A Whale of A Time

Waterful Whale Toy - Doodlewash

Today’s super fast doodlewash of a little thing (crazy busy day!) is another super fun retro toy, although likely not quite as magical as yesterday’s View-Master. This is just one example of the many Tomy Waterful games, where you push a button and air blows all the contents inside around while you desperately try to get all the little balls or rings in their proper place. These were popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s, so I was right in the sweet spot for the launch of these things and ended up with several of them. I also have a soft spot for this infuriating whale and a love hate relationship that continues to this day.

The goal of this game is to get the little balls inside the whale, without making him tip over and well… lose his balls. Looking back, this was sort of weird. To play, you press the button just so and try to get a measured air flow that will gently let each ball float up and around, hopefully landing in the little whale’s blow hole. Yeah, definitely weird. Actually completing this quest, was nearly impossible and much more difficult to master than the Rubik’s Cube. That I completed twice. I still never mastered this insidious contraption.

But I love these toys! So much fun in something that doesn’t even require batteries or have music and flashing lights. You did have to actually add more water into the tank as it would mysteriously evaporate even though it seemed so perfectly sealed. And it got sort of gross, even without the live fish inside. It was still super sad to see the little plastic whale with barely enough space to float when I would inevitably forget to take proper care of him. Luckily, I became a much better parent later in life when I actually acquired a dog. But I think dogs are lower maintenance than this guy and I could at least figure out how their games were meant to be played.

I often find myself wanting to check out eBay in search of some of these toys from my youth. The world seems to have gotten busier and somehow more complex. These little things take me back to take that felt simpler somehow. Perhaps is was just because I was a kid and didn’t know what adult problems would be like. Either way, it’s nice sometimes to journey back to a time when all you had to worry about was getting your favorite cereal on Saturday morning and taking care of a tiny little plastic whale.


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, Ultramarine Blue, Azo Orange, Azo Yellow, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
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44 Comments
  1. Jodi 2 years ago

    I am loving this month’s theme! You are recalling things I have forgotten, but that make me smile when you cause me to recall. But Mr. Charlie O – you make me mad with jealousy when you say it was a quick one and you have created magic with your art! 🙂 xo

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much Jodi! ❤️😃 Happy for the memories and didn’t mean to make you mad! 😳hehe… this one just felt rushed to me. I wasn’t sure if I could even sneak one in as today was crazy busy! 😊

  2. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    I have always wanted one of those toys!! And I agree with Jodi about you making magic! 👍🏽💕

    • Author

      Awww thanks Teresa!! ❤️😃 You should get one!! I was just looking at other ones on eBay! 😊 But I’m going to get one. I have my heart set on a vintage View-Master I found. Lol

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        My hubby might strangle you for even putting the thought in my head…hahaha! Kidding; he’s non-violent. 😉 He will, however, be very annoyed. We’re trying to declutter, not collect more stuff. 😄

      • Author

        Hehe…I get that a lot actually. I’m an instigator!! 😊lol

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        😁

  3. Kari 2 years ago

    Another toy I’ve never played with! I was clearly deprived as a child! Your doodlewash is so expressive! It makes me want to play! Thank you for including the colors!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! And we need to fix this!! If we hit three there will clearly be a problem and you must buy at least one and play!! Hehe😉 And you’re welcome on the colors. I almost forgot with this post and went back and added them. Trying to list materials for all my posts this year.

  4. Jacob 2 years ago

    Awesome! When I first saw this, I thought it was another trip to the world of Sea-Monkeys, as the ones we had lived in a container a little like that.

    But what a blast from the past this is indeed. I’m an early 90s kid but my siblings were 70s/80s, so I got lots of their leftover toys, which included some of these. I also remember one which was cylindrical in shape, but can’t remember if the goal was the same or different, I just remember hitting that big white button. We also had similar cylindrical 3D maze-style games like it, I’m sure. I never came close to solving any, but loved trying! Indeed with the abject failure, it was even more like a miniature version of The Crystal Maze than I first thought. (Incidentally, I never came close to completing the Rubik’s Cube!)

