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oobi sunt?
(oobi mail)

Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009
From: Aussie
Subject: Ahoy there matey

This appears to be a technologically retarded oobioid object.

Hope you are keeping well.

that. is. weird. it's like they found a way to monetize which means they monetized money. congratulations! that's more than the federal reserve's going to be able to do for too much longer....

Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009
Subject: The Newbie Oobi Project
From: Matt Bohnhoff

Hey there Deuce.
About two months ago I first learned about oobi through your website. I was tickled by the idea and decided to test the viability of an oobi-based messaging system. Just recently I had my first successful oobi delivery. Now I'm readying more oobi to be released to a wider variety of destinations. I thought that since I learned about oobi from you, you might be interested in having some newbie oobi sent in your direction. If so, I need an address.
Thank you for your time.
Matt Bohnhoff
The Newbie Oobi Project

hola, matt
good work!
i'd be delighted to know that a newbie oobi was on its way to me. the only snag is that in bisbee, we don't really have addresses. i mean, we kind of do--there's no mail delivery, but many of the houses still have house numbers on them. where i am is up on the side of tombstone canyon, but i guess once the oobi arrived in town, whoever was carrying it would either know his or her way around, or could find out. or here's another idea--it could be addressed c/o a friend of mine who has a space right downtown. let me make sure it's cool with her (pretty sure it will be), and get back to you.
how did you hear about the oobi website in the first place?
I found your website through wikipedia after I saw an oobi experiment by Posterchild and was excited into doing more research on the idea.

Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009
Subject: Oobie
From: Poster Child

Thought you may be interested in this!

Take care,

yes, indeed, thanks. please let me know how it turns out.

Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2009
From: neil k.
Subject: Re: Now surely this must be an oobi.

feel like I am getting closer to knowing what an Oobi really is. (channelling the deleted scenes of Borat) What is this? Is it cement?

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2009
From: Darryl
Subject: Pic of oobi sticker from early 70s

Hi Doc, enjoying your oobi history. I had a pack in the early 70's. I was a greedy kid so hung onto the little buggers for some time. Might even have one around here somewhere. What I do have is a sticker that came with my pack that I stuck on the side of a set of drawers. Here's a picture of it, you can use it how you like...

Darryl the oobi hoarder.

wow, you not only hoarded your oobi sticker, you hoarded your 1970s set of drawers. excellent work, muchisimas gracias!

Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2009
From: Neil K.
Subject: Is this an oobi?

gelatinous stereo oobi—delicious!
You nomading it? Still in AZ?
no reason i can't be both (and am)

From: Catherine S.
Subject: How informative!
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008

I found your Oobi article to be extremely informative. If only people embraced Oobi and how fun he could be, it would be a phenomenon that would make the world a better place!

an oobi world would be a better world.
did you ever have an oobi?
Heh, no way...I'm 14. Oobis are 30 years older than me! I found out about Oobi in this really great trivia book, Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. It sounded interesting so I looked it up on the internet!
too funny—i think uncle john likes (they also did a feature on the mojave phone booth). in which volume of the reader you read about oobi? i'd like to buy a copy for the archives.
I was reading the GIGANTIC bathoom reader. It is very thick, and when you take off the front sleeve, it is green underneath. It's under the 'toy flops' article. It has a very important piece of information about why parents didn't like Oobi: because perverts would follow the address.

Also, I love your Mojave Phone Booth page. Good job on the strange articles!

Soon I'm going to try my own Oobi with a package I made myself.

excellent! i hope you will keep oobiland updated with what becomes of your oobi.
That would be a cool piece of popular culture.
"What'd you do today, honey?"
"Well, nothing much, but I picked up three Oobis."
"Good job!"
you know, back in the 60s, you can see where oobi really would have seemed like it would've become popular. i'd like to believe we're approaching an era of which one could say the same.

From: Brenda H.
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008

Hiya Doc,

Three years ago, I wrote & told you it had been two years since tha last time I wrote you! Gosh. I swear I think of you, Oobi, Whip It and the Mojave Phone Booth way more often than I write...and I think of you fondly! Tonight when I came to your site, you fooled me for a sec. In an email to the Cake Lady, you said something about Oobi-shaped cakes. Brilliant idea!! So fun! So cute! So much more practical than the original Oobi!

and much higher sugar content! down with plastic (aka high fructose corn syrup)
So, I visited Cake Lady's site (which is glorious, btw),
isn't it, though? not that anything to do with cake could help but be glorious (and i include the band cake like, and maybe even cake, i don't know), but that cake lady does her some Good Ass Work.
but I found no Oobi cakes. Yeah, it's like 3:00 am and I need to pay closer attention to what I am reading... but am I the only person on the planet who would thoroughly relish an Oobi cake? I think not, as you were the man with the Idea.
i would use a word other than relish, since i boycott all things cucumber (except tiny cucumber sandwiches in the desert). but i would definitely eat an oobi chocolate cake frosted with that delicioso orange-red hue....
If you bake it, they will come.
they should, if you do it right

