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Christmas 'Toys' That Can Make Adults Smile

November 14, 1986|JOHN DREYFUSS | Times Staff Writer

Fanfare. Roaring crowd. Chick Hearn's unmistakable "voice of the Los Angeles Lakers" cuts in above the cheering.

The Celtics lead the Lakers by a point. Thirty seconds to go, and suddenly the game depends on you. You?

Hearn announces your name to the crowd. Coach Pat Riley orders you into the game. Hearn fires descriptive verbal salvos detailing your height, weight, nickname and alma mater.

The crowd roars as you tie up the Celts' great Danny Ainge.

Two seconds left on the clock. You grab a pass from Magic Johnson and take your best shot.

"It hits the rim!" Hearn yells. "Bounces high, bounces again on the rim, AND NOW FALLS IN THE BASKET!" The crowd goes berserk. Hearn is beside himself, "The Los Angeles Lakers win the championship behind the heroics of . . . " Hearn shouts your name.

Hearn and his sidekick Keith Erickson will record that fairy tale for you this Christmas. They'll tailor it to female or male players.

To make the recordings, Hearn and Erickson take a stock tape and plug in your starring performance along with miscellany about your vital statistics, proudest moments and a few other personal details, like the color of your socks. The 5 1/2-minute "Dream Game" audio cassette is one of the more imaginative of this year's holiday offerings. A call to the Lakers' office at the Forum in Inglewood, and $69.50, will get you one. Five percent of the price goes to the National Basketball Assn. Drug Rehabilitation Program.

The Laker tape is one of the wide-ranging choices that abound in the "toys for adults" Christmas categories this year. There also are customized yo-yos, customized cats, customized jewelry, and board games about everything from sailboats to the Jewish way of life.

You can give pedigreed rocking horses or teapots that won't pour tea, driving lessons for aspiring drag racers or neophyte chauffeurs, an $8,400 jukebox or a $10 mind bender from the inventor of Rubik's Cube.

You name it--it's out there.

Take Tom Kuhn's No Jive Yo-yos. Kuhn may be the only 43-year-old dentist in San Francisco who can work a pair of yo-yos while skateboarding down Market Street.

His Tom Kuhn Custom Yo-Yo Co. in San Francisco employs high school and college students to test each of his oiled maple yo-yos, some of which he decorates with intricate, laser-carved designs. The $20 toys come with 60 feet of spare string ("Yo-yo on stilts or out your office window"), two spare birch axles and a 32-page instruction book called "Pumping Wood."

If you're into Space Age yo-yoing, there's a "Silver Bullet" model of aircraft aluminum that comes with a leather holster for $40.

For those inclined to spend a little more than $20 or $40 on a gift, the recent Adult Toy Show sponsored by Gemini Productions at the Los Angeles Convention Center offered a plethora of exotic possibilities.

A 'Dallas' Ring

For example, at the Our Secret Creations booth, Richard Reich said anyone willing to provide his West Hollywood company with $2,800 can walk away with a man-made diamond set in a solid gold ring that duplicates the pear-shaped dazzler worn by Krystle Carrington (Linda Evans) on "Dynasty." If one's taste runs more toward "Dallas," the fan's $2,800 will purchase a copy of Miss Ellie's (Barbara Bel Geddes') engagement ring for the same price.

Across the room, Import Sales Co.'s $25,000 kiddie car drew a lot of lookers. The Tustin importer offers a "children's toy car" that is a scaled-down, hand-made aluminum replica of the Maserati race car driven to victory by world champion Juan Fangio in the 1950s. Import Sales' Sandra Weber said the Benelli motorcycle engine that powers the gleaming red, 10-foot-long Italian-made vehicle will drive it at 45 m.p.h.

If you would rather soak than speed, the show featured an exquisitely crafted, brass and hardwood bathtub. It will set you back $15,000 to get this 5x6 1/2-foot bathing beauty into your home. Former janitor/cable splicer/boat builder/race car builder/sculptor Mike Sprague designed everything from the faucet knobs to the brass claw feet on the 170-gallon tub sold by Brass Bottoms Inc. in Newport Beach.

Going back to school may appeal to food lovers given the chance to attend the Great Chefs at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. This Napa Valley classroom is a kitchen where you can spend a weekend or a week watching great French and American chefs demonstrate their skills. Then you get to eat the demonstrations in elegant surroundings.

The deluxe extravaganza costs $525 plus lodging and transportation for a weekend, and $3,100 for a week, including lodging and transportation between San Francisco and Oakville. There are also two- and three-day programs.

Ride a Rocking Horse

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