Hug-a-World

The educational toy shown is a Hugg-a-Planet, a globe of the world made into a soft squashy comfort pillow. They have been manufactured since 1982.

Rory says this is dirty old faded childhood toy has been in the garage for years, but we saw it, looking new and clean, in the living room in “A Tisket-a-Tasket”. I suppose it’s possible she bought a new “Hug-a-World” in the meantime, but then why does she want to wash and keep the old one?

OzzFest

RORY: It was a bat, wasn’t it?
LORELAI: Wearing an OzzFest T-shirt, I believe.

Ozzfest, music festival tour of the US (sometimes Europe and later Japan), featuring performances by heavy metal and hard rock musical groups. It was founded by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and was held almost annually between 1996 and 2018 before being revived in 2022. Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath played the tour several times over the years.

At the most recent OzzFest relative to this episode, the tour was in Hartford on July 13. As Lorelai is a heavy metal fan, and at a very loose end over the summer, is it possible she went to it, and really does have a tee-shirt? Or, if she meant the bat was wearing a tee shirt already in the garage, she (and maybe Rory) could have gone to OzzFest 1999 [1999 tee shirt pictured], which was in Hartford on June 19. If so, it means Lorelai bought her Jeep later that year.

Lorelai connects a bat to the OzzFest musical festival because in 1982, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat at a concert in Des Moines. Stories vary as to whether the bat was alive, dead, or made of rubber, but Osbourne said the bat was alive, and gave him rabies. In 2019 Osbourne commemorated the anniversary of the bat incident by offering a toy bat with detachable head for sale on his personal web-store. The site claimed the first batch of toys sold out within hours.

Cootie Catcher

[Lorelai displays the cootie catcher she’s just made]
LORELAI: Pick a color.

A cootie catcher is a folded paper fortune teller used in children’s games. Parts of the fortune teller are labelled with colors or numbers that serve as options for a player to choose from, and on the inside are eight flaps, each concealing a message.

The person operating the fortune teller manipulates the device based on the choices made by the player, and finally one of the hidden messages is revealed. These messages may purport to answer questions or they may be activities that the player must perform.

Used throughout Europe, some say since the 17th century, these paper fortune tellers have been popular in the US since the 1950s, especially with girls.

Trivial Pursuit

DORIS: I would’ve found you sooner if I had bothered to look, but now I have, I found you, and all I can say is this – I want my board games back! I want them back and I want them back now! And I will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth until I get them back – especially the Trivial Pursuit!

Trivial Pursuit, a board game in which winning is determined by a player’s ability to answer general knowledge and popular culture questions in different categories, collecting wedges for each category until the playing piece is full. It was created in 1979 by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott in Montreal, Canada, and released in 1981. It was one of the most popular games of the 1980s.

Incidentally, the fact that Doris has tracked Dwight down may explain why we never see him again. Doris may have forced him to return home, or demanded that he sell the house in Stars Hollow as it is a joint asset. Or maybe he just went on the run again to escape from her. Either way, there’s nothing to say that he remained living in Stars Hollow, although no real proof that he ever left.

Yo-yo

EMILY: With the dot-com bust and the job market dwindling and the stock market going up and down like a yo-yo …

A yo-yo is a toy which is basically a spool on a long string, which can be wound up and down and spun in different directions. They have been used as a toy, aparently since ancient Greece at least. In the US, the Yo-yo Manufacturing Plant was opened in Santa Barbara in 1928 by Filipino immigrant Pedro Flores – the word yo-yo itself comes from the Phillipines. The company was bought by Donald F. Duncan in 1932.

Yo-yos were popular toys in the 1930s, but sales declined after World War II, leading Duncan to launch a comeback campaign in the 1960s. They grew popular again during the 1970s and 1980s, and hit their peak in the late 1990s.

Frisbee

JESS: Can we talk about this later?

LUKE: Why, you got a big Frisbee heist going down at six?

A Frisbee is a gliding toy made from moulded plastic that can be used in catching and throwing games. They were invented by Walter Morrison, who got the idea in 1937 when he and his future wife were tossing cake pan back and forth to each other on a beach, when someone offered it to buy it for five times its value.

The first aerodynamically improved plastic discs were manufactured in 1948 by Morrison and his business partner, Warren Francioni and sold as the Whirlo-Way (named after a famous racehorse), then the Flying Saucer, then the Pluto Platter.

In 1957, Morrison sold the rights to Wham-O, whose co-founders Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin called the disc a Frisbee, after the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Frisbie supplied pies to Yale University, and students would throw empty pie tins to each other in a game they called Frisby.

The Frisbee’s real success came in 1964, when Wham-O’s vice president of marketing, Ed Headricks, redesigned the Frisbee to make it more accurate, and promoted it as an organised sport. When Headrick died, he was cremated and his ashes moulded into memorial discs. The Frisbee was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.