NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — From the inventor of an iconic construction toy to the founders of the company behind preschool powerhouse PAW Patrol, members of the illustrious class of 2023 Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductees have left an indelible mark on the toy industry. The Toy Association™ announced today the six trailblazers who will join the esteemed Hall of Fame: Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, & Ben Varadi, co-founders of Spin Master; Mary Couzin, founder & president of ChiTAG & People of Play; the late John McLoughlin, founder of board game company McLoughlin Brothers; the late Rose O’Neill, creator of Kewpie dolls; the late David Ring, founder of Larami Corporation; and the late John Lloyd Wright, inventor of Lincoln Logs.
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were nominated and voted on by members of The Toy Association in recognition of their significant contributions to the industry and the impact they have had on the lives of children through a lifelong commitment to toys and play. They will join an impressive roster of 85 toy industry luminaries who have been inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984, including those who brought to life Mickey Mouse (Walt Disney), Barbie (Ruth and Elliot Handler), The Muppets (Jim Henson), Marvel (Stan Lee), and more.
“Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, and Ben Varadi, along with Mary Couzin, are each pioneers in their own right whose remarkable influence have profoundly shaped the modern-day toy industry,” said Steve Pasierb, president & CEO of The Toy Association. “As the founders of Spin Master, the three extraordinary visionaries have created beloved products, entertainment franchises, and digital games that have brought joy to the lives of millions of children while building one of the most important companies in the global toy industry. Mary, a passionate advocate and supporter of the inventor community who has worked tirelessly on a range of events and services, is also an invaluable member of The Toy Association who dedicates her time contributing to our collective efforts, including serving on the Toy of the Year® Award Selection Committee.”
This year’s posthumous inductees (McLoughlin, O’Neill, Ring, and Wright) were first recommended as part of a slate of well-researched candidates brought forth by the Hall of Fame Subcommittee on Posthumous Selection, which considered diversity in company, area of contribution, ethnicity, gender, and lasting impact on the toy industry. The nominees were then voted on by the Hall of Fame Committee and the four inductees were approved by The Toy Association Board of Directors. The process for selecting posthumous inductees helps to ensure the recognition of any deserving person who has contributed to the U.S. toy industry since 1800 who might have been overlooked in previous years.
“It is with great admiration that The Toy Association has inducted John McLoughlin, Rose O’Neill, David Ring, and John Lloyd Wright posthumously,” Pasierb added. “This honor is a testament to their enduring legacies, timeless toys, and remarkable achievements. Their contributions have paved the way for countless toy inventors, inspiring them to dream big and push the boundaries of innovation. We look forward to honoring all of the 2023 Hall of Fame inductees this September at the Toy of the Year Awards ceremony!”
ABOUT THE 2023 INDUCTEES
For more information
please visit toyassociation.org/HOF
Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, & Ben Varadi
Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, and Ben Varadi co-founded Spin Master in 1994 with a single product idea and a $10,000 investment of their own money (The Earth Buddy was a nylon stocking-covered head of sawdust topped with grass seeds that grew to emulate hair.). Together, they have led the company’s growth, transforming it from a small start-up into a leading global children’s entertainment company with a diverse portfolio of innovative toys, entertainment franchises, and digital games. They have successfully brought thousands of toys to market, have been recognized with more than 124 Toy of the Year® nominations; launched multiple entertainment franchises, including PAW Patrol, the No. 1 preschool brand globally; and created award-winning digital games.
Harary’s expertise and passion for children’s entertainment has led to the creation of award-winning programming and franchises, capturing the imagination of millions of children in more than 190 countries. With a focus on unlocking ideas and fostering innovation, he has pushed boundaries and challenged teams to innovate and explore white space opportunities, which led to the company’s entry into the digital gaming arena.
