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20 imperial The Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo, available in the toy aisles of five & dimes and supermarkets of the early sixties in perhaps four colors. Red. Yellow. Blue, I think. And green. An elegant fleur-de-lis embossed on the face. A yo-yo fit for a queen! Unlike previous yo-yos it had a stainless steel axle! Previous yo-yos suffered from wooden axles, high friction coefficients making tricks like “sleeping” or “walking the dog” damn near impossible. All those fifties-era yo-yos could do was yo-yo! Then along came Sputnik, maybe Teflon was in there somewhere, a handsome new president— and ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Imperial! Plastic and perfect. Solid and sweet. Palm-sized, pocket-sized, one dollar, one yo-yo. Thus we entered the Space Age, dogs and men in orbit, my parents divorced and spinning off, my father weightless in booze. Puberty rising like a zit, Cuban missiles pointing their little heads at us, and voila! The great factories began to extrude yo-yos, Duncan Imperials for the lost ten-year-olds of America, 21 and for a whole year or two we walked the green Midwestern avenues in the shadow of elm trees and the Bomb, as our moms smoked Camels and turned radioactive, the grainy president died on the Magnavox, and nothing to protect us, nothing to hold onto, but a palm-sized red or gold-colored, stainless steel-axled, talismanic and gorgeously extruded Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo, spinning magically from our small hands to do The Creeper. The Flying Saucer. Over the Falls. Rock the Cradle and Loop de Loop. Round the World. Split The Atom. Shoot the Moon. ...


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MARC Record
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