“Takes and develops real photos!”
In 1968, Ideal released Kookie Kamera, a working, bellows-type instant camera that was simple enough for children to operate.
Junior shutterbugs framed their shots by looking through the “bloodshot eye” (really the viewfinder), pressuring the shutterbug to generate an exposure, and twisting the cranker knob to advance the film into an attached developer tank. The fully-assembled camera was mounted on a drain pipe emerging from a manhole cover.
The developer tank was filled with a special non-toxic chemical called Kookie Developer. A three-minute timer indicated when the print had sat long enough in the developer fluid to be removed and rinsed for viewing. The resulting photos were black-and-white and roughly 2-inches by 2-inches in size. Each print had a white area on the bottom that could be trimmed off or used to add notes.
Kookie Kamera worked for indoor and outdoor photos thanks to a “flash cube” light that could be attached to the camera for low-light situations.
To add a bit of fun to their shots, kids could incorporate Kookie props and Kookie disguises included in the set, such as a stick-on mustache, hats, a mirror that produced funhouse distortion effects, and a two-sided body poster cut-out with a muscle man on one side and a bathing beauty on the other.
An eight-picture roll of film was included with each Kookie Kamera and Ideal sold refills separately both in-store and via mail.