Top 25 "It" products of all time: #25 -- The Pet Rock


I'll never forget the day in my childhood when my father drew me aside, brought me to his dresser and showed me his pet rock. He was very proud of it. The rock was in a box, resting in comfortable nest of straw, and his new pet had come with a 36-page training manual. "There are all sorts of tricks a pet rock can do," my father said. "Like, sit, and play dead. And with a little push, it can roll."

My dad has always had a corny sense of humor, and so when Gary Dahl, then 37, began selling the pet rock in 1975, my father was a natural customer. So were a lot of people. During the summer of 1975, the pet rock became a sensation, with Dahl selling 6,000 of them a day, observed The St. Petersburg Times in 1976. The rocks were selling in stores for $4, half of which went to Dahl.

He became something of a media sensation, even winding up as a guest of Johnny Carson's on The Tonight Show.