Anyone living in suburbia in the 70’s and 80’s can’t possibly forget Jarts. For those of you too young to remember, Jarts were also know as Lawn Darts, heavy metal sharp pointed aerodynamic projectiles intended to be thown high up in the air so that they stick in the ground inside a ring target, for which the thrower earns points. Miss the target and you still have a chance since the throw that lands closest to the ring gets points. No extra points are awarded for impaling a bystander unless the bystander happens to be the closest throw to the ring. I’m guessing points are awarded based on where the bystander was struck, not their final resting place should they stumble around before falling over from blood loss, but to be safe, see the full set of official rules at the 2008 Jarts Tournemant home page.
We had a set growing up and would frequently toss them around the backyard, not so much playing by the rules (which are similar to horseshoes), but instead throwing them hard into the ground, getting them to stick in trees, etc. Typical pre-teen kids stuff in a suburban neighborhood. Luckily no one was ever hurt at our house, but around the country three children were killed, and countless people injured. There are even stories around a gang murder involving Jarts in 1980, but I’ve been unable to find any hard evidence to back it up (please enlighten us if you have some substance here).
The CSPC officially banned Lawn Dart manufacture, sale, and resale in 1988, and urged all existing darts be destroyed, by way of this helpful graphic. Note the blood red outline around the foremost Jart and the dual-wielding kid in the orange shoes:
Flash forward 20 years. Apparently 35 sets of Lawn Darts had snuck into the good old USA through the nefarious smuggling operation known as Hammacher Schlemmer Online.
If you happen to be one of the lucky 35 people to have ordered and received the darts, please contact us as soon as possible, as we’d love to interview you!
The details of this Oct 2008 20th anniversary Lawn Dart recall can be found at the CPSC website.