呼拉圈的来历

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(以下摘自威廉·曼切斯特的《光荣与梦想:1932--1972年美国实录》,中译采用商务印书馆1979版。)

Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin, co-owners of an enterprise called the Wham-o Manufacturing Company, had started making slingshots after World War II with less than $1,000 capital.

理查德·内尔和阿瑟·梅林是一家名叫惠姆--奥制造公司的合伙老板,在二次大战后,以不到一千元 的资金开始制造弹弓。

In 1957 they had racked up their first big score with Frisbees, light plastic saucers which could be skimmed slowly through the air from one thrower to another.

他们第一次赚大钱是在1957年制造弗里兹比。弗里兹比是一种轻巧的塑料盘,一个人扔给另一个人时,它会在空中慢慢飘滑过去。

At a New York toy fair in March 1958 an acquaintance told them that large wooden hoops had achieved swift and startling popularity in Australia;

1958年3月,在纽约的一次玩具博览会上,有个熟人告诉他们,有一种大木圈很快在澳大利亚到处流行,

children rotated them on their hips.

孩子把它套在屁股上转着玩。

Back at Wham-o, Knerr and Melin went into production with wooden hoops.

回到公司后,内尔和梅林便开始制造木圈。

After twenty or so they stopped; they didn't like wood and wanted to experiment with plastics.

但做了二十来个,就停下了。他们不喜欢木头的,想用塑料来试一试。

In May they had what they wanted: three-foot hoops of gaudy polyethylene tubing which could be marketed at ninety-three cents each, representing a 16 percent gross profit.

到5月,他们做出了符合他们要求的东西,他们用花花绿 绿的聚乙烯管做成三英尺大的圈,每只售价九角三分,可得毛利16%。

Wham-o's new toy was christened the hula hoop.

惠姆-奥公司的这种 新玩具定名为呼拉圈。

Patenting the hoops was impossible and by Labor Day a dozen other firms were turning out imitations under other trademarks.

要取得这种玩具的专利权是不可能的,到劳工节时,便已有十多家公司依样仿制,另立商标出售。

Even so, by early September Wham-o had sold two million hula hoops for a net profit of over $300,000.

即使如此,惠姆--奥公司到9月初仍售出两百万个呼拉圈,获得纯利三十多万美元 。

Then adults started using them for calisthenics.

接着,成年人也开始用呼拉圈来锻炼身体。

Wham0's bookkeeper couldn't keep up with the production figures.

生产数量激增,惠姆-奥公司的会计忙得不可开交。

Workers went into three shifts.

工人开始实行三班制。

Counting the copiers at home and abroad, hula hoop sales that autumn were reckoned in the tens of millions.

这年秋天,若把国内外的仿制品通通计算在内,呼拉圈的总销售 量估计有几千万个。

So widespread was their use that European medical journals warned of injuries which might be sustained by enthusiasts.

使用的人多得使欧洲的医学刊物纷纷发出警告,谨防因过度激烈而损伤身体。

It was a long list.


实际受伤的例子非常多。

In Leiden, Holland, a Dutch woman was being wheeled into surgery for removal of her appendix when her physician found that what was really wrong with her was a torn abdominal muscle, the result of strenuous gyrations inside a hoop.

在荷兰的莱登,有个荷兰妇女被送往外科手术室去割除阑尾,但经医生检查,发现她的病实际上是腹肌受到损伤,而这完全是因为套上呼拉圈旋转过猛引起的。

In England, where a quarter-million hulas had been sold, the British Medical Association cautioned, "No one with a known heart disease should try it, and anyone who is out of training should not go hard at it right away."

在英国,呼拉圈的销售量达到25万个,英国医学会发出警告说:"凡是已发现 有心脏病的人都不能玩呼拉圈,凡是缺乏训练的人都不能一开始就玩得太猛。"

Japanese emergency wards were filling up with hoopers suffering from slipped discs and dislocated backbones.

在日本,医院急诊室里挤满了因玩呼拉圈而引起腰间盘脱出和脊椎骨错位的病人。

After a child was killed chasing a runaway hula the hoops were banned from Tokyo streets.

有一次,一个孩子在东京街上因追赶一个滚跑的呼拉圈被车轧死,从此就严禁在街上玩呼拉圈。

Nevertheless sales there passed the three million mark.

尽管如此,东京 呼拉圈的销售量还是超过了三百万个。

Lines of Japanese waiting to buy more stretched down the Ginza for blocks, and Premier Nobusuke Kishi received one as a gift on his sixty-second birthday.