    I should just say (if I haven’t already) how wonderful this series has been so far – so so much fun, bringing back such nice memories and the perfect antidote to the January blues. I hope it’s doing the same for you! Love it <3

    • Author

      Ohhh! Sea-Monkeys did come in a container like this! With little magnifying glass bumps so you could pretend to actually see anything!! Hehe And yep! There were smaller cylindrical ones too, but I think those came later. And I remember the maze games as well. Hehe…so many cool gadgets back. I think that’s why retro toys keep coming back. Nice break from an iPad every once in awhile. So happy you like this series! It’s random as usual, so who knows what’s next, but I am having fun!! 😃😃

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        Oh, the toys were the coolest back then. I feel so old when I find myself disapproving of young kids playing with touch screens or weird overly-complex gizmos I’ve not heard of. Humbug!

      • Author

        As long as they try something like this as well then it’s cool I guess. But then they get to have everything!! Spoiled brats! Humbug! Lol

      • Jacob 2 years ago

        Haha, yes, the real reason I disapprove is because I just want to be the one playing with toys on the bus or wherever it is!

  5. kirkistan 2 years ago

    I love the colors you come up with.

  6. Wow more memories you bring back! I get to play at the dentist’s lol. 💛. Really beautiful job, Charlie!

  7. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    You’ve got a good memory for the quirky kids toys. My youngest brother had one of these toys. A very cool doodlewash depiction. Thanks for the laughs Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon!! 💕😃 I can remember all my toys, but will forget the name of the kid who lived next door. I think my priorities were a little off. 😊

  8. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    I think it’s wonderful that you are so young at heart Charlie! 💖💕 I didn’t have one of these toys but I still remember playing with them. Looks like you had a “whale” of a good time doodlewashing it! Hehe! 😜👍 I have kept some of my old toys that maybe I should try drawing or painting. You inspire me friend! 😍🌟😍

    • Author

      Thanks so much Jill!! 💕😃 and that’s awesome! You totally should! Would love to see them! I also still have all my original Star Wars actions figures in a bin in the garage. The kid in me won’t let me get rid of some things. 😊😊hehe

  9. brad young's art 2 years ago

    I loved that toy! Still do, would spend a lot of time manipulating the air speed so as not to disrupt the ones that had found the finished place. Ha! But unfortunately these have probably been banned from children today because they are too dangerous…very cool sketch!

    • Author

      Thanks Brad!! And yay! It was super fun wasn’t it? And I think these might have survived all the bans. Can’t say the same for click clacks and lawn darts, sadly. Lol

  10. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Wow, I missed these. Must have been after my childhood and before my children. Life was definitely simpler before computers. Even adulthood. (K)

    • Author

      Yeah, life was fun in the simpler days for sure. These toys were sort of magical as they were so clever and unexpected. Didn’t even need a licensed property, though a Pac-Mac version did crop up which I also had! 😊

  11. Carmel Campbell 2 years ago

    I have never seen this toy before but then again I grew up in Australia. Great color as always. Looks like a fun toy!

  12. Teri C 2 years ago

    (Blushing). I’m not even familiar with this toy…..but look at all the fun I missed. Love the sketch!

  13. Susan Feniak 2 years ago

    Hey, as soon as I saw this doodlewash Charlie I said to myself, “Oh I remember those!”. I am too ancient to have had one when I was little but my kids had them. Believe me I played with them and the toys!! 🙂

  14. Cathe 2 years ago

    Ooh another great rendered toy! I remember these but I didn’t have one. I think It came after my serious toy phase, how can that be. Nice to read everyone’s memories of these!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe!! 💕😃These were sooooo infuriating really, so you may have dodged a bullet here. Didn’t stop me from trying again and again though! Lol

  15. I loved this toy when I was a kid! Mine had little rings that you had to get on tiny posts. I used to spend forever trying to get those rings in the right place! And it was FUN! Thanks for triggering some great memories! 🙂

    • Author

      Awwww so cool this brought back great memories! Thanks, Kathrina! Yep…I had the ring one as well and it was sooooo hard to do! Lol 😳

  16. Thomas 2 years ago

    great ! you can see more a blog of Tomy water gammes on this webste :
    http://tomywatergames.blogspot.com
    Just for memories…

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