The original “Tall Boy” was invented by artists Peter Minshall (Trinidad) and Doron Gazit (Israel) for the 1996 summer Olympics. Minshall delighted in similarity between the dancing of the Tall Boy and that of his countrymen in Trinidad.
After the Olympics, Gazit, seeing other people copying the design, patented the idea and sold it to companies who would manufacture and sell the dancers.
AirDancers® debuted in 1999 with the purpose of driving sales for all sorts of businesses. Folks mostly associate the AirDancers with car dealerships. Other names for this and similar products are Tube Men, Sky Dancers, and Air Rangers, who are used quite effectively as scarecrows.
On May 21, 2006, Family Guy aired an episode titled “Bango Was His Name-O” which featured the “Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men” as sold by the character Al Harrington.
They were referenced again in the Star Wars spoof episode, which aired on September 23, 2007.
A 2008 ordinance in Houston banned Tube Men, claiming that the product “contributes to urban visual clutter and blight and adversely affects the aesthetic environment and the safety and quality of life for the community and the citizens of the city.”