Bang Caps

Bang caps

George Carlin said that the problem today’s kids have is that they have to wear a helmet to do anything. When we were kids in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, we engaged in activities that would shock today’s society that is so obsessed with protecting us from ourselves.

For instance, we used to walk into the neighborhood grocery store and buy explosives.

The explosives were in the form of roll caps. The brand I saw everywhere as a child was Bang Caps.

The summer afternoon air was frequently filled with reports and smoke as we dueled with our trusty cap pistols. But after a while, we would crave louder explosions. That meant finding a hammer.

Cap missile

The roll caps would typically come 250 shots to a box. There would be five rolls of fifty each. Now sure, it was fun shooting them one at a time (and tearing off spent shots. Remember the neighborhood being littered with strips of red paper?). But boys being boys, we craved bigger, LOUDER!

So we would take an entire roll of caps, set it on a brick, and have at it with a hammer. The result would be an ear-ringing blast that would rock the neighborhood. It was as least as loud as a firecracker (which had a lot more power in those days than the wimpy glorified ladyfingers that they sell today).

There were all sorts of toys that used the caps besides pistols. I remember a rounded-nosed-missile that was made of gray metal. You slid a cap into its nose and tossed it. The heavily weighted nose would hit the ground first to produce a nice little explosion. And of course, you would cram three caps in the nose to make it louder.

I guess you can still get cap pistols, but nowadays they have to have an orange barrel to keep cops from mistaking them for the real thing and blowing a kid away. What a sad turn our society has taken.

But if you remember JFK, you can recall a time when the neighborhood rang with miniature explosions (and occasional bigger ones). It was fun, it was innocent, and it was a long time ago.

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