From: Maria S.
Subject: oobi question
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2007

My dear friend did her first Voice Over gig in 1969 for the Oobi toy in the States—the Commercial Copy was in the form of a Haiku.
Has anyone come across this Ad? It's her birthday and I want to give her a blast form the past .. or where can I get her an Oobi???

i've found oobis online from time to time, but only rarely. ebay is the best bet. unfortunately, as you know, oobis were made for only a short time—i'm amazed that any of them survived, especially given their intended use.
if your friend would be interested in sharing her memories of her oobi gig with oobi fans, please let me know.

From: Laurel
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006
Subject: Amazed by your website for oobi.


I was getting ready to post my oobi (still in the package) on Ebay and decided to do a search for pricing purposes. I came across your website and was amazed at the amount of information and detail you have regarding oobi. I was born in the 50's but don't remember these at all. They are really CUTE!

I just thought you might be interested in knowing that. Take care and keep up the good work.

Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006
From: Shirley
Subject: Oobi...sigh.

Dear DOC,

Thank you for sharing the legend...and fond memories of Oobi!
I am here to testify, that Oobi IS love.

Oobi was one of my favorite toys, and I was a believer. I had faith that Oobi would return home to me, bearing wishes of love from what would soon be my "new found" friends!
My old friends were getting stale.

When my first Oobi didn't return home, I feared the worst.
I waited patiently for 7 days to hear from him/her/it.
I searched for Oobi everyday, to and from the school bus stop.

After a week with no word, I naively sent out Oobi number 2 to search for him/her/it.
When Oobi number 2 failed to return (after what seemed an eternity), I got the hint.
That the world is evil. (Or maybe nobody liked ME.)
And that although my generation was preaching peace and love, they never really "got" Oobi.

For over 30 years I have had to live with the guilt of sending Oobi 1 & 2 to their untimely graves. And after reading your website, apparently ghastly demises...being smashed on the sidewalk! (I used my mom's tweezers to remove my "practice" notes.)

So, Oobi number 3 and I have led a quiet, albeit cynical lifestyle. He/she/it sits silently on a bookshelf in my studio. I occasionally look up to find Oobi staring over at me. Still full of big-eyed innocence and void of any corrupt literature he/she/it may have been subjected to carry.

Larry Reiner was obviously a big-hearted optimist. And he, like Oobi, were too lovely for this world.

I love Oobi...and Oobi loves me.
"And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take."
Oobi is love.

Shirley KH

i don't think oobi would want you to feel guilty, shirley. what's the line from his girl friday— "production for use"? oobi was made to wander.

so don't feel bad. oobi would understand.

oobi sunt,

Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006
From: Lorin Partridge
Subject: oobi


Over the past ten or so years I have pursued Oobi, trying to obtain them and asking people if they happened to know what the hell they are.
Until I stumbled across your website, only one soul out of hundreds knew what I was talking about. My first Oobi came to me by way of my dead great grandmother, who had an empty Oobi amongst the detritus in her house.

Great site, very comprehensive.

Dig it,

Lorin Partridge

muchas gracias, senor

i know just what it is like to inhabit that quest space all alone. (it could have inspired deadbolt's "15-year search")

all i can think of now is those oobi cufflinks. i believe they could eclipse the commercial popularity of oobi in about one good afternoon.

You know, I've made cufflinks before, and it's a cakewalk. Find a pair of flat links and buy some blank shrinky-dink sheets at a toy or craft store. Five minutes in the oven and you've got a durable plastic chip bearing the design of your choice which can be affixed to the pre-existing cufflinks. So far I've got partridges, an Ian Brady/Myra Hindly head set, and it looks like oobies are next.
shrinky dinks. of course. problem solved. now, to my second problem: an utter lack of long-sleeved shirts

Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2006
From: Kerry K.
Subject: OOOOOBI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is a show on the kids cable station Noggin RIGHT NOW called OOBI!

And its all about your little friend.
Thought you might like to know.

it's not about my little friend. that oobi is a fake.
there's that snippiness I adore!

What's the difference? Its the little hand eyeball is it different?

to quote anyone in the charlie brown universe: ARGH

Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005
From: jen b.

