This iconic toy originally involved molasses and the Three Stooges.
Magic 8 Ball
The Magic 8 Ball was invented by a guy named Albert Carter. His mother, Mary, was a “professional clairvoyant” in Cincinnati; she did a trick she called the Psycho-Slate where she would write the future on a chalkboard out of view and reveal it. Albert thought he might be able to make a pocket-sized version of the trick. He used a can filled with molasses and a multi-sided die with predictions on it. In 1946, Albert sold his design for his "Syco-Seer Miracle Home Fortune Teller" to a storekeeper.
Unfortunately, Albert died before he got to see its success. It wasn’t until 1950 that the 8 ball as we know it was designed. The Brunswick Billiard Company bought the toy to make it a promotional item. A person at the company had seen a Three Stooges short where they got advice from a giant novelty 8-ball, so Brunswick wanted a giant, fortune-telling 8-ball. Of course, it was a huge success; Mattel sells a million of them a year.