Baseball cards, Nerf toys, Cabbage Patch Kids and the Fisher-Price Corn Popper are all entering the National Toy Hall of Fame. One classic toy that didn’t make the cut? Barbie’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ken.
“Kenough,” as he was dubbed in this year’smovie, was left out despite seeing renewed global attention after being portrayed in the film by Ryan Gosling.
Doll Barbie was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998. To some extent, Ken’s exclusion meshes with his role in the film, where in one scene he sings, “Doesn’t seem to matter what I do. I’m always No. 2.”
This year’s winners and many other items are on permanent display at the National Toy Hall of Fame, which is located inside The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Christopher Bensch, the museum’s vice president for collections and chief curator, said the four inductees “represent a great blend of types of play for people of all ages.”
“Baseball cards encourage lifelong playing and collection. Cabbage Patch Kids continue to encourage imagination and storytelling for kids. Fisher-Price Corn Popper, which is a forgotten finalist no longer, is a great activity for toddlers,” Bensch said in a statement. “NERF toys are designed for indoor and outdoor activity, and they often find kids and grownups playing together.”
Since 1998, dozens of toys have joined the Hall including ones as humble as the cardboard box and as ancient as chess. The 2021 inductees were the spinning top, Masters of the Universe action figures and the Lite-Brite. Here’s a list of other toys that have been inducted:
- Risk—French movie director Albert Lamorisse came up with the board game in 1957, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
- American Girl dolls—Educator Pleasant Rowland launched the dolls, originally developed to represent an era in U.S. history, in 1986.
- Rubber duck—Rubber ducks date back to the late 1800s, but the the quintessential yellow bath version soared in popularity after being Sesame Street’s Ernie serenaded the toy in the song “Rubber Duckie,” according to the Hall.
- Slinky—Mechanical engineer Richard James inadvertently invented Slinky while developing springs designed to stabilize ships’ equipment will at sea.
- Mr. Potato Head—Hasbro bought the rights to the Mr. Potato Head figure from inventor George Lerner in 1952, according to the Hall.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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