Thank God I found your site! I was describing oobi to someone who was unfamiliar with it, while performing a search to back me up. I turned up nothing. (I could have sworn it was spelled "oubi" and I dimly remember reading once that it was a play on the French "oubliť" -- to leave behind.) They thought I was nuts. I began to consider that I might actually be -- after trying many possible spellings, with things like "red egg message toy" thrown in for good measure. Finally, a hit!

Sanity restored,

i know just what you mean -- after years & asking tons of people whether they could remember oobi, i had decided that it must have been marketed only to my sister and me. all hail the internet. and ebay.

From: Barry B.
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2005

great website!

i have 2 seperate oobi's, do you know what they are worth?

not really. i would have to guess that the demand isn't very large. you could try your luck on ebay, of course.

From: Lancee C.
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005

Hello, My Name Is OOBI, Really. I was born in October of 1971, my parents named me OOBI before I even arrived. My Mother and Father would rub her stomach and say "this is our little OOBI" and when I was born it stuck. I still have an OOBI, and have searched for years to find more...I guess one OOBI is enough and I like to think of mine as the "Original". Thanks Again, Is was a pleasure to visit your site!


you were named after the parker brothers oobi? really?
what can you tell me about your parents? did you always know why you were named OOBI? even when you were a child?
They're very creative and fun, but are not or never were hippies. I always new where the name came from including the story on the back of OOBI and could recite it to anyone who asked me where the name came from. I recited it often and still do! It's hard to believe that the OOBI wasn't successful, but then if it was it wouldn't be as special.

P.S. I did not know that OOBI was refered to as "him"..............................I'm a "Her OOBI"

i would expect there to be oobis of both sexes. otherwise, where would all the oobis have come from?

so, on your birth certificate it says, "OOBI?"

From: Brenda H.
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005

Hey, it's me again -- back to visit you two years later...kind of like an oobi on the road :) I was looking at your oobi project page when the light bulb went on (TWO YEARS LATER!). The whole Oobi trip is sort of duplicated in these tiny little "friendship books" passed around by avid postal pen pal-ers. The books are miniscule, just a few tiny pages stapled together.

Now, the US Postal Service is one of the best....but I sent one fb to "Anyone in Antarctica" and another to Barrows, AK (close to the north pole)...but I never got them back. Maybe I need to try that again. I had even written an appropriately cheesy poem for them:


Tiny little friendship book
Now mailed and mailed again
Tell me of the hands you shook
Of where you've been and when.

See? Wouldn't you fee COMPELLED to sign & pass THAT along??


i does likes me the analogical thinking, i does.

From: banjo57
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004

Hi Doc,
I have 1 oobi which my mom purchased in the 1970's. I was 13 or 14 at the time and remember the T.V. Commercials well, I thought they were cool....

it seemed like a good idea. if everyone was a hippie, maybe. (wait, how could *that* be a good idea?)
My oobi has traveled with me as I have move around, and even lived in Arizona for 13 yrs., but I can't part with the little red fellow.
(and in a non-hippie world, why would you?)
Below the address space on oobi it reads, "Please don't confine me to a mailbox". I had forgotten that detail. I had a great time on your website reading other peoples memories of oobi. Thanks, Chris
de nada, and remember: oobi means love outside the confines of a mailbox.

From: Jim
Subject: You are the Oobi-wan...
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004

Hey Deuce, just had to send you a quick note to say hi and thanks for the Oobi site! I was suffering from the symptoms you described... those which started your quest... a vague recollection of this toy from my childhood.
Reading your posted emails, apparently the symptoms were more "Oobiquitous" than you might have imagined! I must have been a hippie at heart even at the age of 9 or 10 because I loved the concept of Oobi even then. Of course I also loved that grade school movie called "Paddle to the Sea" where a kid sends a toy canoe with his address carved into it on an adventure we watch vicariously via the film... Now to find my own Oobi to have and to hold!
Cheers! - Jim

Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2003
From: masoc cc
Subject: I've discovered an Oobi Horde!!

I have found someone with a Horde of Oobis... I'll be calling them tomorrow. I hope they actually bought them all for some strange reason, and haven't been holding them hostage, preventing them from delivering their message for ALL these years.

They have approximately 200 loose Oobis! And a few of the three packs, still sealed!

holy smoke. how did you run across this person?
Garage sale, believe it or not. They wanted $350.00 for the lot... and the sick part is, I actually considered it.
maybe this is indeed someone who ran around nabbing oobis off the streets way back when ... hrmm ... if that's the case, let's not get the fbi involved, but rather reserve for this one a "special justice..."

Subject: The Oobi Condition
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003
From: Don M.


I hate to be a bummer, but if you are supposed to set an Oobi free so that it can continue to it's final destination only to be split apart by a spoon, it seems kind of sad. It also might help explain the scarcity of them.

