Ernie is so happy, Bert is 'meh'
November 8, 2013 1:42 PM   Subscribe

The National Toy Hall of Fame has added its two latest inductees: the Rubber Duck and the game of Chess.
While featuring many interesting facts, the site does fail to mention Florentijn Hofman's giant rubber duck (featured multiple times here) or Tim Rice's "Chess" (seen here).

Chess' 'little brother' Checkers was inducted ten years ago, the first Board Game.

The Hall is a fascinating collection of iconic toys and games, including such 'proto-toys' as the Stick, the Blanket and the Cardboard Box.

It's a part of The Strong, an "educational institution devoted to the study and exploration of play" founded by playful collector Margaret Woodbury Strong.

The Hall of Fame was also previously noted in posts about the Easy-Bake Oven, the Etch-A-Sketch and Lincoln Logs
posted by oneswellfoop (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How did Dominos and Star Wars action figures make it in before Chess and Rubber Duck? The National Toy Hall of Fame is a SHAM!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:53 PM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]

"here is a part of me that will forever want to be walking under autumn leaves, carrying a briefcase containing the works of Shakespeare and Yeats and a portable chess set. I will pass an old tree under which once on a summer night I lay on the grass with a fragrant young woman and we quoted e.e. cummings back and forth."

Roger Ebert
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 1:54 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]

I forgot to note the other nominees that did not make the cut this year... " bubbles, Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green army men, Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, Pac-Man, scooter, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles".
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:55 PM on November 8, 2013

Based on my childhood experiences, I'd nominate dried dirt clods. They explode in a cloud of dust when you throw 'em at your friends. How cool is that?
posted by mondo dentro at 1:57 PM on November 8, 2013 [6 favorites]

Chess? Rubber Ducky? C'mon, they should have been grandfathered in years ago. At this rate my great-great-grand kids might be alive still by the time they get to Voltron and He-Man.
posted by yeti at 2:16 PM on November 8, 2013

The stick didn't get in until 2008? The motherfrackin' stick!?!?
What's wrong with these people? That's like Willy Mays not making it into Cooperstown until the fifth ballot.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:33 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

funny iron filings beard guy was robbed I sez!!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:35 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bert's just upset because he knows bottle caps will never have a chance in the HOF.
posted by Spatch at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is the only rubber duck that Hard Chargers like me acknowledge. What's your power move?
posted by benito.strauss at 2:46 PM on November 8, 2013

The origin of The Strong is a compelling argument for aggressive estate taxes.
posted by serif at 2:52 PM on November 8, 2013

SYSK: How Chess Works
posted by K.P. at 2:57 PM on November 8, 2013

I honest to god thought this post would be about Bertstrips.
posted by Talez at 3:46 PM on November 8, 2013

My suggestions for the next induction into the Toy Hall of Fame: Dead rat, gun, erection.
posted by tecg at 4:32 PM on November 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I went to a professional program at the Strong years ago and learned that they developed this "toy hall of fame" program as basically a marketing strategy - it's in line with their mission, of course, but making a selection every year gives them a big media opportunity, a chance to engage people in voting via social media, potential sponsors, etc. I still think it's a brilliant idea but it was a window into how these things come to be.
posted by Miko at 7:10 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love and work down the block from the Strong Museum. That said, how could chess not have been in the HOF until 2013????
posted by tommasz at 7:11 PM on November 8, 2013


Chess isn't a toy or game, except on the most superficial of levels. Will they induct music next year?
posted by fredludd at 7:18 PM on November 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

They've only been doing it since 1998 and a big goal is to pick something that enjoys a lot of nostalgia.

I think chess is definitely a game. It meets all the criteria - it was invented, it has a particular cultural history, it's not something universal like music.
posted by Miko at 7:20 PM on November 8, 2013

It's clearly a game. Two competitors move pieces with defined powers on a fixed board, with a predetermined goal. One player is the winner, one the loser (unless it's a draw, of course).

Certainly, it's a game that has far more strategic complexity than, say, Hungry Hungry Hippos, but it's still a game.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:34 PM on November 8, 2013

No Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots? BULLSHIT!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:51 PM on November 8, 2013

Alright, then. Two nominations for next time around:

the top
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:27 PM on November 8, 2013

I'm pretty sure the only reason the THOF has ever inducted anything that somebody is not making boatloads of money off of is purely for appearance's sake. The toy industry is very focused on the sound of ringing cash registers. Nostalgia is for hobbyists.
posted by Camofrog at 10:52 PM on November 8, 2013

Meanwhile, over at the Banned Toy Museum...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:17 AM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

The toy industry is very focused on the sound of ringing cash registers. Nostalgia is for hobbyists

There was a lot of strategy to it as it was expained to us. They do one generic/classic toy, and one branded toy that has emotional power for GenXers or Baby Boomers, who are the likeliest to be museum donors and the likeliest to bring their families to the museum and the HOF. They are also looking for things that are highly share-friendly, so when people go "OMG, Battleship got in the Toy Hall of Fame! I have to share that with my brother who I always played it with!" it moves through the social mediaverse rapidly. Finally, they museum is not unaware that the same companies that made these toys are today their likely sponsors, corporate givers and in-kind donors, and those companies want fairly badly for their names and products to be in front of families, especially in the wholesome context of a museum. Nostalgia/emotion is the key to all of this activity.

Not that it's not a worthy endeavor - I like it a lot - but it was fascinating to learn that it's sort of a Trojan Horse for a museum sustainability strategy.
posted by Miko at 6:30 AM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Jon Stewart tried to warn us.
posted by Wild_Eep at 1:12 PM on November 9, 2013

Is this a parody of the Rock Hall of Fame? I always thought it was absurd in itself. now apparently there is a Hall of Fame for TOYS?!

What about a Sock Hall of Fame? or say Ties....
posted by mary8nne at 1:42 PM on November 9, 2013

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