A clue to the toys that have reached superstardom

The paper airplane and Wiffle Ball are the newest inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame

The board game Clue. In the National Toy Hall of Fame. With the Wiffle Ball and paper airplane.

The mystery of which toys earned the status of toy superstardom was solved Thursday with the announcement of the hall of fame’s Class of 2017.

The whodunit game Clue, where players also must name the crime scene and murder weapon, continues to sell millions of copies each year since being patented by a British couple during World War II.

“Clue has also had its own movie, been featured in numerous television shows and books and remains an icon of pop culture,” said curator Nicolas Ricketts, who added the game has spun off travel, junior and advanced versions, as well as collectors and themed editions.

The annual hall of fame inductees are chosen on the advice of historians and educators following a process that begins with nominations from the public.

To make the cut, toys must have inspired creative play across generations. Historic and modern versions of the winners are displayed in the hall, which is located inside The Strong museum in Rochester, New York.

This year’s other finalists were: the game Risk, Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox cars, My Little Pony, PEZ candy dispenser, play food, sand, Transformers and the card game Uno.

Like Clue, the Wiffle Ball remains a big seller more than six decades after it was invented by a retired semi-pro baseball player in Connecticut whose son had given up on regular backyard baseball for lack of space and too many broken windows.

David Mullany began by cutting holes in round plastic parts from a factory, eventually developing a ball with eight oblong slots that allow the ball to grab air and change and slow its trajectory. A strike-out was called a “wiff,” according to the family-owned Wiffle Ball Inc., which has produced millions of balls each year ever since.

Some initially pegged the lightweight ball as a fad, said Stephen Mullany, who with his brother represent the third generation to run the company. He credits its ability to level the playing field despite players’ ages and ability with helping to keep it around.

“Here we are 60 plus years later,” Mullany said, “so it’s pretty neat.”

Exactly who made the first paper airplanes is unclear, though artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci gets credit for designing flying machines out of parchment in the 15th century.

“Where some toys require financial investment, paper airplanes start with a simple sheet of paper, coupled with creativity and dexterity, to produce a toy with infinite aeronautical possibilities,” said Christopher Bensch, The Strong’s vice-president for collections. “They allow the imagination to take off and soar.”

The trio joins more than 60 other toys that have been inducted into the hall since its opening in 1998.

Carolyn Thompson, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Veteran searching for therapy dog lost in Campbell River area

The search is on for Adam Bartsch’s dog. Bailey - a purebred… Continue reading

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Driftwood Mall hosts Christmas tree silent auction for YANA

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — at the Driftwood… Continue reading

Update: Highway 19A reopened north of Qualicum Beach

Road will re-close for paving beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

“These are all the organizations that perpetrated past discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

B.C. mining company stakes claim in Australia

Copper Mountain is set to purchase Cloncurry Copper Project in a $93-million deal.

2018 Comox Valley Conservation calendars are now available

The 2018 Comox Valley Conservation calendars are now available for sale at… Continue reading

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

Comox Fire Rescue hands out annual awards

Comox Fire Rescue recently held its annual awards banquet. At this banquet… Continue reading

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

Most Read