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Ant farm mania

Ant farm mania — The creepy crawly colonies are big after regaining notoriety on ”The Wonder Years” and ”Pee-wee’s Playhouse’

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Although most kid-stuff retailers reported their worst Christmas sales in years, American parents still dug the Ant Farm enough to ante up $10 or $20 each for 500,000 of the entertaining insect colonies last year. No doubt inspired partly by 1990 episodes of The Wonder Years, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and Alf that featured the guaranteed escape-proof green plastic terrariums, ”swarms of baby boomers who grew up with Ant Farms bought them for their kids,” says Steven Levine, president of Uncle Milton Industries, their California manufacturer. Invented in 1956 by ”Uncle Milty” Levine (Steven’s dad, above), the pastoral little bug-houses have older owners, too, like Dick Clark, Sally Field, Henny Youngman, and Linda Ronstadt.