1958 Warren Spahn Whirly Bird Game in Original Box

1958 Warren Spahn Whirly Bird Game in Original Box

Milwaukee Braves star Warren Spahn endorsed this rather lame tin litho pitching game. Manufactured by Innovation Industries out of Chicago, it included two hand-held targets, a single "whirly bird" and the box. The box features a full color photograph of a not too enthusiastic Mr. Spahn holding one of the targets and bird. The condition of the toy is near mint and appears to have never been played with. 

The two disks are 9½" diameter. They have a tin litho target front and a heavy cardboard back side. The toy name and patent numbers were lithoed onto the front. The cardboard in the back was printed to sort of resemble wood grain. It's die cut in the center to hold a cheap, brown vinyl strap. The hand print shows how it's supposed to be held. The toy is complete with just the one whirly-bird. 

The whirly-bird is really unusual. It consists of a red painted, solid foam rubber ball. Three actual bird feathers, dyed orange, were sharpened at the quill and jammed into one side of the ball. A small strip of latex rubber was supposed to hold them in place. Opposite the feathers is a large latex rubber suction cup. The ball gives it some weight and I guess the feathers were supposed to steer it straight like an arrow. It's incredible to think that a toy like this was actually marketed, sold, and endorsed. 

In my opinion the best part of the toy is the box. It's two piece with a full color cover. Three-quarters of the top panel were illustrated in a pure 1950's "Dick and Jane" style. Laughing, playing, "as seen on TV", and "a family game for children and adults" were supposed to be enticements. What makes the toy is the color photo of Warren Spahn. Dressed in his Braves uniform at field level it promotes the toy as the "world famous southpaw enjoys playing whirly bird". The box aprons include instructions and game variations. The remaining aprons suggest that it can be played at "beach parties", children's parties, picnics, or play alone". 

Size: Box 9½" square x 1½". 

Price Sold: $ 52


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Subject: 1958 Warren Spahn Whirly Bird Game in Original Box

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