Some of Don Pointer’s works, which must be acknowledged, had a particular whoopee cushion quality.
For example, there was a talking toilet, a talkative gizmo that could be hidden in the toilet. When someone sits down, the recorded voice shouts, “Move up and block the light!” Or something similar.
And there was a go-go girl drink mixer. This is a neatly dressed glass doll that spins the pelvis and stirs the cocktail.
But if some of the countless novelty items that Pointer invented and produced were on the vulgar side, he denied the subtle glow of one of his earliest and most successful, the Little Black Box. Cannot be done. Created in 1959, it was an undecorated box with a switch on top. When I activated the switch, the box vibrated a little. Then a hand emerged from it and turned off the switch.
That was it: a device whose sole purpose was to turn it off itself. At the same time, others sought to iterate through so-called useless machines, but few saw the marketing potential as clearly as Poynter.
“Rep at the New York trade fair kept asking what it did,” he told his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati alumni magazine, more than 40 years later. “I said,’I’ll do nothing but turn it off.’ Everyone thought I was crazy, but I sold it to a Spencer gift. It’s been the hottest item ever in the month. “
Later, when the TV show “Adams Haunted” appeared in 1964 with the character Thing, Poynter signed a contract to sell a variation of the box under that name. Pointer said he sold 14 million of them. Over the years, he has accumulated numerous patents and lost numbers.
Pointer, who was also a drum major, entertainer of the Harlem Globetrotters game, Puppeteer, and golf course developer in his colorful life, died in Cincinnati on August 13. He was 96 years old. His daughter Molly Pointer Moundrel said the cause was cancer.
They told the hospice center staff a very extraordinary story, as her father was clear even on his last day in a telephone interview. I urged you to call.
“I knew exactly what the social worker was asking me,” Maundrell said. “She said,’I was worried he might be hallucinating.’ And I said:’They are true. They are all true.”
Donald Byron Pointer was born on May 14, 1925 in Cincinnati. His mother, Gertrude (Johnson) Poynter, was an artist and housewife, and his father, William, was an inventor and photographer.
Youngdon showed an original source early on. Mr. Moundrel said he had told him that he had sneaked out flash powder from his father’s photographic supplies, then made small bombs and dropped them from a remote-controlled plane.
“I started trying to entertain myself, and then I found it fun to entertain others,” he told Scripps Howard News Service in 1988.
But he did it first not as an inventor, but as a radio voice actor for Cincinnati’s WLW (where young Doris Day was sometimes a castmate). He enrolled at the University of Cincinnati after graduating from Western Hills High School in Cincinnati in 1943, but joined the Army the following year, serving until 1946, sometimes entertaining fellow soldiers with magic and ventriloquism shows. rice field.
Upon returning to college, he became a drum major and caught the attention of the press with his occasional elaborate baton twirling while walking a tightrope.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing in 1949, Harlem Globetrotters realized his spinning skills and toured the world with a basketball troupe for several summers for pre-game and half-time entertainment. Provided. The darkened arena.
“His swirling baton captured British fantasies,” the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote in 1950. The newspaper said it had agreed to an approval agreement with a British company that manufactured the “Don Pointer Baton” with the instructions he wrote.
When he returned to Cincinnati during this time, he worked for John Arthur, who broadcast the children’s radio show “Big John and Sparky” nationwide. Pointer created a doll version of the elf-like sparky character Arthur took on the tour.
Pointer Products was founded in 1954. Mr. Pointer’s first blockbuster was whiskey-flavored toothpaste. This gave him enough bad publicity that he was a participant in the game show “What’s My Line?”. Another big seller announced in 1957 was his Jayne Mansfield hot water bottle. This was agreed to be raised by blonde bomb-era movie star Mansfield because of handler opposition.
“He speculated that if a hottie was made like someone worth hugging, it would sell exponentially,” said actor Eric Liberman, who works on books and documentaries about Mr. Mansfield. I mentioned in the email. “Jane Mansfield has passed the bill.”
Pointer spent a week in Hollywood with Mansfield creating a sculpture that would be used as a model for the bottle. “I could have done that in two days,” he told Cincinnati Public Radio in 2015, “But why hurry?”
Pointer used overseas factories to create the biggest sellers, but he always created the first version of the item himself. “He just had an idea and didn’t just give it to someone else,” his son Don said on the phone.
Another son, Tim, remembered that he and his three brothers would be forced into service. His Saturday often spent in the library, where his father sent him to look up directories for potential suppliers. “He would say,’This is a list of companies that have this kind of plastic or this kind of metal, I need to find,'” said Tim Pointer.
Maundrell recalled the role his mother, Mona (Castellini) Poynter, played in creating a line of fake medical specimens such as toes and noses, sold in liquid-filled test tubes.
“God loves my mother-he shaped her ears,” she said. “He had to mold her and put her head in the oven.”
Don Pointer said there was at least one reward for the efforts of the children. “We were good at show and tell at school,” he said.
Pointer’s other novelties included an incredible creeping golf ball with claw-like feet. When on the green, the golfer can use it instead of a real ball, which will walk towards the cup.
Another golf gizmo led Mr. Pointer to build a golf course, said Pat Green, who had worked with him for decades. It was a hopper filled with golf balls for use in a driving range. When the golfer hits one ball, the rubber tee automatically jumps into the hopper and fetches another ball. Pointer opened the World of Golf in Florence, Kentucky in the early 1970s just to showcase the device. It has grown into a complex in the world of sports.
Not only does the golfer save the hassle of bending over to tee up a new ball, Green said the device has the effect of forcing customers to hit more balls.
“It was a huge profit,” he said in a telephone interview. “I was able to hit 100 balls right away and was charging for a ball of 8 cents.” (A similar automatic tee-up system was used at some driving ranges like Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. It is.)
Pointer founded other golf companies, including Union’s Triple Crown Country Club, and while Green worked primarily on Pointer’s golf projects, Pointer said he would also implement his invention ideas.
“He once said,’Get out and get the black ants,'” Green said. “And I said,’What do you need black ants for?’
Of course, to power a small car he called Antmobiles.
Pointer’s son Tim eventually acquired Pointer Products and sold the business in 1992. Mr. Pointer’s wife died in 2007. In addition to his children Don, Tim and Molly, he has survived by another daughter, Amy Pointer Brewer. 10 grandchildren; and 11..