Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Twister was a big hit at parties during my childhood. It is a silly, fast paced game. You have a vinyl mat on the floor with big colorful spots. Players use the spinner (as seen below) and then put their hand or foot on the corresponding spot. This is easy the first spin, and gets more difficult with each additional spin as you reach across the mat for the other colorful spots -- especially with other players on the vinyl mat as well.
Twister was created by Reyn Winsor Guyer, who had a family company that made store displays for Fortune 500 companies. Guyer envisioned the game as a Back to School display for Johnson's shoe polish. Johnson's turned the idea down. He then created "Kings Footsie" and showed it to 3M, who rejected the board game. Guyer then collaborated with Charles Foley, a salesman, and Chuck Rabens, an artist, to work on the game further. It eventually became Pretzel.
The game evolved and was produced as Twister by Milton Bradley. It became instantly popular when introduced on The Tonight Show by Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor in 1966.
There was a controversy because Twister was accused of being "sex in a box," but it was marketed as a fun, family game (as I remember it from childhood). Over 3 million games sold the first year. In 1967 Twister was awarded the title of Game of the Year. There was a lawsuit between the three creators of the game (Foley and Rabens vs. Guyer), but it was settled out of court.
In 1985 Hasbro merged with Milton Bradley, and the game is now produced by Hasbro. There were a number of Twister variations produced since 2000, including Twister Moves, Twister Dance, Twister Scram, Twister Hopscotch, Twister Hoopla, Twister Dance Rave (promoted by Britney Spears), and Twister Rave Skip-It.
A few fun facts about Twister:
Reyn Winsor Guyer went on to create the Nerf Ball in 1969.
The biggest ever Twister board was 171 ft 1 in x 140 ft 1 in in the Netherlands in 2011.
Twister instructions are available for color blind players. There is also a version available for blind players.
65 million people have played Twister over the years.
Here is the original 1966 Twister commercial:
Do you remember Twister? I'd love to read your memories in the comments section, below.