You couldn't fail to be excited as you watched the television advert for Domino Rally which featured several well-groomed children cheering and punching the air with uncontainable excitement as their elaborate Domino Rally set up toppled and rattled over a series of obstacles including bridges, loop-the-loops, a flight of stairs and ultimately a launch pad that catapulted a plastic rocket in the air. After watching this advert, children all over the world pestered their parents to buy them their own Domino Rally set so that they could be as joyful as the children in the adverts.
Trouble is, they didn’t show in the advert that these very same well-groomed and joyful children had spent several hours prior to the filming, laboriously setting up the hundreds of flimsy plastic dominos, one at a time, holding their breath and sticking out their tongues with the immense concentration required to prevent the dominos from falling over and occasionally starting a chain reaction that would destroys hours’ worth of work prematurely. They also didn’t show the rough edges of the dominos left over from the injection moulding process which made them inherently unstable and prone to spontaneous topplage.
If you could really be bothered to spend a gruelling and frustrating three hours setting up a Domino Rally display, you would be rewarded with a crushingly-disappointing brief display that usually resulted in the Domino Rally being packed away at the back of the toy cupboard and never played with again.
Of course, it was far easier and more entertaining to just watch the fruits of other people’s labour on television shows like Record Breakers with Roy Castle and Norris McWhirter where groups of students would set up millions of dominos in old aircraft hangars and set them off in colourful and intricate displays often recreating famous paintings, flags or scenes from around the world. Even the ‘professionals’ got it wrong though sometimes and Britain's most famous adjudicator, Norris McWhirter, mournfully recounted the tale of hundreds of thousands of dominos being accidentally toppled after a photographer dropped his light meter at a record attempt in Japan.
Unsurprisingly, Domino Rally was a rather short-lived craze thanks, in part, to the short attention span of most children. However, world record attempts for domino toppling continue to this day although if you fancy joining your local domino world record team, I'd strongly recommend you leave your Domino Rally set at home.