Playmonster CEO Bob Wann has joined a list of esteemed toy industry names – including Jim Pressman, the former president of Pressman Toy Corporation, and the late Raggedy Ann and Andy creator Johnny Gruelle – to be inducted into the toy industry. Hall of fame.
Rounding out this year’s list of big name inductees is the late Lucille King, founder of the Playskool Institute.
This year’s living Hall of Fame inductees (Pressman and Wann) were nominated and elected by members of the Toy Association in recognition of their significant contributions to the industry and the impact they have had on the children’s lives through a lifetime commitment to toys and play. The two will join an impressive list of 81 toy industry luminaries who have been inducted into the Hall since its inception in 1984, including those who have brought mickey mouse (waltz disney), Barbie (Ruth and Elliot Handler), The Muppets (Jim Henson), Wonder (Stan Lee) and more.
“Bob and Jim are icons of the modern toy industry who have created, marketed, licensed and produced innovative toys and games loved by children and families around the world,” said Steve Pasierbpresident and CEO of the Toy Association.
“Their pioneering spirit, their embrace of the magic of play, and their unwavering dedication to providing quality, educational and fun products to children of all ages is an inspiration to all. Bob’s countless contributions to the Toy Association in as a board member, president and leader of PlayCon further add to his lasting positive impact. We look forward to honoring their great accomplishments at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in February 2022.”
This year’s posthumous inductees, Lucille King and Johnny Gruelle, were first recommended as part of a slate of five well-researched nominees presented by the Hall of Fame’s recently created posthumous selection subcommittee, which took into account diversity in the company, the area of contribution, ethnicity, gender and lasting impact on the toy industry. .
The nominees were then elected by the Hall of Fame Committee and the two inductees were approved by the Toy Association Board of Directors. The new posthumous inductee selection process helps ensure recognition of any deserving individual who has contributed to the American toy industry since 1800 and who may have been overlooked in previous years.
“Lucille Kinga former schoolteacher who has invested most of her life in making toys that stimulate the minds of preschoolers, and Johnny Gruellewhose Raggedy Ann and Andy stories and dolls have entertained generations of American children, each has skillfully integrated learning, creativity and storytelling into their children’s toys and products,” Pasierb added.
“Their creations have captured the hearts of millions of children and paved the way for future toy innovators and entrepreneurs. This recognition is well deserved as we welcome their legacy to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. , and sets the tone as we seek to recognize many more influencers in the years to come.
Jim Pressman began his career with Pressman Toy Corporation in 1971, became president in 1979, and led the company for 35 years. Under his leadership, Pressman Toy was among the first companies to market game shows as board games, including Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Wheel of Fortune, Deal or No Deal and Double Dare. He supplemented these licensed products with classics, becoming one of the leading suppliers of chess, checkers, backgammon and Chinese checkers; he also had an incredible eye for product and marketing, releasing hits like Rummikub, Mastermind, Gooey Louie, Hydro Strike, Let’s Go Fishin’, Topple, and Tri-ominos. A believer in American manufacturing, Pressman produced high-quality products in New Jersey for 30 years and, when production moved to China, strived to manufacture products only with factories that had the highest standards of quality and practices. He was a longtime supporter of the Toy Association, serving on the executive committee and other committees, and supported various charitable causes, including the Toy Foundation and Toys for Tots.
With a career in the toy industry spanning over 40 years, Bob Wan was praised by his colleagues for his strong instinct for the product, his passion for the industry and his exemplary leadership skills. As a salesperson, marketer and innovator, Wann has led the growth and global expansion of well-known brands such as Nerf, Care Bears, Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Clue and Spirograph, working at Hasbro. , Playskool, Milton Bradley/Parker Brothers, American Greetings and Fisher-Price. Most recently, Wann led the expansion of Patch Products from a small games company to award-winning, multi-category PlayMonster, which he continues to grow exponentially in the United States and internationally. He has worked tirelessly for the advancement of the toy industry, serving for over 10 years on the board of directors of the Toy Association, eight years on the executive committee as president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, and seven years as president and host of PlayCon. Wann has also elevated charitable work within the toy industry, working with The Toy Foundation and in community support initiatives run by his companies.
Johnny Gruelle (1880-1938)
When Johnny Gruelle At the age of 19, he began working as an illustrator and cartoonist for a series of newspapers. In 1915, he applied for a design patent for a cloth doll he called Raggedy Ann, then wisely proceeded to produce enough handmade Raggedy Ann dolls to trademark the “Raggedy Ann” logo. . In 1918, Chicago publisher PF Volland published the first volume of Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann tales and made the Raggedy Ann doll. In 1920, Raggedy Ann’s brother made his Raggedy Andy Stories debut and joined his sister as a doll on store shelves. Gruelle went on to write and illustrate 25 books about her red-headed dolls and turned Raggedy Ann and Andy into the centerpieces of a well-designed and well-marketed fictional universe with interlocking storybooks, fabric dolls and a host of other ‘other toys – as well as brand extensions in household products ranging from furniture to canned goods. Even before the advent of by Walt Disney A marketing juggernaut, Gruelle created a pattern of media products, toys, and dolls that all supported each other and enjoyed spectacular and prolonged success with American audiences.
Lucille King (dates of birth and death unknown)
A retired teacher from Wisconsin, Lucille King proposed a design concept for durable wooden block toys for use in classrooms to stimulate young minds and develop coordination. In 1928, while working for the John Schroeder Lumber Company, King and his colleague pitched the idea for these toys to company management; the lumber company agreed to the plan, and the Playskool Institute was established as a subdivision, bearing the slogan “Learning by Playing”. Within two years, they were producing 40 unique toys, including a pounding bench, wooden beads and blocks, a table-mounted sandbox, a pegboard, and more. As early as 1930, Playskool toys were endorsed by child guidance experts, and the aura of educational enrichment clung to the brand. King has invested most of his life in enriching the lives of American children. Its contributions to the toy industry were heightened when the company was sold to Hasbro, which transformed it into a leading child-focused preschool tactile learning company with a focus on the developmental learning for 93 years.
The 2022 Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the 22n/a Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards on Friday, February 18, 2022. The Toy Industry Hall of Fame lives alongside the National Toy Hall of Fame in a special exhibit at the Strong in Rochester, NY.