Remember when we all had six-shooters like those carried by the heroes of movie and TV Westerns? Of course, theirs were real — or at least seemed real even though we knew they were shooting blanks — and ours were smaller and made their ‘bang’ from paper rolls of caps, but we still had a lot of fun with them.
Thinking about cap guns is not something I often do, but if you’re interested in learning how my convoluted mind works, here’s how it happened. I was watching an old Fred Astaire movie and saw the scene (you might remember it) where he throws down little flashbangs as he dances. You know, the little round things that go bang when they hit the floor? Anyhow, I was remembering those from my childhood and how we’d throw them down on the sidewalk. I also remembered that we used to make our own, by wrapping a BB in tinfoil on top of a cap from a cap gun. So of course, my thoughts then turned to the cap guns I used to have.
Cap guns for kids — especially those with a cowboy look — became very popular during the post-war years and peaked in the 1960s, and I was definitely part of the crowd. I can still remember how I’d flip mine open and insert the little red paper roll of caps, and how good it felt to know I was fully loaded and ready for action. My imagination took care of the rest.
But I’ve recently discovered that the ‘safety police’ have struck again. Apparently toy guns are now required by law to have a bright orange thingy stuck onto them so that they won’t be mistaken for a real gun. Believe me when I say that I understand the reasons behind this, and it’s impossible to disagree — but there is a school of thought that says we can sometimes be so safe that nothing is left for fun.