January 17, 2008

RIP: Richard Knerr

Richard Knerr has passed away, he was the inventor of the Hula-Hoop, the Frisbee, the Superball and the Slip 'n Slide... perhaps, one could say, he invented summer.

Richard Knerr, co-founder of Wham-O Inc., which unleashed the granddaddy of American fads, the Hula Hoop, on the world half a century ago along with another enduring leisure icon, the Frisbee, has died. He was 82.

With his boyhood best friend, Arthur "Spud" Melin, Knerr started the company in 1948 in Pasadena. They named the enterprise Wham-O for the sound that their first product, a slingshot, made when it hit its target.

A treasure chest of dozens of toys followed that often bore playful names: Superball, so bouncy it seemed to defy gravity; Slip 'N Slide and its giggle-inducing cousin the Water Wiggle; and Silly String.

Godspeed, good buddy.

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