Is it confirmed that there is no other way to retrieve the messages?

confirmed? can't say that. if there's another way, it would be good to know it.

of course, since the days of oobi, superglue was invented.

Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2003
From: Dru M.
Subject: Oobi vs. Travel Bugs

Looking around the net today, I came upon your site. Parker Brothers Oobi looks like what is going on today with Groundspeak's travel bugs.

They are part of the larger hobby of geocaching, where people hide treasures around the world for others to find. These travel bugs make their way from person to person and their progress is tracked online so you can see where it is and read stories from each person it visits.

someone geocached the site of the late mojave phone booth a few years back.

perhaps oobi would have a better chance if released into the wilds these days...

From: Margaret
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003
Subject: Oobi oobi oobi!

Dear fellow Oobi-lovers;

Thanks, now I know I wasn't the only person going crazy thinking she was the only one who'd heard of these things.

is it not a great relief to know?
I've been thinking about Oobi since the mid-1980's, but it wasn't until I found your great site that I knew I wasn't alone. I remember the commercial, too, only the one I remember was a bit more Americanized,
do you mean to say that there were oobi commercials outside the u.s.?
showing Oobi being passed from one pair of friendly hands to another on his journey. (One shot even showed a smiling trucker sitting in the cab of his rig writing a note to be added to Oobi's insides. An insult to the Teamsters, if you think it over, as so few Oobi's made it to their destinations, and possibly none at all.)

Surely out there, at least one lucky Oobi got to the intended recipient. But no one's talking. More than likely, a lot of them landed up in bottom drawers, garage shelves, etc.

if anyone did receive a duly-delivered oobi, i hope we'll find out about it, eventually.
I am now the proud mother of nine Oobi's, all acquired in three recent E-bay auctions. (In my defense, I have to mention that in two of those auctions, no one else even bid!) One package even had the faded original price sticker (Pay-n-Save - $1.79).

Well, I admit I'm a little possessive about my little Oobi's.. But I know they're destined for something special. The ideas will come!

Oobily yours,

Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003
From: David H.

That is the sweetest cutest thing I have seen in a long time! I am unfortunately to young to join everyone else in the "I remember that commercial" statement. It is so sad that such a gloriously human ideal, never actually took off.

maybe it is taking off *now*.

From: Hypnagogue
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003

More Oobi origin myth! Coolness! And your devoobtion (that didn't really work, did it?)

how about "devoobivotion?" "devoobition?" hrmm. this may take some work.
obviously means a lot to the creator's family. Love that the daughter was born "a couple of days" after Oobi's heyday, underlining the brevity of said heyday -- like you could circle the single hey-day on a calendar....
one day science will rejoice when we discover the exact heydey of oobi.

Date: Fri, 2 May 2003
From: Elizabeth
Subject: Oobi Imposter.

I found your site accidently while seeking information on a program that runs on the Noggin Digital Cable channel...

and realized that there is an Oobi-Imposter!!!

I thought I'd best bring that to your attentions.

yep, on it.
BTW -- I now want my own Oobi. I'm an 80's baby and thus don't remember them, but hey! I deserve an Oobi, doesn't everyone?
oobi is best experienced as an unlooked-for gift.

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003
From: tim
Subject: oobi sent

I addressed an oobi to you guys and tossed it in a central park bush. I figure if it made all the way to Arizona, it wouldn't really need your address. So I just wrote

"Guy who runs deuce of clubs. I think he is in Arizona"

Let me know if it comes your way.

i will send my response back via oobi

From: libby s.
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003

I am doing a speech on toys that didn't make it in the toy industry. Like the oobi! I would like to know if you can send me information on any more toys that failed. If so, I would greatly appreciate it!

regarding failed toys: pretty much specializes in the oobi, but you might see whether you can still get a copy of hoofsip #28, which looks like it has a feature on failed toys.

From: c1leber
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002
Subject: Jello-O, the Harbinger of America's Death Knell

Sir -

A quick missive relating the historically documented and unholy teaming of a well-known refrigerated salad/dessert concoction and the downfall of Western Civilization.

Pray no one has used an Oobi for an individual serving Jell-o mold.

now you've gone and given me naughty impetus
Beware the Quivering Menace
thank you for revealing the evils of jell-o. who knew that ground up horse hooves could be BAD?

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002
From: Joni G.
Subject: Maybe you have one of my Oobies from the 70's!