Rabie’s fearless entrepreneurial mindset and resiliency were instrumental during his leadership of many functions within Spin Master, from sales and marketing to HR, where he was devoted to cultivating and fostering culture, attracting and developing talent, and forging relationships with retailers. He spearheaded the company’s global expansion — establishing offices in more than 20 countries — and led close to 30 acquisitions, including the iconic Rubik’s Cube.
Varadi continues to play an active role in product design and development as chief creative officer, leveraging his keen intuition for sensing the next successful toy and bringing his deep understanding of kids and play to products. His creative approach and out-of-the-box brainstorming sessions remain influential to the company’s product selection and development process.
In 2013, Harary, Rabie, and Varadi founded the Toy Movement, a global initiative that provides toys to children in need, giving them the opportunity to experience the joy of play. Since its inception, Spin Master has led missions to more than 20 countries donating more than 850,000 toys to disadvantaged or displaced children.
After creating, self-producing, and licensing her own toys and games, Mary Couzin turned her passion for invention to help others through discovertoysandgames.com, a resource for toy and game inventors. In 2003, she launched the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (CHiTAG), the largest public toy and game fair in North America. Throughout the years, the event has expanded to a week’s worth of programming, including the Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference (2006), Play in Education Conference (2006), Young Inventor Challenge (2006), Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIEs, 2008), PlayCHIC Fashion Show (2012), and more. She is also the founder of the Chicago Toy and Game Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports many children’s organizations. Couzin most recently launched People of Play (POP), a comprehensive networking and resource portal where members of the toy industry can connect, get news from the Bloom Report, participate in live online educational and networking events, browse and post on the industry’s only dedicated social feed, and more. As a dedicated Toy Association member, Couzin has served on a host of committees, including the Toy of the Year® Award Selection Committee and the PlayCon/ToyCon Committee, where she made valuable contributions focused on ensuring outstanding programming.
John McLoughlin (1827-1905)
In 1858, at the age of 31, John McLoughlin established McLoughlin Brothers, becoming both its creative force and business expert. The company initially focused on publishing puzzles and picture books, best known for its illustrated editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The company soon evolved to also offer games and stood as the top board game company in the U.S. for 50 years. McLoughlin Brothers was also known for its philanthropy by supplying schools and libraries with puzzles and games. McLoughlin’s artistic flair, coupled with his products’ game mechanics and distinctive package design, set the standard for the industry, inspiring even Milton Bradley in his early years. McLoughlin Brothers was one of the first board game companies to incorporate metal spinners in their games and established the start-to-finish gameplay format. The company’s commitment to quality set the standard for games and puzzles in the U.S. for decades to come. In 1920, 15 years after John’s passing, Milton Bradley purchased McLoughlin Brothers.
Rose O’Neill (1874-1944)
Rose O’Neill was a self-taught artist, toy inventor, and trailblazer in the women’s suffrage movement. She was the first woman to publish a comic strip in the U.S. and was the sole female member of humor magazine Puck from 1897 to 1903. In 1909, O’Neill introduced her most renowned creation: Kewpie dolls. These winged, child-like creatures with topknot hairstyles were an instant hit, and the public’s demand for Kewpies prompted O’Neill to establish a factory in Germany for their production. Over the following years, she became a millionaire through doll sales. Starting in 1915, while residing in New York’s Greenwich Village, O’Neill actively participated in the women’s suffrage movement; she marched in parades, delivered speeches, and created illustrations for movement posters. Even after 113 years, Kewpie dolls continue to be manufactured and sold by various toy companies, a testament to O’Neill’s enduring contributions to the toy industry and society as a whole.
