Twister…with help from Johnny Carson

If not for Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor…Twister may not have been part of our culture.

In 1965 Reyn Guyer, of the Reynolds Guyer Agency of Design had been hired to do a promo display for a shoe polish company, and he was tinkering with colored polka dot paper for ideas. He was suddenly hit with inspiration for something much different…a board game where the pieces were people not plastic.

Reyn tested it with office workers who were divided into two teams and the game was called “Pretzel”. He showed it to 3M and they turned the game down.

Reyn took the game to the Milton Bradley Company in Springfield, MA where Mel Taft, the senior vice-president of R & D, chose “Pretzel” as the best of the eight-game ideas. Mel found there was a trademark problem, so he changed the game’s name to Twister, and Milton Bradley began to market Twister in 1966.

Milton Bradley’s competitors started to call the game “SEX IN A BOX” to destroy the game before it was marketed properly.

Milton Bradley discovered that stores were refusing to stock the game so they were going to pull it from the shelves. What they didn’t know was the public relations man they hired had made an arrangement to have the game played on The Tonight Show.

On May 3, 1966, Johnny Carson, the host of the show, was enticed by the “Twister” mat and demonstrated the game along with the beautiful Eva Gabor. That helped the game to say the least. Three million were sold the next year.

Twister was named “The Game of the Year” in 1967.

In 1985 Hasbro acquired the Milton Bradley Company, becoming Twister’s parent company. The Reyn Guyer Creative Group continues to work closely with Hasbro to develop and market new additions to the line of Twister products.

The Game still is being sold today.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

10 thoughts on “Twister…with help from Johnny Carson”

  1. Don’t think my knees or hips could stand that these days. Boy , back in the ’80s and maybe ’90s though, with some of the friends I had and less wear and tear on me…why didn’t I have this game?! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know the bit about Johnny Carson. It was a fun game! I’ve always wanted to make a Twister quilt, or paint a Twister game on my deck. Maybe someday that project will rise to the top of the list.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very interesting history about Twister! I used to love playing it as a kid. Could get into some interesting predicaments for sure! No way my body could do that now without the bones creaking and cracking and muscle spasms and cramps… well, you get the idea! LOL

    Liked by 2 people

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