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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wham-O Co-Founder Dies

Let's face it, we all at some point as a child played with a Wham-O toy. For me it was a Frisbee. One of my favorite memories involving a Frisbee was the time a preacher from Scotland visited our church. He brought his grandson, who was a few years older than me and another boy at church. There was a basket lunch after the service and me and my friend got out the Frisbee. The Scottish boy was fascinated by it, so we let him play. Problem is we never could show him how to throw it. He sort held it in both hands like a pizza and tossed it up. Apparently the Scots are good and golf and soccer, but the Frisbee escaped them.

I also had the rather suggestively named Water Wienie and the Slip and Slide. Slip and Slide was not meant to be played with in rock and pebble infested yards.

Associated Press reports the passing of the co-founder of Wham-O toys

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - A co-founder of the company that turned the Hula Hoop and Frisbee into beloved toys has died. Richard Knerr was 82. His wife tells the Los Angeles Times that he died at a hospital Monday after suffering a stroke at his home in Arcadia, California. Knerr and childhood buddy Spud Melin started a slingshot-selling business in 1948 and called their company Wham-O after what they said was the sound of something hit by a slingshot. Ten years later, Wham-O devised its own version of an Australian exercise ring and called it the Hula Hoop. Around the same time, the company bought the rights to a plastic flying disc called the Pluto Platter. They renamed it the Frisbee, and the rest, as they say is outdoor fun history. Wham-O added other toys to its line including the Superball, the Slip 'N Slide and Silly String. Melin died in 2002 at 77. In an interview back in 1994, Knerr said his company contributed"fun" to America.

It certainly did Mr. Knerr. Fun by Wham-O.

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