David Ring (dates of birth and death unknown)
U.S. Army veteran David Ring began selling toys from his car in Philadelphia after the Great Depression, eventually co-founding Ring Brothers Wholesale Toys with his brother. In 1959, after a trip to Japan to explore toy imports, David established Larami Corporation as one of the pioneering importers of its time. As the toy industry evolved, Ring transformed the company, taking on roles as a wholesaler, importer, and manufacturer, and developed packaging and catalogs to support the business. In 1974, Larami was sold to Tasty Baking Company, but Ring’s innovative spirit persisted, leading to his invention of the crank-based Blue Max Water Chopper water blaster. In 1981, Ring and a group of investors repurchased Larami, ushering in a new era for the company and the water blaster industry. The company’s groundbreaking introduction of the Super Soaker in 1990 forever changed the water blaster space. When Hasbro acquired Larami in 1987, Ring and his partners continued to operate the company as a subsidiary for the following seven years.
John Lloyd Wright (1892-1972)
John Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was an architect and a toy inventor best known for creating Lincoln Logs in 1916. The idea was inspired by his father’s construction of the Imperial Hotel in Japan. The J. L. Wright Company of Chicago obtained a patent for the design on August 31, 1920, and registered the Lincoln Logs name on August 28, 1923. While similar building logs existed at the time, Wright’s version gained immediate success and has remained popular for the past 100+ years. Wright also invented various other toys that became influential to the U.S. toy industry. In 1949, he patented and subsequently sold Wright Blocks, an interlocking block set that served as an early prototype for various games, including the foundational mathematics of Tetris. His influence in block design has left a lasting impact on toy creation, video game development, and building architecture.
The 2023 Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductees will be honored during The Toy Foundation™’s 24th annual Toy of the Year® (TOTY®) Awards on Friday, September 29, 2023. The Toy Industry Hall of Fame lives alongside the National Toy Hall of Fame in a special exhibit at The Strong museum in Rochester, NY.
About the Toy Industry Hall of Fame www.toyassociation.org/HOF
In 1984, the Toy Industry Hall of Fame was established to recognize the people who have brought the value of play to the lives of children and adults. Every year for nearly four decades, members of the industry have proudly nominated hundreds of men and women — from toy inventors to toy retailers — who have made their mark on the industry and created a love of play in the hearts of children of all ages.
About The Toy Association™ www.toyassociation.org / www.thegeniusofplay.org / www.playsafe.org
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $102.4 billion, and is the nation’s most effective resource and influential advocate for hundreds of companies including manufacturers, retailers, licensors, and others who are involved in the youth entertainment industry. Toy Association manufacturing members account for 93% of U.S. toy and game sales driving the annual $40 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned Toy Fair®; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.
SOURCE The Toy Association
Dink Ninja Paddle Review: High-Quality Performance!
“Discover the Dink Ninja Paddle’s high-quality performance in our review! Elevate your pickleball game with this top-notch equipment.
In a recent episode of Sleeves Senior Pickleball Report, renowned host Mike Sliwa took on the challenge of reviewing the Dink Ninja 🥷White Hot Edition 🔥 Carbon Paddle. Known for his expertise and insightful analysis, Mike left no stone unturned as he explored the paddle’s features and performance.
The Dink Ninja paddle boasts an 18k Carbon Fiber face that delivers an impressive combination of power, spin, and accuracy. Its dual layer PP honeycomb core, coupled with a flexible paddle surface, provides an unmatched touch, allowing players to execute precise shots with ease. With a thickness of 16mm, this paddle offers increased power for those aggressive shots on the court.
What sets the Dink Ninja apart is its proprietary textured surface, which effortlessly generates impressive ball spin. Mike Sliwa couldn’t help but be impressed with the paddle’s ability to enhance his game and take it to the next level.
If you’re looking to elevate your pickleball game, the Dink Ninja 🥷White Hot Edition 🔥 Carbon Paddle might just be the game-changer you need. Don’t miss out on this incredible paddle that slices and dices its way to high-quality performance.
Discover everything you need to know about the legendary Dink Ninja paddle by clicking the link below.
118th Toy Fair: Global Toy Companies Showcase Innovative Toys in NYC
Discover the latest innovative toys from global toy companies at the 118th Toy Fair in NYC. Don’t miss this exciting event!
