Sometimes I drop the ball – and this time if it was a nice shiny glass ball, it would be in a zillion tiny little pieces because I really dropped it. Yeah, I completely forgot to post the 2013 TAGIE article. Yep… it’s been in drafts for the last month or so. Whoops! So without any further delay…. Let’s discuss the 2013 TAGIE awards!
As a special treat , this year’s TAGIE awards included not one, not two but several special performances. During cocktail hour I got to see magician and inventor Mark Setteducati doing tricks. On the other side of the Navy Pier ballroom balcony, the unbelievably talented musician and composer Philip Sheppard played the cello (and I could have listened all night). As the program began, jazz singer Janet Planet and Valley of the Dolls played a song written for the TAGIEs by inventor Peggy Brown. The keynote was Jim McCafferty who also did a magic interlude later in the program and I must say, he did an AMAZING job. Everyone was in stitches! Also again this year the PlayChic dresses made an appearance for anyone who missed the PlayChic event on Thursday night. Whew! Onto the awards!
Excellence in Game Design: Tom Quinn (The Game of THINGS…)
This was a tough group this year and I congratulate them all on being nominated! Tom was nice enough to do a little interview with me on his game The Game of THINGS… earlier this year and you can read it HERE. (see Tom at left)
Excellence in Toy Design: Cheong Choon (Rainbow Loom)
I saw him and his family in the hallway after the show was over and he looked so happy to have won this award – and he deserves it for such an amazing product!
Rising Star Designer: Debra Sterling (Goldie Blox)
Young Inventor of the Year: Nick Metzler (Squashed!)
Nick’s won the Young Inventor Challenge not once, but TWICE and got his second winning game published by PlaSmart. I’m sure this kid’s got a future in the game biz! (see Nick at right)
Excellence in Electronic Adaption: Leapfrog Creativity Camera
Excellence in Inventor Advocacy: Mike Gray & Wayne Luther
I will miss these two Hasbro inventor relations representatives so much! I’ve known Mike pretty much since I started in the industry back in the early 2000s and he always gave such great advice. I showed mostly to Mike as I primarily focus on games, but I really enjoyed getting to know Wayne over the past couple years too. One of my favorite presentations was at ChiTAG a couple years back where Mike and I were meeting and Wayne had a free moment and joined us and the three of us had this really great chat in the middle of a very hectic afternoon. Lame as it sounds, it just reminds me how much I liked these guys — and not because they were the gateway into Hasbro. I wish them both the best and hope to see them elsewhere in the industry in the future.
In Memoriam: Andre Cassagnes
Andre Cassagnes invented the Etch-A-Sketch in the mid-1950s and it debuted in Germany at Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1959. Originally it was called “L’Ecran Magique” aka “the Magic Screen” and Ohio Arts bought the rights for $25k and brought it to the US. More than 150 million units have been sold and it is in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Beyond the Etch-A-Sketch, Cassagnes was a well-known modular kite designer and was a very famous competitive kite designer in the mid-1980s.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Howard Morrison
If you don’t know, Howard Morrison is the M in BMT – which was initially Breslow (above right) Morrison (above center) and Terzian (above left), but is now Big Monster Toys, one of the world’s largest toy and game invention firms. A Chicago native, Morrison started his career at Underwriters Laboratories before eventually getting a job at Strombecker Corporation (TootsieToy) working on electric racing vehicles. Four years later he started working for the famous Marvin Glass and Associates and making partner in two years! When Marvin Glass closed is when BMT was created and where he spent the rest of his career. Morrison’s legacy includes Simon, Bubba the Bear, Hotwheels Criss Cross Crash Racers, Mickey Mouse Phone, Brainwarp electronic game and many, many others. His acceptance speech was so amazing; he was joined by Breslow and Terzian on stage and you could tell why the three of them did so well together. I found the video so here it is (if you want to just see the speech, skip to 6:20).
And that’s it! Amazing show again this year so bravo to Mary Couzin, Tim Walsh (host), Tom Quinn (who I hear directed it) and everyone else who worked so hard to make it a success! Also I should note that all of this year’s amazing pictures were from the Chicago Toy and Game Fair’s facebook page as most of mine were horribly blurry!