Would you check your collection for one of the many Oobies my friend Amity and I set free? They would have her name or mine in black pen written over the white space.

that would be great if one of them did. i had a few oobis, but most were stolen with the rest of my stuff. i happened to have one with me, fortunately, so i am not left oobi-less. (none of them had any writing, though.)
What a great memory for me.
don't you wish you could see the oobi commercial?
I was thinking I wish I could remember the manufacturer?
parker brothers, believe it or not. i'd always thought it had been wham-o; seemed like the sort of thing they'd do.
If the patent has expired, and you are in need of an investor, let me know.

Sincoobie Yours,

i think the world has turned even more larcenous than it was decades ago, so oobi would probably fare even worse...

From: Hinda
Date: Sun, 07 Apr 2002

I CANNOT believe it! (Scary background music) I truly thought *I* was the only one on the planet who'd heard of Oobi!

sometimes i think i am, and i run oobiland
I was about 10 years old and I SAW THE COMMERCIAL on tv!
i would really like to see that. i wonder whether parker brothers has -- or would admit to having, is maybe the better phrase -- a copy of that commercial?
I have never actually seen or held an Oobi, though I have been looking for them on eBay for about a year. Silly me: I'd been spelling it wrong! Got a zillion returns for "Out of body experience"....similar, huh? Spooooooky! xx/oo Hinda
some people can't seem to tell an OOBE from an oobi...

From: Brett
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002
Subject: Are you hording oobis?

I have been scouring the internet for an oobi for my sis for her 45th birthday. I cant seem to find many references to the true oobi except for your superb site. But I cant help but wonder if your true motivation is to hord all oobis.

ah, if only enough oobis remained to form a hoard...
I only want one, if anyone reads this and can part with one, let me know. I have checked the auctions, checked the obscure collectors sites, no one has em. Do you really have a closet full of them and when the time is right, you will announce to the world the shortage of oobis and hence inflate their value? Think of it, what if you had the last oobi on earth?
on the basis of the oobi site's email, i can already hear the huge yawn from the rest of the world. (comparatively few of us seem to care about poor oobi...)

contrary to popular belief (at least on the part of the comparatively few), i don't have a lot of oobis. the few i do have are in storage, except for one. but you may find out how difficult it is to part with an oobi. my bet is that when you find one, you'll end up giving your sister something else & keeping oobi for yourself

Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002
From: Dawn A.

I like your style!

I like saying eBay oobi, too. To make things even more fun, I offered an eBay Booby this week. (A booby is a rather large bird from the Galapagos islands) So this week I will be shipping Oobis and Boobies.

I checked out your website - what a hoot!!!!!! This is why I love eBay so much. Because someone, somewhere out there will find their way to you and know what it is your selling and actually want it!

Looking back on the days of Oobi, I remember there were dozens upon dozens in our school. I suspect Mrs Marquardt (Our old principal) has a big stash of oobis in her estate. Maybe some day those will find their way to eBay (with the notes inside!!).

From: Kathleen E.
Subject: Oobi news!
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001

Hey Deuce,

Just wanted to tell you that someone actually referred to Oobi on the phone with me yesterday.

I work in customer service for an airline, and our reservations are six letter codes.

i remember those codes very well -- i used to work for an airline myself.
So of course, sometimes you can't hear the difference between "d" and "b" and some other various and assorted letters. When someone spelled out their reservation it was something like a as in apple, d as in dog, w as in water, o as in Oobi (!!!) etc.

the airline used to require us to use the alpha/bravo/charlie ones, but the ones the callers would come up with were sometimes funny. once, though, a fellow employee had gotten a little rusty on hers, so while she was reading out the confirmation code, she stumbled "t as in tango, u as in ... ummm ... uterus..."

the supervisors were not amused.

I was so amazed, I just thought I had to tell you that someone else obviously remembers Oobi.

Kathleen :)

did you say anything to the person about it?


Oobilicious Greetings!

Yes, we are supposed to use the alpha/bravo/charlie etc. stuff, but again, same deal. Customers sometimes come up with the funniest stuff!

then my customer actually said O as in Oobi, I was so stunned that I lost my train of thought for about 5 seconds...and regretfully didn't mention anything to her about Oobi. I guess it's simply because I was surprised it didn't cross my mind to ask her. Oh well, if it happens again, I will be sure to start asking questions, even if I might get some questions about it from higher up. At least I haven't ever said U as in uterus! :)


From: Ultima
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000
Subject: Won't Oobi My Neighbor?

