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Duncan Jo-Jo Special - 80G model
Exhibit #3565
ShapeStandard (-)
PackagingBubble Carded
ConstructionMulti-piece plastic
ConditionMint in Package
OwnerRick Brough

The short-lived Duncan Special Jo-Jo was branded as a Chinese flying top, sometimes also known as a diabolo but on a much smaller scale.

Interestingly, the profile of the yo-yo is very similar to many 4A off-string yo-yos of today. Little did Duncan know that they were actually years ahead of their time with the product. This innovative design let you pull the sides out to expand it for play, then collapse the sides to carry it in your pocket. Likely came out in the late 1970s or early 1980s based on the Duncan card style, the pre-printed price of $1.79, and the fact that there is a bar code on the back. Also came with a trick sheet.

Notice that the Jo-Jo has "By Flambeau" impressed in the plastic halve. The Special model was considered the High Speed model in the product line-up because of the yellow weight rings added to the outside perimeter on each halve. This unusual Duncan product line also included the Duncan Jo-Jo Imperial and the Duncan Jo-Jo Beginner.

There is an odd, urban legend-like story that continues to circulate on the internet about this unusual product. Supposedly, sales of the Jo-Jo were poor. Duncan decided to pull all the product from store shelves and have it completely destroyed. This piece of fiction has never been verified by a primary source or from Duncan/Flambeau. It makes little sense that Duncan would spend all the time, money, and resources to design, produce, market, and sell three different Jo-Jo models: the Imperial, Special, and Beginner. These designs were unlike anything Duncan had ever made before. Now consider the new tricks that had to be developed, along with the design of the trick sheet that came with each Jo-Jo. Then there is new packaging that had to be created. These are not trivial things when making a new toy line that costs time and money.

Interestingly, Duncan created new packaging for the Jo-Jo Imperial a year or two later, after the initial release of the Jo-Jo Imperial. That alone suggests that the Jo-Jo (at least the Imperial version) sold reasonably well. It also helps explain why Duncan Jo-Jos still occasionally show up on eBay, still in their original packaging after all these years.

What certainly does not make sense is that Duncan, outraged by poor sales of the Jo-Jo, would remove all product from store shelves and have it completely destroyed ("That'll teach'em!"). That kind of rationale and thinking makes no sense.

If you have a primary source to verify the history of this short-lived product line, let us know.
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