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The Strong’s National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, made the announcement Thursday, after they whittled down their list of 12 toy finalists, which included the spinning top and the American Girl dolls, to three.
The museum has been recognizing classic toys since 1998 for their sustained popularity and their ability to inspire creative play. Barbie dolls, the teddy bear and Crayola crayons were among the hall’s first class of inductees.
Twister, the party game known for putting its participants in pretzel-like contortions, was once considered too inappropriate for Sears Roebuck’s catalogue. As Mental Floss pointed out, the Milton Bradley game — a spotted vinyl mat and colorful spinner — also confused retailers.
The game was in danger of disappearing from shelves until Johnny Carson played it with actress Eva Gabor on “The Tonight Show” in 1966. The on-air demonstration sent the studio audience into hysterics and guaranteed the game longevity.
As singer Toni Braxton documented, Twister was something you played with your boyfriend, a memory so fond that it lingered after the break-up.
Twister also proved that even Death loses from time to time.
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Although it was once dismissed by competitors as selling “sex in a box,” Twister was marketed as a family game. Chuck Foley, co-creator of the game, said any moral concerns didn’t matter once the game started.
“Once you get men and women in play positions, unless you’re drinking, you forget the sex thing,” he said in 1994. “The urge to win takes over.”
Better luck next year, coloring book.