Gary Dahl, Pet Rock Inventor, Dies at 78 (Report)

gary dahl - H 2015
AP Images

gary dahl - H 2015

Gary Dahl, the mastermind who invented the Pet Rock, has died.

His wife told The New York Times that Dahl died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on March 28 in Jacksonville, Ore. He was 78.

Dahl, who published Advertising for Dummies in 2001, reportedly came up with the idea for the Pet Rock during a conversation with a friend in the mid-1970s. They were in a bar, complaining about the work involved in caring for a pet.

According to the Times, Dahl joked that his pet caused him no such trouble, saying: "I have a pet rock."

Inspired by the idea, Dahl set to work creating the Pet Rock, and by Christmas 1975, it was the must-have gift of the holiday season. In a matter of months, Dahl reportedly sold 1.5 million rocks, altogether weighing more than 2 tons.

The primary reason for the rocks' success widely is believed to have been its packaging: Each Pet Rock came in a cardboard box, complete with air holes and its own little nest.

"People are so damn bored, tired of all their problems," Dahl told People in 1975. "This takes them on a fantasy trip — you might say we've packaged a sense of humor."

After Dahl became a near-instant millionaire, he reportedly opened a saloon and ran a sailboat brokerage before going back to his old advertising career.

Dahl is survived by his third wife, a sister, four children and seven grandchildren.