I want to live in Oobiland! Does their local vernacular substitute nouns and verbs with the word "Oobi" a la the obviously ethnocentric Smurfs?

we certainly hope not!
Wonderful chronicling of the Oobi quest,
and Oobi, Mark II Project Set Them Free. I will have to try that! It's got the appeal -- and about the same chances -- of the helium balloons with the message attached that, in a singularly uneducational school project, you'd send off with the unshakeable belief that it would set down in a country so far away its name is spelled with alien hieroglyphs, and a fascinating and attractive member of the opposite sex, also grade-school aged, would find it and write back in a penetratingly witty fashion. The outcome was, of course, thuddingly oobish.
(cracking up, here)
Best of Oobi Sunt "It's like a chain letter without the stamps or doom." "The ad copy guy is already sick of Oobi -- 'poem, greeting, whatever.'"

How did you concoct the Oobi font, complete with the cloying "Oobi is Luv" heart dotting the i? It's brill -- and makes me wish you had a Mac so you could share & I could enjoy!

--Six Days' Sail North of England

well, it's a font called "bauhaus93," crowleyanistically enough. don't remember where we got it, but it was a good match for the oobi font, wasn't it? (except for the hearts -- those we had to add manually.)

don't know whether a mac version exists, but a websearch might turn up something...

From: Neil K.
Subject: Oobiland Photo
Date Sun, 4 Jun 2000

Here's a REAL oobiland:

Meanwhile, somewhere in Antarctica...

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000
From: jacquelyn
Subject: your whisker

your whisker is on the way.

i have been wondering where all the oobis are.
i am convinced they are not lost, but still on their way to their destinations...

what is plural for oobi... oobies, oobis, oobii

we've been using "oobis."

but we have only our own authority for this.

that's good enough, i should think. altho oobii had an exotic attraction for a moment there...
true. but somehow it sounds almost clinical. "while in the jungle, he managed to survive the beri-beri, but succumbed later to the oobii."
how bout this?

"the oobii were a rare, mythical race of message-bearing demigods..."

yes. and it just may turn out to be the truth. except for the "mythical" part.
i would live there in antartica. if i had instant noodles.

Date: Mon, 29 May 2000
From: Ted Casino

I like the phrasing on the back of the oobi card, "the new message medium", nice little hat-tip to mcluhan.

yeah, that should be pointed out. wait, guess you just did that!
also, figure #3: LOOK OUT FOR THOSE SPIKES, OOBI! We learn via figure 3 that sending a message via Oobi can be a very hazardous experience.

figure #4: the ad copy guy is _already sick of oobi_: "poem, greeting, _whatever_."


I will try to incorporate this phrase into a conversation or two within the next week. I will let you know if I am more successful than you were with your mentally-scarring initial oobi experience.

Initial Oobi Experience: Good band name.

Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
From jacquelyn j.

about the oobi. i am surprised they do not reach their destination. it seems to me to be quite tragic. considering people are mostly good for moving things around, anyway. i hate to think it is an indication of basic human selfishness. maybe i will convince myself it is an indication of basic human forgetfulness.

btw, you have inspired me to write a Guide to Life. by me.

Date: 5/6/2000
From: Misty

it's a 3-pak -- unopened!


You told me when I needed a new quest to find oobi! WELL I DID!! Follow this link, its up for grabs at yahoo auctions and its only starting at five bucks! You can TOTALLY get this!!

I am SOOO happy I found this, you have to win this auction, or else my quest will be incomplete!!! Write back and stuff!!

From: Ultima
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000

Yipee yi yay, the happy ending to the Oobi saga tickles me. Fate intervened to keep us from accidentally bid-battling each other! It did occur to me that the other bidders could have been part of Deuce's Army, but I wasn't about to e-mail them and explain the whole backstory and ask if they knew what I was talking about; I'm sure I would have been booted off eBay for harasssment (the extra s is for extra harrassment!) Also, *I* wanted to be the hero of the day, anyway! :)

And we know the saga isn't truly over anyway -- not until you get a Mint In Package Oobi Trio. And did you know about the short-lived Oobi breakfast cereal replete with Oobi premiums? PSYCH!

I'm happy, hope you're happy too; ashes to ashes, funk to funky...
--ULTIMA! :)

From: Ultima
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000
Subject: Re: holy SMOKE!

Hooray! You and Oobi -- together again for the first time! (Whatever that means!) You told me about your beloved Oobi on the first day we met -- about six years ago! There were Oobi-shaped hearts in your eyes. And to think I had a part in reuniting you. This is how the Stork must feel! (?!?) Or the Touched By an Angel woman.

