Toy Industry Hall of Fame to welcome three industry icons
The Toy Association will induct Thomas Chan, founder & CEO of Playmates Toys Inc.; Thomas G. Murdough, Jr., founder of Little Tikes, Step2 and Simplay3 and the late Harry Kislevitz, founder of Colorforms Corporation, into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
The individuals were nominated for induction 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.
Thomas Chan, founder and CEO of Playmates Toys Inc, is the visionary behind one of the industry’s first global distribution networks. He transformed Playmates into a branded, promotional toy development and marketing company that set the stage for its long-term growth and entry into the US market. His product and brand legacy includes category-leading successes spannng TMNT, Star Trek, The Simpsons, and Space Jam action figures; Cricket interactive dolls; Waterbabies; Baby So Beautiful dolls; Nano Virtual Pets; and more.
As the founder of Little Tikes, Step2 and SimPlay3, Thomas G. Murdough, Jr has transformed the world of outdoor play and kids’ ride-ons. After founding Little Tikes in 1970, Murdough bucked the trend toward injection molding, instead building the company into the world’s largest rotational molder – a move that allowed the company to increase its speed to market and hire more employees. His Turtle Sandbox transformed outdoor play into a year-round category, and his dedication extends to his employees and the communities surrounding company plants and offices.
The late Harry Kislevitz (1927-2009) founded Colorforms in 1951 along with Patricia, his wife and fellow art student, after experimenting with a low-cost alternative to paint. They discovered that the vinyl material stuck to the semi-gloss paint in their bathroom, and Colorforms was born. Outside bringing innovation to the arts & crafts category, Kislevitz was also one of the first in the industry to recognise and prove the power of licensing. He transformed the company into one of the first license-based toy companies, with early licenses including Mickey Mouse, Holly Hobbie, and Popeye in the 1950s.
All three will join an impressive roster of 79 toy industry luminaries, such as Milton Bradley, Joan Ganz Cooney, Walt Disney, Ruth Handler, Jim Henson, and Stan Lee, who have been inducted into the Hall since it was established in 1984.
“Thomas Chan, Thomas G. Murdough, Jr., and Harry Kislevitz have made a lasting impact on the global toy community, inspiring generations of creative, imaginative, and physical play,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association.
“They have introduced products that challenged play norms and evolved them into evergreen brands that continue to be loved by kids young and old. A clear commitment to innovative design and marketing is a career-long hallmark among all three inductees and serves as inspiration to future toy and play makers. For 2020, our members once again offered an impressive array of potential nominees and from that cadre three worthy giants have emerged.”
The latest inductees will be honoured during the 20th annual Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) gala on Friday evening, February 21, 2020 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.
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