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Published:July 12th, 2013 10:10 EST
Did Chuck Foley Have Any Idea How Popular Twister Would Become?

Did Chuck Foley Have Any Idea How Popular Twister Would Become?

By John G. Kays

Chuck Foley (who was 82), the co-inventor of the sexy, `60s Baby Boomer party board game, TWISTER, has passed on July 1st, in St. Louis Park, Minn. I heard about Chuck Foley`s passing on NPR as I was sluggishly commuting home from work, at around 5:15 PM yesterday. 

Flooding memories of fun-filled, energy-charged (libidinous) slumber party games (ala Twister) push through my dazzled, longevity-prone circuit board (brain)! `Chuck Foley was a genius of an inventor,` we have to admit, as a nostalgic teardrop slowly drips down our withered, leathery cheeks!

This morning I had to do some research on Chuck Foley`s biography, much of which I`d never heard before, such as his equally clever invention of Un-Du, which is a liquid that removes adhesives (even used by the staff at the Library of Congress). 

Well, I wonder whether one can purchase it at Office Max or Office Depot, `cuz I could use some around the house (I`m never without Wite Out, I might add). The New York Times and the LA Times both have useful obituaries which I thought to print out for further scrutiny.

As far as the Eva Gabor clip appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and playing the game Twister live, it wasn`t available on YouTube. I suspect the property rights to this show are coveted by Johnny Carson`s inheritance, although lots of his other clips are ubiquitously available. I`m clueless on this mindboggler, but this suggests another conundrum that`s bothering me quite a bit.

That is, how could Chuck Foley end up with only 27 Grand, when Twister has sold like hotcakes since 1966, when it was originally launched? What is an exact count of games sold (to date)? Or is it even possible to know now how many got out there in the public? 

An audit of the now defunct Milton Bradley toy company would have to be conducted; and Twister is owned by Hasbro these days and it still sells like hotcakes. The NYTimes gives the vague figure of tens of millions of copies having been sold. Jeez!

Chuck Foley came up with Twister, along with co-creator Neil Rabens, when working for Reynolds Guyer House of Design in St Paul, Mn.; Reyn Guyer was their boss and the owner of this design company employing the two brilliant inventors.

While information on the exact nature of this iconic business deal is scarce, one must assume it was Reyn Guyer who struck up the deal with Milton Bradley; therefore it must have been Guyer who got the lions share of the royalties (at least in the early years).

I don`t suppose Foley had any clue, when he was coming up with Twister, that it would achieve the kind of universality it did. My own take on why it went viral (an anachronism, I realize!), is that it tied in with the 1960s sexual liberation movement, that really took off in a big way around this time, 1966 or 1967.

That is, Twister was a sort of mainstream, legitimate version of Spin-the-Bottle, its underground black-sheep stepson, where young people would strip to the bone one tantalizing garment at a time.

Foley never thought of it in this way, but this was an end result, an unforeseen consequence of a clever creation, sexual revolution (or revelation, you choose)! If you could get tangled up with a good looking girl at a combustible teenage party, this was a fantasy come true for a young man, who was searching wildly for ways to break the ice with the opposite sex. 

I sense that Twister will continue with its popularity, even though it seems passe today, in the wake of internet only entertainment excursions. A renewed adoration is in the cards, I fathom; this is due to the acrobatical and tactilitous quality of the game, and to its retro-tribulation to the past (love of the sixties). So now is the time to pay up royalties to Foley`s estate!

*Link has original 1966 Twister Game Commercial