Barrel of Monkeys from Lakeside (1965)

Company: Lakeside | Release date: 1965 | Where to purchase: eBay

“A barrel of fun for kids of all ages.”

Released in 1965 by Lakeside Toys, Barrel of Monkeys is a dexterity game for children ages three and up. The barrel-shaped packaging contains 12 plastic monkeys with elongated S-shaped arms. In the initial release, the simian set included three colours: four each of yellow, blue, and red monkeys.

After dumping the monkeys onto a flat surface, one or more players attempted to build a chain by hooking monkeys together via their arms. As more monkeys were interconnected, expanding the size of the chain became more challenging, requiring steady nerves and a sense of balance. A player’s turn ended when a monkey dropped from the chain, with the player that hooked the most monkeys declared the winner.

Buoyed by the success of its initial release, Lakeside also released Giant Barrel of Monkeys, which operated under the same rules but with 5-inch-tall monkeys, resulting in a full-size chain approximately 5 feet long.

Through a series of sales and mergers, Barrel of Monkeys continues to be sold by Hasbro Gaming, with toy barrels and corresponding monkey pieces sold in a variety of colours.

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