The Yo-Yo Fad

Of the mid to late 90's
On
April 01, 2009
It all began when my cousin recieved a prize yo-yo as a treat from the dentist's office for suffering a painful cavity treatment (or as they like to say, you were a good boy).

It wasn't anything special, just a cheap hollow plastic toy the size of a 50-cent piece. During the day, we were seeing how long we could keep it going and have little contests. My mom, seeing that we were being entertained by this toy, she treated us to a full-sized basic yo-yo at the supermarket that evening. This was a short-lived fad of our own until...

My sister gets invited to a friend's party along with the rest of the family. One of the party goers/our friends had one of these Yomega Brains, the yo-yo that would automatically come up.

I initially thought it worked like a yo-yo ball. I wanted one so bad as it looked cool, and hung at the bottom for several seconds before coming back up. Several weeks pass by...

We are out at the mall when I get curious and check out the "Imaginarium" store when I spotted one of these in a small display case-like packaging. I only had $5 to spend/saved up. Bummer. I headed over to KB toys instead when I spotted the Duncan collection they had for just under $5.

I bought one of these as they were 1: Made in USA, and 2: were the original/best brand you could get at the time. Within 30 minutes of wandering in the mall and playing with it, I figured out how to properly throw, and learned how to make it 'sleep' or 'hang at the end for several seconds.' I was only then busting off some doggie walks through the mall and through all the 'boring' stores my parents wanted to raid. I was hooked for quite a while. I eventually got a Brain yo-yo as a birthday gift. Several months pass by, into mid spring. Shortly after, I was buying Duncans of different colors and styles. My favorite was either the Neo or Midnight Special.


I see a friend with a cheapo yo-yo at school when I got re-addicted again. The following day, I brought in my Brain yo-yo when suddenly all my friends were amazed. Again, that following day, they all came with their Duncans as that's all they could afford. Ok, one came with a Fireball.

One recess, we were all doing tricks/practicing when the yard attendant comes out to see what we're doing. We quickly pocket them with the exception of 1: he was trying to bring it back up to put away. We got off with a warning, but continued to risk.

I got the idea to write a 'petition' to allow yo-yos at school as they're no more dangerous than jump rope, frisbees, and footballs. Within 2 weeks we succeeded

A week later, I spot this huge box with the "Duncan Yo-Yo" logo on it. Sure enough, the teacher purchased a huge pack for the class. We watched an instructional video and practiced our tricks immediately after for a good 30 minutes, the last 30 minutes of class.

It's now 1998 and Pokemon is the thing. Sure enough, the yo-yo becomes 'mainstream' and is cool. Xbrains pop up in Wal-Mart and at McDonalds, and everyone had to have one. I was still doing tricks by then, and then this fad quickly faded away.

2009. My birthday comes around, and as a gag-gift, my parents bought me a blue Duncan Imperial, the same one I had as a kid. I now found myself re-addicted to my childhood pasttime once again at the age of 24! I decided to spend my remaining $5 on my wal-mart gift card one one of these!


The fad made a short-lived revival in 2004, and I have a feeling that it will be coming back once again for another short life under the spotlight.
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Comments
7 years, 1 month ago
Hell ya they were!
    12 years, 6 months ago
    YEA YO-YOS WERE HOT SHIT WHEN I WAS IN MIDDLE SKOOL LOL
      12 years, 7 months ago
      they did that at my elementary school and everyone had them. i also had a fireball yo-yo also
        12 years, 7 months ago
        I too had a few Duncans, I was never that good but could walk the dog and easy stuff like that but am glad you did an article on this topic, brought back some memories my friend, thanks!
          12 years, 8 months ago
          I loved yo yoing. i had a butterfly. awesome article.
            12 years, 8 months ago
            Nice- the Midnight Special was my personal fave
              12 years, 8 months ago
              Out of all the yo-yos I used to have I'd have to say the Duncan Midnight Special was my favorite. I wish I knew where it was...
                12 years, 8 months ago
                @thetwilightgamer

                I think that was one of the Smothers Brothers, because they were always on tv doing goofy stunts and such.
                  12 years, 8 months ago
                  Also, you might wanna check this out. ;)

                  http://www.yoyoplay.com/tomkusibusb2.html
                    12 years, 8 months ago
                    I remember McDonald's selling yo-yos one time. Can't remember what kind they were or if it was in the late 90s or early 2000s.
                      12 years, 8 months ago
                      I vividly remember the yo-yo fad and how fun it was. Right after that it was pokemon for me....sadly I lost all of mine and never went back to it. Reading this article made me want to get one again. :)
                        12 years, 8 months ago
                        i had a fireball just like the one pictured above... i also had a duncan, but i could never do any tricks with them :(
                          12 years, 8 months ago
                          Oh yeah, I remember the YOYO phase. It came about the same time, or maybe just a little after the "hacky sack" phase. I prefered the hacky sack, it was more social. Or maybe I was just better at it than YOYO'ing, who knows. Good read.
                            12 years, 8 months ago
                            I remembered getting Yomega at McDonalds once. I had a lot of fun with it.
                              12 years, 8 months ago
                              I fell victim to the same thing...My favorite was my Yomega RB II, that puppy could "sleep" for what seemed like forever at the time. My buddy had an aluminum one (i think, some kind of cheap metal) that cost him like 50 bones...it was fun, thanks for the memories! Thumbs up!
                                12 years, 8 months ago
                                Does anyone remember that popular guy from way back when, THE YO-YO-MAN? He was always on variety shows and was like the biggest anyone could get in the yo-yo-business. The only yo yo I ever owned was a cool red white and blue clear light up yo yo and I dont even remember the name brand. It was cool, though, and made all kinds of noises. I was only 6 or so then, so it was probably not as good as what I remember.
                                  12 years, 8 months ago
                                  this reminded me of that simpsons episode. here's a little something i like to call plucking the pickle.........
                                    12 years, 8 months ago
                                    I had a blue Duncan Butterfly, I loved that thing so much, I could never do any fun tricks though.
                                      12 years, 8 months ago
                                      I had the yomega brain.. Actually I had about 20 of them since I was never to good playing with yo yos so they always got tangled up.. The funny thing was these things were being sold at liquor stores! That's how popular the yo yo fad got back then.
                                        12 years, 8 months ago
                                        I was a master of untangling the yo-yo, couldn't do any tricks, but I never had any knots in my string. I usually just ended up throwing my yo's around tree branches like a grappling hook pretending I was Batman. I do remember those Duncan yo-yo ads on TV with video footage of this really old guy in a suit that looked like it was shot in 1979-not the best way to reach your target audience, "See? Grandpa likes it!"
                                          12 years, 8 months ago
                                          I had that black midnight special, I couldn't do any tricks though :(
                                            12 years, 8 months ago
                                            I had one that looked like a hot rod tire with a rim.
                                              12 years, 8 months ago
                                              Blasted yo-yos I could never get the damn things to come back up, not even once! I always felted cheated by my own inability to use this simple toy while everyone else was playing with them with ease "Its all in the wrist" they all said, well apparently I don't have it in my wrist. Thanks for opening up old wounds and dealing out some retro-pain for this poor sucker. Thumbs up.
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