TNB Night Owl – Belly Bongo

Bongo Drums

Take a good look at the image above this article. Those are bongo drums. They are a bona fide musical instrument with a distinctive sound. There are people who can create fantastic music with them, particularly when they are used in concert with other instruments also played by experts.

Then there’s the Belly Bongo, which humiliates the wearer and produces an arrhythmic banging noise.

Produced in 1973, it was an attempt – admitted in the commercial – to create a “fad”. found an excerpt with the creator which originally ran in the Tampa Bay Times.

It’s called a “Belly Bongo,” and according to inventor Fullerton, it will make you “shake, rattle and roll.” Made of high-impact styrene plastic, the Belly Bongo toy is an 8-inch square composed of four open-ended chambers. A hard rubber ball hangs from a three-inch string on the front-center. A canvas strap threaded through the back fastens it to your body. When Belly Bongo is secured around the hips — “where the action is,” says Fullerton — the ball moves with the motion of your body. As it hits on the hollow chambers, it produces a bongo-beat, the tone of which varies according to the chamber size. With the motion of walking, the Belly Bongo emits a bump-da-da-da, bump-da-da-da beat. “It tells you how sexy your walk is,” Fullerton grins.

A rapid-motion twist produces an up-tempo pong-pong-pong-pong. With proper body movements, Belly Bongo makes you your own bump-and-grind drummer.

To clarify: It’s not a bongo, which is a specific style of drum. It’s also not wrapped around your belly, but is rather designed to be worn around the crotch area.

It seems like a bad idea to have a hard rubber ball swinging quickly around someone’s crotch, but the world didn’t have much of a chance to learn just how awful a notion it was. Belly Bongo had pathetic sales figures and was quickly lost to history, save for its placement on the list of worst toy ideas ever to make it to nationwide store shelves.

Question of the night : What is one of your favorite drum-centric songs?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.