Throwback Thursday: Pet Rocks, Mood Rings and Funky Things

In Christine on The Scene by Christine McKellar


Poop-less and Portable Pets

In 1975, after listening to his friends’ endless complaints about their various pets at a bar one night, advertising executive Gary Dahl conjured up the perfect, low maintenance, poop-less and portable, non-canine, feline or fowl, rodent or reptilian companion, the “Pet Rock”. Dahl packaged the smooth stones he harvested from Rosarito Beach in custom cardboard boxes equipped with straw beds and breathing holes. Also included with the purchase of each pet was a pun-and-joke-riddled 32-page official training manual titled The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock. Included in the manual were specific commands that could be easily taught to your rock, such as, “stay” and “sit.” More complex orders like “roll over” and “attack”, could only be carried out with a bit of help from the conscientious owner.

A Six-Months Millionaire

Dahl’s creation was a smashing hit for about six months. He enjoyed a surge in sales during the Christmas season of ‘75 before (as with way too many flesh and blood pets) the novelty wore off and Pet Rocks were ignored or abandoned. Dahl reportedly sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks for $4 each during his run and thus became a millionaire. Not a bad haul by any standards.

The imaginative marketer died in his hometown, Jacksonville, OR, on March 23, at the age of 78.


The mood ring was created in 1975 by two New York inventors, Josh Reynolds and Maris Ambats.  The ring’s centerpieces are basically specialized liquid crystal thermometers that have been bonded with quartz stone or glass.  The liquid crystal changes color based on the temperature of the finger of the wearer. The changes in temperature cause the crystal to reflect different wavelengths of light, which changes the color of the faux gemstone that adorns it. Mood rings are generally sold along with a color chart indicating the supposed mood of the wearer based upon the colors indicated on the ring.

Feeling Black or Blue?

The liquid crystal is set up to display a “neutral” color at the average human skin temperature of  93 °F. Psychologists and physicians have agreed that emotion can alter the temperature of the human body by any number of degrees. Emotions like fear and anger tend to elevate blood pressure and produce body heat. Feeling serene or happy keeps blood pressure in balance and the body in harmony. A change in body temperature is reflected by the crystals in the Mood Ring and is perceived by some to be the wearer’s emotional barometer. According to the chart, having the blues isn’t so bad after all. But, a black mood is universal.

Throwback Word of The Week



adjfunkier or funkiest

1. (Pop Music) (of music) passionate, soulful; of or pertaining to funk
2. authentic; earthy
3. stylish and exciting; cool: funky jeans.
[C20: from funk2perhaps alluding to music that was smelly, that is, earthy (like the early blues)]