean casserole and a slice of pumpkin pie however, and for that reason, Thanksgiving still gets my love. I’m thinking some Madballs love. Yeah, Madballs and Thanksgiving. It goes together.

This is a Madball:

This is a Madball Commercial:

Madballs were a thing in the 80s. It was just a cool little gross-out ball. If you watched the commercial, you’ll come away with the impression that Madballs were a thing for little boys with bowl cuts to scare their mothers with. I mean, that’s pretty much it.

I think of them as part of the gross-out fad. Garbage Pail Kids plus balls. Equals Madballs. Of course I’m painting Madballs with a broad brush, and to be fair, Madballs deserve to be held to an esteem for their subtleties of beauty and craftsmanship.

They even had their own cartoon for two episodes. The first episode focused on the Madballs facing their arch enemies….the Badballs, who were plotting to take over their Planet Orb, which was a big ball of dirt–the “happiest, hippest ball of dirt in the galaxy”.

This is a Madballs cartoon:

Eh, forget what I said about esteem and subtleties. That opening theme’s take on Great Balls of Fire makes my skin crawl. There was a second episode and then the entire world collectively forgot about Madballs, wiped from memory of every single child who ever owned a ball with its tongue wagging out. Even mine.

I would have never thought about Madballs again, but then they were re-released in 2006. Not exactly the story of a toy franchise that would get revived, but hell. It’s something to be thankful for. See? I told you Madballs and Thanksgiving go together. But as the title above states, I’m actually thankful for these rip off Madballs I found:

These are Squirtdevils, totally random bootleg versions of Madballs. Unlike most Chinese bootleg toys, Squirtdevil tried. There’s the ascending WordArt font that attempted to match the colors. And though I doubt there will be another series of Squirtdevils, these are the “Horrible Series”, just like Madballs released a special “Sick Series” of balls.

Of course, for all the good I can heap on Squirtdevils for effort, what’s up with the packaging? It’s all smashed in. Couldn’t they have pumped some air into the balls to make them presentable–even sellable?

I took one out of the package and compared it with its model–here’s Brain Bash and his doppelganger:

This is going to sound weird, but this picture reminds me of the Turtles song ‘Happy Together’.   Imagine me and you, I do. I think about you day and night, it’s only right. So happy together…

And once you get him out the package and squeeze some air into him, he’s not so bad. Again, effort. Detail. The blood streaks in the eye, one eye bulging, the yellow teeth. Now, the toy is called a Squirtdevil, and there’s a picture on the packaging of a hand squeezing water out of the ball. This baffles me. There’s no place to add water to the ball. But this is a bootleg toy, so what do you expect?

Shockingly, this isn’t the first time Madballs have been knocked off:

This is a commercial for Blurp Balls:

“Blurp Balls: They make you want to blurp.” That’s the actual slogan. What marketing genius. Imagine the pitch: They’re like Madballs that burp smaller balls out of their mouths. That’s it, I’ve lost brain cells typing this entry. See also, earlier when I typed out, “happiest, hippest ball of dirt”. Or even before that, when I overwrote a sentence about the craftsmanship of Madballs.

My head hurts. But I think it’s just a hunger for some pie. What I can I say? I like Madballs. Mad Rip-offs–I like them too. I also like you. Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t eat too much or you’ll blurp.

5 thoughts on “Thankful for Rip Off Madballs

  1. Madballs! I don’t think I had any when they originally came out, but we were more than happy to get some for our kid when they were reintroduced a couple years ago. They are so awesome, even the rip offs! Great post.

  2. I think BlurpBalls were made by the same folks who did Madballs… well at least designed by the same guy, James Groman.

    I’ve seen those bootlegs at the Dollar Tree, but I decided to pass on ’em. Glad to see you picked ’em up.

  3. Woo, MadBalls! I bought the entire first wave on the cheap-cheap-cheap last year. The second batch came out a while back, but they’re still..”expensive.”

  4. UPDATE:
    With my Toys R Us going out of business, I’d be pawing through everything they have there (most of it Mystery Bag / Box items..theres SO MUCH), and I see that Madballs have AGAIN been re-released? Also in Mystery Mini form. Incredible.

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