Didn’t you always wonder where this stuff came from? This is a comprehensive article on a uniquely American industry.
Fun Inc. factory seems so innocuous on North Major Avenue in Chicago, via Google Street View.
Buckets of the "Whoops" fake barf mixture, seen on the Timms' tour of Fun Inc.'s Chicago warehouse.
The Inside Scoop on the Fake Barf Industry
By Lisa Hix | www.collectorsweekly.com | August 23rd, 2011
Have you ever stopped to contemplate the existence of rubber barf? It opens up enough philosophical quandaries to make your head spin. Who would ever think of such a thing? Why would he feel the need to manufacture it?
Fortunately, Stan and Mardi Timm, the foremost experts on famed novelty company H. Fishlove & Co., have the answers to these vexing questions. The couple even got a personal tour of the factory where â€œWhoops,â€ the original fake vomit, is still churned out.
Chicago gag kingpin Irving Fishlove, son of the companyâ€™s founder, loved nothing more than a good prankâ€”particularly when the prankster gets a laugh at the expense of his unwitting target. So when presented with the first prototype of latex puke in the late 1950s, he howled with laughter and declared that he loved it.
Not only did Irving Fishlove buy the idea to mass-produce and sell, he also took matters into his own hands. His son, Howard Fishlove, told the Timms about coming home as a schoolkid to find his kitchen counter covered in various types of fake barf. Turns out, Dad was so excited about this upchuck gag, he was experimenting with his own formulas of brown or yellow latex mixed with chunky bits of colored foam. â€œHe told us it was the most disgusting thing he had ever seen,â€ says Mardi Timm.
How this invention got tossed at Fishloveâ€™s feet, though, is a matter of debate. The Timms explained that there are two creation myths around fake throw-up.
First, you have to understand that Fishlove was a collaborator with Marvin Glass, the famed toy designer who, with his company, devised some of the most beloved toys and board games of the 20th century, including Mouse Trap, Operation, Rock â€˜Em Sock â€˜Em Robots, and Lite Brite, produced by major companies like Hasbro and Ideal. Another of Glassâ€™ claims to fame was the invention of Yakity-Yak talking teeth, an idea he sold to H. Fishlove & Co.