Sunday, August 10, 2014

Rolling in the Doh

Before Homer Simpson hijacked the word, "doh", it was reserved for one product -- "Play-Doh".  As a child, I loved Play-Doh, but my mom hated it.  As a parent, I understand why -- it makes a huge mess.  Little dried balls of "doh" are found everywhere for weeks.  But finding these play sets for 50 cents each at a garage sale yesterday has me thinking about running out to the store for a few fresh cans.

"Fuzzy Pumper" (insert your own joke here) Barber & Beauty shop dates from 1977 and is probably the best remembered set.

 Turn the crank and dad goes from corporate hot shot to hippie freak.

 The play set was complete with the barbershop place mat and wall.  Check out that fro on the counter.

One should be leery of a child offering 5-cent "haircuts".

 Mom, Dad, son and daughter can all get coiffed at the same shop.  I'm not exactly  sure what plants this barber is raising back there, but I remember kids drawing them on their notebooks in junior high.

With the set are clippers, scissors, straight razor (for that old-timey shave), safety razor and comb/spoon combo (certainly the first time the two have come together). The yellow mold is for forming Mom's and Sis's do.

These clippers work by repeatedly pressing the red button on the side causing the opposing blades to move from side to side.

Some scans of the playset in case yours is missing.

The original instructions
Looking this page, I realize I assembled the stands incorrectly.  I never did like reading the instructions.

This reminds me.  When I first tried to use the barber chair, the piston wasn't seating all the way to allow the figure to be slid in place.  I could hear dry Play-doh shaking inside of it which I figured was blocking it.  Loosening a couple screws in the bottom of the chair and shaking out the ancient dried balls of Play-Doh solved the problem.

This original insert was also in the box advertising additional sets.

I guess since Kenner had the license to Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman it would makes sense they would also have a Play-Doh set of them, but I was still surprised to see them here.

The second set I bought was this "Cowboy Set" (real original name there, Kenner) from 1975.

This set lacks the interactive nature of "Fuzzy Pumper".  Pretty much you just mold western characters.
 It does come with a wagon and a wood roller.   This set still had an original Play-Doh can in it from 1974.

What does 40-year-old Play-Doh look like?

What I first thought was mold turned out to be crystals of some sort.

I theorized they were salt crystals separated from the Play-Doh as I seemed to recall that salt was an ingredient.  My curiousity got the better of me and I had to confirm.  I touched a bit of it to my tongue (I know, gross, but this was Science!)  Yep, salt.

The set also had this "Fun Factory Jr." press from 1972 thrown in.

Play-Doh started it's life in 1933 as a humble wallpaper cleaner, invented by two brothers working for the Kutol company to combat the heavy residue left by home coal furnaces.  After World War II, as homes switched to propane and natural gas, sales plummeted.  In 1954, on the verge of bankruptcy, a family member of the inventor read how their cleaner was being used by nursery school students to make Christmas ornaments.  An idea was sparked and after removing the detergents and adding color and that unforgettable (and trademark secret) smell, Play-Doh and future childhood memories were born.


  1. Would you please consider selling me your Fuzzy Pumper" Barber & Beauty shop from 1977? My wife's childhood left a lot to be desired to say the very least and her only happy moments Were playing with the one toy she ever had. It was that particular play-doh fuzzy pumper barber shop from 1977, if you could find it in your heart. to help me to make a truly wonderful woman very very happy would you please consider selling me that toy. You can name your price but I I really want to get it for her and I have not had any luck finding another one anywhere. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, my name is David. You can reach me at Thank you very much.

  2. Hi Happy Dave. I actually sold that Fuzzy Pumper last year, but I have a couple more I'll be putting on eBay. Unfortunately, they only have the chair, accessories and characters, not the whole set.


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