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Toy Hall of Fame: Rubber ducky you’re the one, and chess too

First Published Nov 07 2013 11:51AM      Last Updated Nov 07 2013 04:27 pm

Rochester, N.Y. • The rubber duck squeaked out a win for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame, joining the ancient game of chess in the 2013 class inducted Thursday.

The pair beat out 10 other finalists: bubbles, the board game Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green Army men, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, the Pac-Man video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the scooter.

Online polls had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and My Little Pony running strong, but in the end a national selection committee made up of 23 experts, including toy collectors, designers and psychologists, voted in the winners.



"The two inductees ... are fantastic examples of the two extremes in the world of play," said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong Museum, which houses the 15-year-old hall.

"One is so strategic. It's rule-driven. It's something that adults play and puzzle over," Bensch said, "and at the other extreme is a toy that's pure fun. It has no rules. No one wins or loses. You squeeze it. You float it. It's so silly, so fun."

Anyone can nominate a toy for the hall of fame, but to make it through the selection process and become a finalist a toy must have achieved icon status, survived through generations, foster learning, creativity or discovery and have profoundly changed play or toy design.

"If there is a game you can call classic, this is that game," said curator Nicolas Ricketts as he introduced chess during an induction ceremony that featured the unveiling of chess- and rubber duck-themed cartoons by syndicated cartoonist Leigh Rubin.

Chess can be traced back centuries to an ancient Indian war game, but evolved into the game it is today by 1475, Ricketts said.

"In 1779, Benjamin Franklin wrote that playing this game inspires habits of foresight, circumspection and caution, all important traits in human life," he said. "Scholars today still study the effect of this game's play on the childhood brain and development."

The rubber duck "has been a fixture in pop culture for decades," curator Patricia Hogan said.

Although rubber toys first appeared in the late 1880s, no one knows exactly who hatched the idea of the rubber duck, museum officials said.

They weren't always meant for the bath — the first ones didn't float — but Ernie on "Sesame Street" secured its place in the tub with his 1970 ode, "Rubber Duckie." The song made it to No. 16 on the Billboard Top 40 chart.

To date, 53 toys are in the National Toy Hall of Fame, including alphabet blocks, the jump rope, playing cards, Scrabble and the stick.

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Online: http://www.toyhalloffame.org

 

 

 

AT A GLANCE

National Toy Hall of Fame inductees

2013

— Rubber duck

— Chess

2012

— Dominoes

— Star Wars action figures

2011

— Blanket

— Dollhouse

— Hot Wheels

2010

— Playing cards

— The Game of Life

2009

— Ball

— Big Wheel

— Nintendo Game Boy

2008

— Baby doll

— Skateboard

— Stick

2007

— Atari 2600 game system

— Kite

— Raggedy Andy

2006

— Easy-Bake Oven

— Lionel trains

2005

— Candy Land

— Cardboard box

— Jack-in-the-box

2004

— G.I. Joe

— Rocking horse

— Scrabble

2003

— Alphabet blocks

— Checkers

2002

— Jigsaw puzzle

— Raggedy Ann

2001

— Silly Putty

— Tonka trucks

2000

— Bicycle

— Jacks

— Jump rope

— Mr. Potato Head

— Slinky

1999

— Duncan yo-yo

— Hula Hoop

— Lincoln Logs

— Radio Flyer wagon

— Roller skates

— View-Master

1998

— Barbie

— Crayola crayons

— Erector set

— Etch A Sketch

— Frisbee

— LEGO

— Marbles

— Monopoly

— Play-Doh

— Teddy bear

— Tinkertoy

Source: The National Toy Hall of Fame

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Online:

http://www.toyhalloffame.org/toys/year


 

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