而且还有许多日本人排长队等候购买呼拉圈,队伍在银座一带长达几个街口。岸信介首相62岁寿辰的时候,竟收到一个呼拉圈礼物。

Queen Mother Zaine of Jordan, returning from a visit to Europe, included a hula in her luggage.

约旦的扎伊奈太后旅欧返国时,行李中也装着一个呼拉圈,

That should have been a guarantee of respectability, but some toy makers were nervous just the same.

按说这已足以证明呼拉圈并非不正当的玩意儿。可是,有些玩具制造商仍不免心情紧张。

One of hooping's attractions for adult spectators was its suggestiveness on some hips.

成年人所以愿意观看别人玩呼拉圈 ,是因为有些人屁股的扭动颇富诱惑性。

An unexpected pleasure at football games that autumn was a view of winsome drum majorettes pumping their loins in a frenzy of excitement as thousands cheered.

那年秋天,每当举行橄榄球赛时,常出现一种意想不到的乐事:那就是观看迷人的乐队女队长发狂般地扭动着自己的腰部,引得成千上万的观众欢叫不已。

A French manufacturer of hoops, Jacques de Saint-Phalle, was afraid the church might notice and object.

在法国,有个名叫雅克·德·圣-法尔的呼拉圈制造商,深恐会引起教会的注意和反对。

Saint-Phalle had a reputation to safeguard; in hoopless times he made his living manufacturing plastic tubing for hospitals and laboratories.

他不愿丢失过去的好名声,因为在呼拉圈出现以前,他一直靠为医院和实验室制造塑料管为生。

To protect himself he persuaded French celebrities to be photographed hooping.

现在为了自卫,他设法让法国名流都戴上呼拉圈拍照。

Finland solved the same problem by staging marathons in which participants had to keep three hulas going, at the neck, hips, and knees.

在芬兰,解决这个问题的办法是在舞台上举办呼拉圈持久比赛,参加者要长时间同时转动环绕在颈部、臀部和膝 部的三个呼拉圈。

Elsewhere the American fad swept on, whatever watchers with coarse minds thought.

不管看的人会有什么样下流的想法,这种美国新玩意儿在其他国家照样十分风行。

In Germany it was popularized by the prizefighter Max Schmeling and his wife Anny Ondra.

在德国, 使呼拉圈获得推广的是职业拳击家马克斯·施梅林和他的妻子安妮·昂德拉。

Germans who had no children, and therefore no easy explanation for buying toys, avoided embarrassment by having stores deliver them, wrapped, at night.

没有孩子的德国人要买玩具总有点说不过去,为了避免让人看见,他们请商店把货包好,在夜间送到家里去。

A party of Belgian explorers leaving for the South Pole disclosed that twenty hoops were in their baggage; the expense was charged to morale.

一支比利时探险队出发去南极时,在他们的行装里也有20个呼拉圈,这笔钱是作为文娱费用开支的。

In some countries hoop shortages were serious.

在某些国家,呼拉圈供不应求的现象很严重。

Correspondents in Johannesburg, where hulas were retailing at sixty-five cents, reported that only white customers could afford them; the natives were restless until charitable organizations started distributing free hoops.

在约翰内斯堡,一个呼拉圈卖六角五分,记者报道说,这只有白人顾客才买得起;当地土人未免十分眼热,后来慈善机构 只好免费供应。

Het Vrije Volk of Amsterdam noted that Dutch industries requiring plastic tubing were at a standstill, and in Warsaw a weekly newspaper for young Poles observed, "If the Ministry of Light Industry and the Chamber of Artisans do not embark upon the production of hoops, we will be seriously delayed in hula hoop progress, especially on the international level."

阿姆斯特丹的《自由人民报》指出,荷兰需用塑料管的其他工业已陷于停顿 ;而在华沙,一家为青年办的周报竟谈到:"如果轻工业部和手工业局还不开始生产呼拉圈 ,我们在这方面的进展,特别从国际范围来看,就将大大落后了。"

The ministry and the chamber continued to be dilatory, so hulas were smuggled in through East Germany.

这两个部门仍然拖拖拉拉,于是呼拉圈就通过东德走私进来。

The craze receded as quickly as it had spread.

呼拉圈热来得快,去得也快。

By the summer of 1959 discarded hoops had begun to pile up in city dumps, but the rage had been a singular illustration of how great a grasp even the trivia of American mass culture had on the rest of the world.

到1959年夏,许多城市的垃圾场上都堆满了丢弃的呼拉圈。但不管怎样,从这种狂热完全可以看出,美国群众文化生活中即使一件微不足道的小事,对世界其他地方都会有多么巨大的影响。

(完)



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