Pet Rock


Perhaps the most endearing (if not enduring) fad of the Super70s, this gem of an idea was the brainchild of an advertising executive from California named Gary Dahl.
Not content with traditional pets, which he considered too messy, costly, and misbehaved, he had taken on a clean, cheap and well-behaved rock as his pet. When told of his choice of pets, his friends first thought was that he was stoned. However, they soon agreed it was a good idea and Dahl spent a few weeks preparing a Pet Rock Training Manual.
Topics included: "How to make your Pet Rock roll-over and play dead" and "How to house-train your Pet Rock." Little did he know that fame and fortune was just a... wait for it...
stone's-throw away.

Dahl packaged the rock with his manual in a cardboard box designed to look like a pet carrying case and began selling them at $3.95 each. He introduced them at a gift show in San Francisco in August of '75 and, as an ad executive, was savvy enough to create a press release which he sent out, complete with his picture, to virtually every major media outlet. In October Newsweek carried an article on the fad and dozens of local newspapers picked up the story. Soon even staid Neiman Marcus was carrying them. Dahl's personal 15 minutes of fame culminated with an appearance on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.


Dozens of copycat rocks flooded the market (if you find one that claims to be the "Original Pet Rock," it is actually one of the copies; the one in our picture is an original) and after Christmas 1975, the fad was over. The fad lasted 6 months.

Three tons of stone from Rosarita Beach in Baja, Mexico was used to create Dahl's pets.

They always come back:
I would like to say they are gone never to return but...
Get you own Virtual Pet Rock for MAC OS!

6 comments:

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Okay, I'll say it: Earth Shoes next. Please, please, please.

Gavin Elster said...

They never really left did they? Hmm. I'll put them on my list. I'm beginning to realize how much these products have affected our lives. After watching all of THE STORY OF STUFF (thank you) This product obsession really reinforces her point.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

They will fine you or not owning at least one pair in Berkeley. The good thing about blogs is that we can share this stuff without ever actually buying it.

Bill German said...

i would rather have a pet cock

Anonymous said...

I have a pet rock named Roxanne

jimmy jam said...


Thank you all so much for creating such amazing adventures for Rocky. Bob Shea better watch out. It looks like he has some serious competition. :) can-c