From: Dominic P.
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999

Hi! I am your fellow Oobi fan! The thing is, I bought one as soon as it came out! They had this television commercial, and what I most remember about it was the cheap film stock used on the ad. The toy was some concept from Japan, where you would buy the oobis, and put a note, or a poem or whatever it was you were feeling that day into a little slot on top of the oobi's head. Then, some other kid would pick it up, arbitrarily, and dig what you had to say, then use the oobi to express him or herself, and then some other would dig that, and so on. Supposedly, you would be able to pick up other people's oobis anyway, because as a toy trend, everyone would be doing this, and there would be oobis everywhere. In a way, it was like a chain letter without the implications of doom. It was the zen deal... It was about 1970, Woodstock vibe was in the air, Pepsi was liking to teach the world to sing, everycartoon had a peace-loving band in it, so this was like the ultimate manifestation idealism, transferred to the kiddie market. G.I.Joe was over! Dig?

So, I never saw another Oobi lyin' around. Obviously, the concept didn't catch on. The bad film-stock ad sort of implied that this was something popular in Japan, and naturally, it would be popular in America now that the U.S. was enlightened.

Perhaps not. But I'll never forget the Japanese woman in her cute accent, saying "Place an Oobi somewhere, and someone will pick it up!" (etc.)

From: Domenic
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999

I meant, when Oobi came out, no other kids were "placing" them around, so in other words, I never got to "pick one up" and read what another kid had to say in 'em.

I did see one in a now-defunct toy store on Haight Street here in San Francisco at the corner of Haight/Ashbury. Kind of "poetic justice." That's the only time I ever saw one for sale in "vintage" culture. One Oobi, without the package, for $25. And the guy who owned the toy store didn't know what it was.

By the way, the Japanese woman "in the commercial" was a voice over only. The film had some ambient sound, but it was like a silent, color film of a child using the Oobi, and another kid picking it up and reading the message.

These could have been fun, because in those days, they would have been a secret way for kids to do punk things, like cuss, etc. You know, the "messages" inside would be impossible to "edit" by parents. Too bad there was never an Oobi craze. I was at Cavestomp in NYC this past weekend, and someone else suggested that Oobi was like the "white bicycle" of the toy world.

From: Domenic P.
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999


Yeh, Oobi. Pretty unusual. I'll tell you now, I bought one back when it came out, but of course, the idea was that it would become a fad and you'd be able to pick them up all over the place, to replace the one you'd bought, and read someone elses note, then leave your own note in the same place, and someone else would read it. Sort of a philosophical "chain letter" idea, without the stamps or the "doom" associated with chain letters. You were supposed to write poems, or tell fun stories, whatever. I guess the appeal of Oobi has now appeared with this thing we are writing on now, called the internet. So, Oobi has the last laugh.

From: John Tungsten"
Subject: oobi!
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999

"Oobi means love."

HAW HAW HAW!!!! Oh man!


From: Parker Brothers Consumer Affairs
Subject: oobi!
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999

Thanks for contacting us. Regrettably, we have no information on this item.
Sorry we can't be of any help.

From: Ryan B.
Date: 10/29/99

According to a 1973 Parker publication, 90 Years of Fun 1883-1973:

"Oobi, a red, egg-shaped hollow message container, holds the distinction of being Parker Brothers' wildest failure. Printed on it was: 'I contain a message to another human being. Please further my journey an inch, a foot or a mile. Add a note, if you wish. Then help me to the next nice person like yourself.' To prevent competitors from stealing the idea, intra-office communications were coded, 'Project 0' The advertsing campaign, introduced in early 1971 with an artistic and beautiful television commercial, was 'Oobi means love.' Parker Brothers soon got the message. The public hated Oobi. Thinking that perhaps the West Coast test failed because they weren't quite ready for Oobi, the test-market was switched to the Southeast, where it also failed miserably. End of Message Carrier."
I also have a 1971 Parker Catalog that has several pictures, some closeup. Stay tooned. I am really, really, swamped in November with professorial duties, so it may be December before I can help.

From: Becky
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999

I have never actually seen an Oobi, but I have a friend that is obsessed with them! I won another auction for one for $3! The reason it was so cheap? The guy spelled it wrong. This one is not in the package tho and I haven't received it yet.

I don't have any or any photos, but you should really talk to my friend Domenic--he has long regaled me with stories about the Oobi TV commercial, which was very Zen apparently. I'll pass this on to him and he'll contact you.

Also, it's a longshot, but you could try Parker Bros. to see if they have ads, toys in their vault. PB is owned by Hasbro: (401) 727-5000. Maybe some PR person can help.

Good luck & let me know what happens,

Name: 10/28/99

I just made the connection -- Oobi/Ubi. Doesn't that mean omnipresent? UBIquitous? In the sing-songy words of Homer Simpson, "I am so smart. S-M-R-T."

ubi means "where" -- as in ubi sunt (where have they gone?). we're planning an oobi section on the site (once we get more info, that is) that will be called, "Oobi Sunt." C-L-V-R, no?
Yes, "Oobi Sunt" is a geniusly CLVR headline. I find it so much easier to write the story if I've had Perfect Headline Ephiphany. It's an inspirdisiac.

