Back in 1972, the world was introduced -- with great fanfare, I might add -- to a "game" called Bing Bang Boing by the toy company Ideal. I had Mousetrap like many kids, but it wasn't much of game. It WAS, however, a great chain-reaction machine that worked reliably. That's all I ever did with it: set it up, set it off, repeat. I think someone over at Ideal must have noticed kids doing this (Mousetrap had been around since 1963) and made a new game that did away with the board game altogether.
As you can see in this video, the set can be configured in number of different ways, making it a more flexible chain-reaction system than Mousetrap ever was. They must have used many, many sets to make the ball bearing trampoline highway toward the end of the commercial. It would have been nice if you could buy each component individually, to replace broken ones, or build out contraptions to suit your tastes. Hmmmm....toy companies: contact me.
It sounds like the names of the various parts were inspired by the names found in the books of Dr. Suess. The various mechanical parts are named the Bingo-Flinger, the Hum-Drums, the Bango-Vator, the Ficker-Ticker, and Boingo-Bucket. The designers and marketers has some fun with this one!
While you can still get Mouse Trap Mousetrap, it would be a challenge to get your hands on a complete set of Bing Bang Boing these days. I vote for bringing it back! I'll even consider a deal so the makers can say "Approved by The Automata / Automaton Blog" right on the front of the box.
As a small consolation, here is one group's effort to rebuild the game from scratch. A noble pursuit! Here are some instructions on how to make a set of ball bearing trampolines much like those seen in the game.
[ Thanks Karl! ]