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Pet Rock (1970s)

In April 1975, Gary Dahl was in a Bonny Doon, California bar listening to his friends complain about their pets. This gave him an idea for the “perfect pet” — it would never need feeding, walking, grooming, nor a bath and it would never die — a rock. A rock would never become sick or misbehave. He told his friends and they all had a laugh. But Dahl was the one to keep on laughing — all the way to the bank.

He ended up taking the idea seriously and wrote an “instruction manual” full of puns, gags and play-on-words to help pet owners give their pet rock a healthy life. The Pet Rocks were smooth stones from Mexico’s Rosarito Beach. They came in custom cardboard boxes and were filled with straw and had breathing holes. These rocks were marketed as a living pet. In six months (before people came to their senses), Dahl sold (at $4 a piece) 1.5 million Pet Rocks and became a millionaire. For Christmas 1975 the Pet Rock was a popular present. By February 1976, it was over.

Rosebud Entertainment re-introduced the Pet Rock in September 2012.