Did anyone else play with toys that could have easily doubled as potential murder weapons when they were kids? As a kid born in the early 1970s, we certainly saw our fair share. You know what I mean, those toys that would never pass safety regulations today. One such toy that I vividly remember were these lawn darts called Jarts. I am not sure why they replaced the “d” in darts with a “j” but who cares, the letter “j” must be more fun.
I actually think the full product name was “Slider Jarts” and these things were wicked fun. They were made of metal and plastic and were around 9-12 inches in length. They had these plastic fins that would slide up and down the jart, as you launched them into the air. I suppose the sliding fins were there to make them more aerodynamic, at least as a kid, that’s how I viewed them. But the most important part, and the most dangerous, were the heavy metal tips. These were what caused the jart to fall tip first towards the ground and it was definitely going to stick in the ground, or a kid, due to the forces of gravity and physics. See, they were educational too!
The point of the game was to set up these included yellow rings on opposite sides of the lawn and then you would try to get your color of jart to land within or as close as possible to the ring. This was great fun and we spent hours playing this way. Inevitably though, we would try and launch them as high as we could and then run as they began to fall to earth. Man, we were dumb and lucky, but mostly dumb.
To illustrate how dumb we were, there was this one time that one of us, likely my brother or myself, launched one a little too straight. Next thing we knew, it came down and hit the passenger side door on our family car, a bright yellow 1980 Pontiac Phoenix. It left a decent sized dent in the door. I’m not sure my folks ever had it fixed as I still remember that dent, years later. I am also pretty sure that we never got to play jarts again either.
This video that I found on YouTube gives a pretty good idea of what they looked like and what came in the box.
What a wild toy that was and what a time to be a kid. Without the internet or much in the way of electronics to distract us, we made all kinds of great memories. Even dangerous, potentially deadly, memories. I may attempt to find a set on eBay and see if I’ve still got the touch.