A month or so ago it was announced that Eddy Goldfarb (left) will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement award at the Toy and Game Inventor Awards in Chicago next November. Most of you know that I’m from Chicago and I got my start at the now defunct invention firm Meyer/Glass Design. While I was there I worked alongside Randy Klimpert who is now at Hasbro doing product design for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. Through blur of good and bad idea meetings, Simpson jokes and office pranks, I recalled Randy once mentioned that he worked with Eddy early in his career. I wondered what that would be like, so I asked Randy for an interview and this is what I found out…
Q. When did you work with Eddy?
“Early in my career. I started at Marvin Glass and worked there for about two and a half years before I moved to California to work with Eddy from 1984-1989. After six years with Eddy I moved back to Chicago to help start up the then newly formed Meyer/Glass Design.”
Q. What was it like working with Eddy?
“Eddy is an amazing guy. Some succeed in the invention biz just by being savvy businessmen, but Eddy is a great inventor AND a great businessman. He also loved every aspect of the [inventing] industry. He loved the process, the problem solving, the model making, the presentation…all of it. Some people only like one aspect, but not Eddy, he was part of it all.”
Q. What did you learn from working with Eddy?
“The invention side of the business can be so disappointing; Eddy always immediately bounced back from disappointment. He really was a model for not letting it get you down.”
“One of my favorites was a game called Quicksand in which the movers get smaller as you play, but it wasn’t a big hit. I also worked on Shark Attack, and I was responsible for the original Lego Creator game. But Eddy’s earlier items are really the classics. My favorites are the Vac·U·Form –I really wanted one of those as a kid — and Battling Tops. Kerplunk is a amazing too, but as a child I liked Battling Tops better. Eddy really was a true innovator. Between the Marvin Glass designers and Eddy, together they invented most of the most classic games of the 1960s..”
“Eddy and I had a great working relationship, and in my years there I think I only made him mad once. I was working in the shop over a weekend on a side project and Eddy came in. He wanted to know what I was working on and I apologized and admitted that it was a side job. If I had just asked him first he would have said it was okay, but I was young and I hadn’t and it upset him. I told him that I didn’t know how else I was going to get it done and that I really wanted to do it and he started to get interested in what it was. I showed him what it was going to be — that it was a motorized bubble machine, part of a set of stage props for Steve Martin, and after that he was okay with it. Later he saw the piece in which it was used and he got really excited about it. It was his ‘Great Flydini’ act…you should look it up, it’s really funny.”
And I did…enjoy this (the bubbles are the encore):
Q. Any last words you liked to share about Eddy?
“We live in a world where the word ‘genius’ is thrown around a lot, but Eddy really is a genius, without question.”
I guess we can all see why Eddy is getting the Lifetime Achievement award!
Thanks to Randy Klimpert for cutting a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to talk to me. He’s a great inventor and I learned a lot from him early in my career and it sounds like he learned some of it from the best in the biz!
- More info on the awards: http://www.tagieawards.com
- Article on Eddy by inventor Tim Walsh: http://www.globaltoynews.com/2010/05/ingenious-eddy.html