Consisting of a colourful mat and a spinner, where you end up contorted into impossible shapes, Twister is a game that most of us have played – but when was it released, and what’s it’s story? Well, alright, you’ve convinced me, I’ll tell you…
1) Twister was originally called Pretzel
In 1964, toy designer Charles Foley had the idea of a mat game with coloured dots, where people were the playing pieces. Neil Rabens added the idea of using a spinner, which would determine which coloured dots the players would have to land their hands and feet on. This, of course, would cause entanglement between players, and eventually people would fall; eliminating them from the game!
The game we know and love as Twister was born. Only, that’s not the name they had in mind. They applied for patents under the name Pretzel, since they figured that’s what players would end up looking like.
2) The first tagline was ‘The game that ties you up in knots’
In 1965, Foley presented Pretzel to Mel Taft; the vice president of Milton Bradley, which was one of the biggest manufacturers of board games in the world. Mel loved it, and Milton Bradley took on the game.
However, the name Pretzel wasn’t available when it came to trademarking the game, so MB opted to call it Twister instead, with the tagline, ‘The game that ties you up in knots.’
3) Stores boycotted the game, calling it ‘sex in a box’
Milton Bradley found out that a number of retailers were refusing to stock the game, calling it ‘sex in a box,’ which threatened their family-friendly appearance and caused Milton Bradley to plan to abandon the game and pull it from shelves.
4) Johnny Carson helped secure Twister’s success
Milton Bradley paid to have Twister appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, which was one of the biggest TV Shows in America at the team. Carson himself was coaxed into playing the game by actress Eva Gabor.
5) Abercrombie and Fitch profited from not boycotting the game
The day after Twister appeared on The Tonight Show, people flocked to the shops to pick up their copy. Abercrombie and Fitch, which was one of the only shops not to boycott the game, had a queue of 50 people waiting outside.
6) Twister sold 3 million copies in its first year
In the 12 months after the game appeared on Johnny Carson, it sold 3 million units, making the game a huge hit!
7) The world’s largest Twister mat measured 2521 sqm
On September 23rd 2015, Thomas Rhett , which took place at the Belchertown High School. On the football field, all 1008 were joined together to create the world’s largest twister mat! 21
8) National Toy Hall of Fame
In 2015, Twister was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Buy yourself a Twister board
If all this talk of Twister has made you fancy a game of the classic twist-em-up, just click the link below!
Get it here: Twister, £18.76, Amazon
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