You heard me.

Date: 10/26/99
Name: Candi Strecker

Wow, the mystery solved (sort of) at last!!! That's really one of the little-noticed things that eBay is good for - - identifying things,and/or finding out more about things. Wonder how frequently oobis come up for auction? Wonder who the heck would want to bid on one, besides you?!?!?!!! Whatta weird and wacky world.

Looking at the package, I also wonder (as you must also wonder) who invented the oobi??? Some too-clever hipster ad-agency guy with dreams of The Next Pet Rock, I suppose, looking at the slick marketing package. (Or did oobi predate the pet rock??) Someday I bet you'll uncover the answer to this mystery too ...

From: Ultima
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999

Here is the Oobi image -- it gets pretty pixelated (sp?) when you enlarge it by any measure. I don't think you'll find the instructions legible. Here's what the seller wrote about it:

"This is a unique toy by Parker Brothers. It is dated 1970. It comes in its original package unopened. This is called Oobi, the new message medium. These little gadgets were intended to be used by people to send messages to other people. They are cute little plastic containers (with two little eyes), that you can put a message into and leave for somebody (anybody- anywhere and it is supposed to somehow end up back to you- no mailing allowed!) to find. KINDA NEAT and very unusual. These were obviously not a big success. The package contains three of the little guys."

Oobi might make a good story -- I could get the e-mail address of the high bidder (may his soul simmer in slime) if you want to grill him about his Oobi memories or anything.

Date: 10/3/99
From: Andrea K.

Regarding the Oobi item on your Gimme page: I'm reminded of that Thomas Pynchon novel, "The Crying of Lot 49." Ever read it?

yep. definitely. we're all libertarians and hermits here, so pynchon makes sense to us
Published in 1966, it's partly about a shadowy underground postal system, and I think (if memory serves -- college was long ago) that it even includes eye imagery, like the one that's on the dollar bill.
yep yep. "sometimes the freshest ideas are right under your nose." that's from a commercial that was on just now as i typed. so i transcribed it.

it would be funny to have eyes under one's nose. but it would make eyebrows even more useful.

Although I might be confusing it with "The Illuminati Trilogy," so don't quote me on the eye stuff.

And then there's that geography game called Ubi, with the eye-emblazoned gamepiece. What's up with that? It's all very mysterious.

we actually have that game, bought partly because of the connection with oobi, but also because there was this guy (forget it!) who used to ride our bus in grade school. don't even know what his name was, but this stoner burnout guy named "chas" used to call this guy "Ubi" (pronounced back in the throat, and drawn out for a long time: "yoooooooobeeeeeeee"). sometimes chas would repeat that word for the entire 1/2 hour bus trip. it drove the poor "ubi" kid crazy. drove lots of other people crazy, too. the "ubi" kid physically resembled the stuttering guy in one flew over the cuckoo's nest. same hair, mannerisms, &c.


wonder what happened to the both of them. wouldn't it be weird to have the superpower of being able to know the answers to such questions? probably 90% of the time it would be depressing ...

Date: 6/25/99
From: Ultima

BTW, I've searched for "oobie" multitudinous times to no avail, so I think you were lying about the whole thing.

oh YEAH??

Date: Tue, 25 May 1999
From: MaDeucea
Organization: Daughters of the Proletariat Revolution
Subject: shoobi oobi

try this book, my librarian pals think it may have what you need:

Forgotten Fads and Fabulous Flops, by Paul Kirschner. it's by Rhino.

Date: 5/20/99
From: jessamyn the librarian

is THIS your card?

oobi oobi is a sacred mountain in Australia.

[NOTE: This is the sort of e-mail we used to send out to anyone who was rumored to have any information about oobi:]

Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999
To: mking
From: Deuce
Subject: quest for toys

hello --

i am truly on a quest for a toy. well, maybe it wasn't really a toy. but it seems that only my sister & i remember something called "oobi." i'm not sure i'm spelling that right. but it was an oblong orangish-red spheroid with two eyes, a slot along the top, and address lines on the back. the oh-so-sixties idea was to write a note or letter, fold it up & put it in the slot, write an address on the back, and just leave "oobi" lying around in the out of doors somewhere, where kind-hearted strangers were supposed to pick it up by chance, read the address, and help "oobi" on its way with its message.

goofy? yes.

but my sister & i will continue to think we're delusional unless we can find someone else who remembers these things . . .

any help or pointers will be greatly appreciated!


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