New York, NY – The 118th Toy Fair is set to take place from September 30 to October 3 at the Javits Center in New York City, bringing together over 1,000 global toy companies. Spanning nearly eight football fields, this event showcases the latest and most innovative toys from around the world. From nostalgic ’90s toys to cutting-edge tech gadgets, attendees will get an exclusive, hands-on experience with hundreds of thousands of brand-new toys and games. This is not only an opportunity for trade guests and media to discover this year’s hottest toys but also a chance to catch a glimpse of what’s to come in 2024. The Toy Fair promises exciting visuals, insightful presentations on toy trends, and a parade of costumed characters to kick off the event. Registration is mandatory, and media credentials will be verified. Don’t miss out on this unparalleled play-focused experience that unifies the toy industry’s ecosystem and sets the stage for the holiday shopping season.
About Toy Fair® www.ToyFairNY.com
Toy Fair® is the largest and most comprehensive play-focused experience unifying the toy industry’s entire ecosystem with key players to help with business development and sourcing the latest products from across all forms and stages of play. Featuring thousands of new and unique toys, games, edutainment, entertainment-driven experiences, and more from around the world, Toy Fair offers attendees a competitive edge no other trade event can match.
About The Toy Association www.toyassociation.org / www.thegeniusofplay.org / www.playsafe.org
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the business trade association representing hundreds of companies including manufacturers, retailers, licensors, and others who are involved in the youth entertainment industry. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $102.4 billion. Our manufacturing members account for 93% of U.S. toy and game sales driving the annual $40 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned Toy Fair®; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.
SOURCE The Toy Association
Hollywood Writers Strike Ends: Guild Approves Contract with Studios
Hollywood writers strike ends as guild approves contract with studios, bringing production back after months of halt. Scriptwriting resumes.
After nearly five months of uncertainty and halted production, the Hollywood writers strike has finally come to an end. The governing boards of the Writers Guild of America, representing both the eastern and western branches, along with their joint negotiating committee, have approved a contract agreement with studios. This decision marks a significant milestone for the industry, allowing the resumption of scriptwriting and the gradual return to normalcy.
Key Highlights of the Contract Agreement:
The contract, spanning three years, encompasses several vital victories that writers had fought for since the beginning of the strike. These wins include improved compensation, longer employment terms, increased staff sizes, and control over artificial intelligence. The agreement closely aligns with the initial demands of the writers, reflecting a compromise between both parties.
Compensation and Employment:
The writers’ union sought higher pay and future residual earnings from shows, and the compromise deal resulted in a raise ranging from 3.5% to 5%. Additionally, the contract introduces new residual payments based on the popularity of streaming shows, ensuring writers receive adequate compensation for their contributions to highly watched properties.
Staffing and Artificial Intelligence:
The contract addresses the issue of staffing, with a requirement that shows intended to run at least 13 episodes must have a minimum of six writers on staff. The number of writers will be adjusted based on the episode count. While the initial desire for guaranteed staffs of six on shows yet to be ordered was not achieved, a guaranteed minimum of three writers was agreed upon.
Furthermore, the agreement grants writers control over the regulation and use of artificial intelligence. AI-generated storylines will not be considered “literary material” or “source” material, protecting writers’ creative contributions and avoiding competition with computer-generated content.
The end of the Hollywood writers strike brings relief to the entertainment industry, allowing the resumption of production and the creation of new scripts. The approved contract represents a significant achievement for the Writers Guild of America, securing important gains in compensation, employment terms, staffing, and control over emerging technologies. As late-night talk shows prepare to return, the agreement paves the way for the gradual comeback of scripted shows as negotiations continue. The Hollywood writers strike, while disruptive, ultimately led to a more equitable and sustainable future for the talented individuals who shape the narratives we love on screen.
For more on the writers and actors strikes, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/hollywood-strikes/
Source: Associated Press
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