Madballs, Weird Balls, Super Bouncing Weird Balls, Monster Balls, Blurp Balls, Krazy Balls, Freakballs, Squirt Devils and other nameless imitations.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

All Encompasing Rip-off Artists

"You Can Miss, Fumble and Strike Out!"

Weird Balls....where to start? For some reason the 80's saw an explosion of weird and/or gross-out products aimed at young boys. They ran the gamut of toys; there were trading cards (Garbage Pail Kids/Dinosaurs Attack), balls (Madballs), little rubber figures (M.U.S.C.L.E.s), larger action figures (Masters Of the Universe) as well as many many others. The Mel Appel Company (also known as TMAC) bootlegged them all in what was possibly the biggest toy coup of the 80's. Well, not really but it sounded cool didn't it?

They had a host of characters that they translated into about 6 different forms of toy. Weird Ball Wrestlers were their answer to M.U.S.C.L.E.s while the Collectums seem to be He-Man knock offs. The Weird Ball Trading Cards were a more gritty version of GPK. You can read about it more comprehensively at Toypedia.
What I'm mostly concerned about are the Madballs fakes. There were about six Weird Balls, the size and shape of Madballs and packaged in a similar style. Now, that's nothing new. Plenty of schmoes copied those things but Mel Appel went one step further. Like, when American Greetings made knee pads for skating and biking, TMAC made a bicycle seat covers. So, it's no surprise that when American Greetings produced Super Madballs (football and basketball sized monsters), there was a Weird Ball answer.

I'll hand it to the Weird Ball design team, while most d-bags were content to minutely change existing Madball designs, they went ahead and put a lot of effort into constructing their own original barf brigade. Even including some football shaped dudes scaled down to regular Madball size. However, when it came to their "Super Weird Ball" they kinda dropped the ball (get it?). On his own he's pretty cool, but if you've seen the smaller version of Worm Skull (I've heard the larger version called "Punt Grunt" but his packaging says "Worm Skull"), you know that this guy is just a scaled up version. Nothing new. It's also just more foam. The Super Madballs were actually inflatable balls.
I'm not gonna complain though, because I'm sure their versions were cheaper. As with Rude Ralph, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into with this nerd. I actually thought I was bidding on the regular sized Worm Skull when a much bigger box came in the mail (see above for brother to brother comparison). He was still "packaged" but that packaging consisted of nothing more than some shrink wrap and a sticker.
I do admit I like this nerd's design. He's a pretty neatly design skull that looks like he may have been the son of a skeletal pig that mated with a football. Ew, pigskins. I really like his cavernous eye sockets and beady little Amityville eyes. And obviously, those worms are cool. Worms are always cool. Except when they're in your egg cream.
His backside leaves something to be desired. A few bone-like pockmarks and one crack with one worm and a tiny bit of slime....snoooorreeeeee. It's a bummer to me that with a larger canvas, so many of the super-sized balls don't add more disgusting bits and details.
In conclusion, this dude is cool but I think he's much better smaller. There aren't enough details to make him worthwhile as a giant. However, he is a cool testament to the rip-off mastery of TMAC.


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is obsessed with Madballs and their ripoffs. I have a TMAC "warthog" ball and another knockoff called a "Crazyball" which I found at Second Mile Thrift store in West Philly.

  2. It's a half assed version of Crackhead/bashbrain.It's still in the package, which has pictures of all the other Crazyballs. They're all direct ripoffs of Madballs except one thats a mustachioed devil guy, need to find it!

  3. Can you send me a pic? is that too much to ask? haha im intrigued now.

  4. oh wait! are they these?

    if so they are the squishy version of these (which ill be posting about soon)

  5. Here's a pic of my Crazyball

    And here's a Madballs ripoff in baseball bat form, don't really know much about it, do you?

  6. The bat was from a set called Gruesome Creatures. I've seen a few of them on ebay recently. They're sweet! Any interest in trading?