There’s something that I’ve been in the dark about for over 20 years now: An obscure, dinky little toy that
I was fascinated with but never actually got to see. At least I think it was a toy. Honestly, I don’t know what the hell it was. Its name? The “Smoking Pet.”

When my father and I would ride up to the local Dart Drug store for Anacin, WD-40, or a good Christmas tree (Dart Drug was VERY diversified in its product selection), I would inevitably find my way to a little vending machine with goofy “cereal box prize” items for sale. One such item was the “smoking pet.” I vaguely recall a crude cartoon showing a mutant dog-type thing with a cigarette in its mouth. Quite disturbing, if you ask me. Perhaps somebody complained, for on one trip to Dart Drug in the summer of 1979, the smoking pet and his/her/its machine of bizarre junk was gone. It had been replaced with a large wooden cabinet, decorated with fierce sharks glaring at me. Hmmmm… it has a cool gun on it. Oh, neat! There are sharks and other sea creatures swimming around, and I guess you shoot at them with the gun…
“Daddy, can I have a quarter?” – Read the rest of the article here from Classic Gamer Magazine (courtesy of Old School Gamer)!

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