Panasonic 78 and Low Grade Explosives

In my memory the TV  just seems to have appeared at the house but I don’t remember it showing up.  I’m told that the TV was still in the box when they brought it home and it was not dented from having “fallen off of a truck”.  My best guess is that it was purchased at the same discount department store we always went to, where other notable events happened, like this story.

I was thinking of that TV today.  While I don’t remember it’s arrival very well, I remember when it left the house.  A few years after buying that TV, my father carried it out of our house and placed it in my mother’s car.  My mom, my brother, my sister and I were moving out and the TV was coming with us.  Obviously we we’re all pretty broken up over this, our lives were changing forever  but since I was seven years old I had a more immediate concern:  What was I going to do when we started spending weekend at my father’s when he didn’t have a TV?*

*I mean what to do besides playing with the pet duck we inexplicably had.

The first thing I found to pass the time was Bang-Snaps, those little rolled up things that when dropped or thrown would pop.  In the summer of 1981 weekends with my father’s meant 48 hours of Fun Dip and low grade explosives.  I could not get enough of Bang Snaps even though they were pretty lame in retrospect.


Revisionism aside, to a seven year old Bang Snaps were awesome but they ran out too quickly.  To make it worse, when you ran out of snaps, there was a whole mess of powder left in the box just going to waste.  Like the great scientists before me I saw opportunity; why not get some paper and roll up some more Bang Snaps from the powder left in the box… but what kind of paper do you roll things with…?

I ran to my dad and innocently asked:

“Hey Dad, you got any rolling papers?”

My dad reached for his pocket the stopped and looked at me like he just got kicked in the groin.  I wasn’t sure what I had done but I knew it was wrong and I knew I had to get out of it.

When dad regained his composure he asked me where I learned about rolling papers.

Learn about them?  Five seconds before I just made the word up, or so I thought.  Clearly I had stumbled into a universe I wasn’t supposed to know about, just like the books under the couch.

Quick kid…find an answer…


-“Well, who taught you that?”

” m….m…Mom” (It seemed like a reasonable answer).

Well, he didn’t give me the papers and later when my mom came to get me I sat in the car alone for a long time while they talked in their outside voices. My dad got another TV shortly after that day.  Dad probably just got the TV so we could watch the Mets; the fact that we’d never have to talk about drug paraphernalia again was just a bonus.



Filed under Family

12 responses to “Panasonic 78 and Low Grade Explosives

  1. Man…if only I’d have been a resourceful with my leftover bang-snap power. I tried once lighting a trail of it on fire, but that experiment was unsuccessful.

  2. The bad kids in my neighborhood used to throw those Bang Snaps at people’s dogs while they were out walking them, to freak out the dogs.

  3. Even today, don’t we all still strive for “48 hours of Fun Dip and low grade explosives”.

    This was gold.

  4. My favorite thing about bang snaps was placing them in the hinges of the screen door, so when it closed, it closed loudly. My parents weren’t as amused by that.

  5. NovySan

    Ou BangSnaps came packaged in saw dust. We would pour an entire package into the palm of our hands, cup the the top with our other hand and gently shake, until the plume of saw dust wafting from our fingers was exhausted and only the pure, explosive grains had been separated from the chaff. The entire hand full would then be hurled to the ground, or an adjacent sibling if possible. Often I would carefully unwrap each and every little tadpole and combine the powder into one massive charge, nested in tissue paper. This ball would then hurled to the ground in emulation to the great Master Ninja, Lee Van Cleef, disappointingly producing no massive smoke billow to cover an escape from one’s enemies, but at least had a redoubt as loud as a single firecracker. Then I discovered certain contraband instruction manuals and learned to make my own pyrotechnics…but that is another story for another time.

  6. ty

    I remember those days. Thanks for drudging up those feelings:)

  7. At least you didn’t call them by their affectionate brand name, zigzags. Oh wait. That was 7-year-old ME.

  8. vintagecaveman

    I once packed four packages of bang-snaps into one of those 25 cent toy machine plastic capsules to store them.
    I accidentally dropped it and a plastic shard from the resulting explosion put a hole in the bedroom door.

    Good Times…

  9. kim

    To up the excitement level on the bangers, my brother once through them into a “ring of fire”. He unfortunately burnt down our bathroom with that little bit of genius.

  10. aliastaken

    You can buy Bang-Snaps at my local 711.

  11. Paul M.

    Guess I’m the only child from the 70s after
    seeing this and thinking about Jiffy Pop Popcorn.
    Watching the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family.

  12. We called ’em Whipper Snappers and I’ve always hated them. You can get them at the souvenir shops in Chinatown and scare people like me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s