by Michael RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

Twister – A Game Of Fun And Fitness, “You can’t resist the twist!”

1960s Toys

When Twister debuted in 1966, the party game was hardly an instant hit. Retailers thought the human-pretzel game too risqué, and orders were so slow that Milton Bradley was due to stop production. That is, until one memorable appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson rescued Twister from the scrap heap and turned it into a pop-culture sensation.

1960s Toys - Twister
(Credit: The Tonight Show)

 In 1966, Minnesota ad man Reyn Guyer imagined a game that was played, not on a table, but on the floor. He wanted to use the players as the game pieces and have them invade each others personal space while having the time of their lives.

Guyer hired industry veteran Charles Foley and artist Neil Rabens to help him refine the concept. Rabens came up with the idea of having players place their hands as well as their feet on the game board, while Foley thought of putting six circles of the same color in four rows so that players would become entangled.

Foley and Rabens are credited as the inventors but Guyer owned the idea and reaped the rewards. After a slow start the Johnny Carson tie in worked and sales went through the ceiling. The best market it seemed was teenagers and Twister became a staple in game rooms and basements across America. As one salesman quipped this game is “the fastest way for a guy to get to second base”

By the end of 1967, three million Twister games had been sold, and it became one of the decade’s most popular games.

Twister the game

By 1986 the box cover changed to reflect the  target market.

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