If you’ve met a 10-year-old lately, you may have discovered that most of them have no idea what a vinyl LP is. But when records ruled the world, many of us enjoyed the occasional thin plastic “Flexidisc” found on the backs of cereal boxes, sandwiched into the pages of magazines, given away as promotional materials. One of my fond memories was of a flexi tucked into a copy of Mad Magazine with four different endings — a single starter groove bifurcated into four separate playout grooves near the end of the disc; the path chosen by the needle was determined by circumstances beyond the listener’s control. National Geographic also included Flexis from time to time — sounds of men walking on the moon, or of howler monkeys doing their thing. A flexi you could cut out from the back of a Honeycomb cereal box had a song by the Jackson 5, I remember.
WFMU in New York has a cool collection, and documents some of the funkier flexis as well as some interesting novelty record players like the Mighty Tiny, which I remember a neighbor kid having. You can even hear just how frightening the Mighty Tiny sounded. This “yodeling hankies” oddity is a trip.