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Twister - Dastardly Review #061

Updated: Jul 2, 2018

We all know Twister as the iconic game with the large mat with the red, yellow, blue and green circles. And the spinner that gets everyone knotted up like a pretzel. A simple, fun, kids game.

Well...the start of Twister was as convoluted as the players of the game itself.

Reyn Guyr Jr created designs including mannequins for department store windows and other in store displays. He came up with the concept of using humans as the play pieces in games. He took the idea to 3M who turned down the idea.

Reyn and his father decided to move forward with the concept. They hired Charles Foley a respected toy designer. Foley hired an design artist called Neil Rabens.

Rabens came up with the idea of a party game with a mat. Foley expanded it to have the colored circles and the spinner which told which hand or foot went on which color. The first player to fall loses. The four men got a patent for the game under the name “Pretzel”. In 1965, Milton Bradley agreed to publish Pretzel but the name was already taken so MB renamed the game Twister! It began to show up on shelves and sell. But….stores refused to reorder the game. They felt that MB had packaged “sex in a box” and didn’t want to be associated with that image. Stores began to return Twister to MB.

Then in 1966, on his show, Johnny Carson played Twister with Ava Gabor. Boom! Stores had customers lined up for Twister thanks to Johnny and Ava.

3,000,000 copies of Twister sold the next year and Twister was named Game of the Year in 1967.

The Good: Thank goodness for Johnny! The Bad: Sex in a box? Seriously?

The Dastardly: Just shows how customers lined up with money in their hands can change the thinking of stores!


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