National Toy Hall of Fame Inductees: Three Times the Fun!

Toy Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees

Image courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York.

Before you even ask, yes, there is a National Toy Hall of Fame. It’s part of the National Museum of Play up in Rochester, NY and I’d say it’s a bucket list trip for anyone with even the slightest interest in any sort of toy or game from their childhood. Today the Museum inducted a trio of all-time classics into the Toy Hall of Fame and some of you are already grinning at that photo above. This year’s inductees made me laugh out loud because as soon as I heard the news this morning, I was hoping to heck that someone at the Museum would have made a cool diorama with a few squads of Army Men on some alien or other landscape (maybe Washington D.C.?) fighting off an “invasion” by a giant Rubik’s Cube with Bubbles floating in the shot to give it the look of some low-budget sci-fi flick.


Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

Hey, Mario Bava would have done it up right, I bet. That said, the Museum’s presentation was certainly creative and entertaining. Dancers from the Rochester City Ballet appeared in life-size Army Men outfits, there was a gigantic Rubik’s Cube mosaic (made up of 200 pounds of Rubik’s Cubes), and the Bubble Man himself, Doug Rougeux doing his amazing thing at the event. Okay, all that was MORE creative than my crummy diorama idea maybe two people would have gotten the joke about. What can I say other that I like obscure references only a handful of people would understand…


Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

Now, I’ve never actually called those Little Green Army Men by that name and I don’t recall them being sold as such. Then again, given that they were available since the 1930’s from MANY different companies and sold in pretty much every sort of retail location, I could be wrong. It could also be that the term Army Men is still under trademark, as the late, lamented 3DO Company had a series of games with that title from the late 90’s into the mid 2000’s. That license has traveled through a few studios since and seems to still be active thanks to a 2010 Army Men title for cellphones and a  fan-made game from 2013.

Rubik's Cube

Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

I don’t remember how long it took me to solve that Rubik’s Cube a friend was about to toss out because he couldn’t figure the thing out. But I do remember it was under a week and I was surprised as hell when it happened. After practicing for a bit, I showed off my skills using another mixed up cube that took me about twenty minutes to figure out.

Of course, while I was thinking I was some sort of color-matching genius who occasionally picked up a stray cube to solve it within a few minutes’ time, many others were practicing harder. Today, the current world record is an insane 5.55 seconds (by Feliks Zemdegs), robots have been created that have solved it in under four seconds (cheaters!) and I haven’t picked up one of those devil cubes in too long. Hmmm… I wonder if Erno Rubik also inspired Clive Barker’s Hellraiser in some way, shape or form? I’d bet that Barker was lousy at that Cube to the point that his frustration forced him to write up something so terrifying just to get it out of his system. Hey, inspiration can come from the strangest places, folks…

Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

Courtesy of The Strong®, Rochester, New York

PROTIP: In a pinch, Bubbles can be used as emergency hand and face soap. Just remember to not use too much and rinse well or else you’ll foam yourself right out of whatever space you use it in. Then again, given that once you start playing with bubble soap you’ll have it all over the place in small to moderate amounts, this should be a mandated “toy” in every household.

Getting kids who hate bath time a way to get clean has been the deceptive plan by soap makers for ages, but once you open a bottle and start the fun going, it’s like a child magnet. Well, pets and other adults seem to be in that gravitational pull, so it’s a good way to get everyone around you slightly cleaner. Which makes me wonder if anyone has figured out a way to make and market antibacterial bubble soap. That’s a billion-dollar idea just waiting to happen, I’ll bet…



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