ROCHESTER, NY—In honor of the 25th anniversary of the National Toy Hall of Fame, four inductees will be joining the illustrious hall in 2023. Three will be chosen as usual with the guidance of a National Selection Advisory Committee and the Player’s Choice ballot from a list of 12 finalists announced previously in September. The special, fourth inductee will be chosen by ONLY YOU—the public—from a list of five, multi-time finalists who have failed to make the cut in previous years: Fisher-Price Corn Popper, My Little Pony, PEZ, pogo stick, and Transformers.
These five toys are the ‘Forgotten Five,’ icons of the play world that have been finalists many times before but have gotten overlooked each year. They’re like Susan Lucci was to the Emmy Awards, or Steve Tasker to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” says chief curator Christopher Bensch. “Now, one of these five will make the hall and, for the first time, it will be purely in the hands of the voting public.”
The public can vote once per day for their favorite through Tuesday, October 24, on the National Toy Hall of Fame website. The winner—along with the other inductees—will be announced in November.
About the “Forgotten Five”
Fisher Price Corn Popper: Fisher-Price introduced the Corn Popper in 1957, calling it an amusement device for young children. Parents quickly discovered that by pushing the device, children could strengthen gross motor skills. The bright, flying balls and popping sound helped to stimulate the senses, promoting curiosity and discovery.
My Little Pony: Introduced in the 1980s and reintroduced in 2003, the My Little Pony line of mini-horses encourages children in traditional forms of doll play—fantasy, storytelling, hair grooming, and collecting. The small pastel ponies have come in more than 1,000 varieties, all with elongated tails and manes made to be brushed. The toys peaked in popularity between 1982 and 1993—even outselling Barbie for several years.
PEZ: PEZ emerged first as a breath mint in 1927, but in 1948, the creators turned it into a candy and added a small, mechanical box to dispense the PEZ bricks. The dispensers featured pop-culture characters, making them both a plaything and collectible. PEZ sells three billion individual candies each year and keeps about 60 or 70 dispensers in production—such as Batman, Mickey Mouse, and Wonder Woman.
Pogo Stick: While the origin for its design remains uncertain, the pogo stick was first patented in the United States in the early 20th century. The pogo stick works via a spring-loaded pole that extends below the footpads. Users hold onto the handles at the top of the pole and, maintaining balance, employ the compressed spring’s force to move along by jumping from one location to the next. The pogo stick has remained popular in American life due to its simple, yet challenging, design that promotes agility and physical activity.
Transformers: Hasbro introduced Transformers, a toy line of action figures that change their shapes, in the mid-1980s. They marketed Transformers with an elaborate back story supported by a Marvel comic book series, a cartoon television series, animated movies, electronic games, consumer goods, and even its own cereal. A continuing series of live-action, blockbuster films (with the latest installment released in 2023) has kept Transformers in the public eye.
About the National Toy Hall of Fame
The Strong’s National Toy Hall of Fame, established in 1998, recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period. Each year, the prestigious hall inducts new honorees and showcases both new and historic versions of classic toys beloved by generations. Anyone can nominate a toy to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Final selections are made on the advice of historians, educators, and other individuals who exemplify learning, creativity, and discovery through their lives and careers.