2015 Toy Hall of Fame Inductees
The 2015 Hall of Fame inductees for the Toy Hall of Fame have been announced, and being enshrined are Twister, the Super Soaker and the "Puppet". Also considered, but not selected were American Girl Dolls, Battleship, coloring book, Jenga, PLAYMOBIL, scooter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, top, and Wiffle Ball
Twister, the great party game! Who hasn't played it? Right hand red, left foot blue. Twisting and turning and bodies stretching and colliding as you try and stay off the mat.
In 1964 toy inventor Reyn Guyer conceived a shoe polish promotion as a game on a colored mat, with people serving as the playing pieces. Guyer hired two salesmen to help him with the development of the game, and the three devised a version they called Pretzel. They took the idea to the Milton Bradley Company, which saw promise, and the men received a patent for the design. The company changed the name of the game to Twister. Then Sears Roebuck and Company refused to carry the seemingly racy game in its 1966 catalog, so Milton Bradley cancelled production. A public relations firm had already placed Twister in the lineup for Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show though, and no one received word of the cancellation. Carson and actress Eva Gabor played the game to the delight of millions of viewers, and Twister went on to sell more than three million copies in 1967.
Some saw Twister as a passing fad, but large-scale Twister matches, popular on college campuses in the 1980s, boosted sales,” says Curator Nic Ricketts. “And increasingly, Twister found favor among very young children. Candy Land-like simplicity of play—just know your colors—and an inexpensive price keeps Twister on many families’ toy shelves.”
Super soaker- There were summers when we went through 4 or 5 of them when my children were little. I loved having super soaker battles in the middle of the summer. I used to go into the dunk at the Abraham Lincoln School in Bangor, and I would always bring my super soaker. As the kids would throw the balls and try to dunk me, I would lay down a stream of water at their feet taunting them! Then, if they ran up and pressed the button, I'd soak them too!
The Super Soaker story began in the early 1980s, when Dr. Lonnie Johnson, a Tuskegee Institute-trained mechanical and nuclear engineer, was working on NASA's Galileo Mission to Jupiter. At night, Johnson was working on his own project—a new heat pump that replaced Freon with environmentally friendly pressurized water vapor. Tinkering with the pump's design at home, Johnson hooked the nozzle up to his bathroom faucet. The steady stream that shot across the room gave Johnson an idea for a high-powered water blaster. From PVC pipe and an empty soda bottle, he improvised a model that featured an air pressure chamber and a water reservoir. Johnson later enlarged the tank and moved it to the top of the blaster, making the prototype look even more like a prop in a science fiction movie. In 1990 Johnson worked out a deal with Larami Corporation, a maker of inexpensive plastic toys and action figures, to produce his invention. Larami’s aggressive advertising sold 27 million Super Soakers at $10 each in the first three years of production.
The Puppet - Who hasn't played with a puppet? Whether it be a character or just a sock, a puppet relies on your imagination!
The puppet appeared thousands of years ago and in nearly every culture—including across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Plato and Aristotle wrote of puppets, and ancient puppeteers presented the Iliad and the Odyssey using figures made of clay and ivory. Early Chinese and Japanese puppeteers fashioned miniature figures for religious ceremonies and the telling of folktales and epic stories of gods and heroes. In Europe, the Christian church used puppets to present morality plays. Eventually puppet theater included secular stories and comedies, and puppetry became a popular form of rowdy entertainment at carnivals, fairs, and market gatherings. Europeans brought puppets to the New World, and the playful figures entertained Americans in street theaters and later in vaudeville houses and on public stages across the country. In the 20th century, television spread the popularity of puppets among children and adults and produced some beloved American icons.