Hula Hoop entrepreneur dies

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Italian1, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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    Wish I could invent something. :33:


    Hula Hoop entrepreneur dies--Richard Knerr introduced Frisbee, Hacky Sack, Silly String.

    By Brandi Stewart
    January 18 2008: 4:15 PM EST
    (FORTUNE Small Business) -- Richard Knerr, co-founder of the company that introduced America to the Hula Hoop, the Frisbee and other iconic toys, died on Monday, January 14th. The 82-year-old entrepreneur passed away at Methodist Hospital after suffering a stroke earlier in the day at his home in Arcadia, Calif.


    Much like Apple, Disney, and Hewlett-Packard, Wham-O started in a garage. As a student at the University of Southern California in 1948, Knerr launched a falcon training business with his childhood friend, Arthur "Spud" Melin.


    Knerr and Melin trained the birds by launching high-speed meatballs at them from slingshots. When customers turned out to be more interested in buying slingshots than falcons, the partners binned their bird business and started producing slingshots.


    "We called them Wham-O slingshots because, well, that's the sensation you felt when you hit something," said Knerr in a 2003 interview with Fortune Small Business.

    Wham-O followed up with a series of hunting tools, including boomerangs and crossbows, but finally struck gold in 1957 when the founders came across a flying disk invented by a building inspector named Walter Fredrick Morrison. Knerr and Melin bought the rights to the toy, renamed it Frisbee, and launched a lasting craze that even spawned a new sport, Ultimate Frisbee.


    "The Hula Hoop and Frisbee just took off, like Scrabble or bobby socks or zoot suits," said Nancy Young, co-author of AmericanPopular Culture Through History: The 1950's. "I think Wham-O hit the population's fancy. The company was visionary enough, or maybe just lucky enough, to grasp onto the Hula Hoop and Frisbee and pick up patents for the products."
    Over the next 60 years, Wham-O turned out a consistent stream of inexpensive fad products, such as the Slip N' Slide, the Limbo Game, Silly String, and the Hacky Sack.


    The company's most recognized contribution to American pop culture remains the Hula Hoop. Knerr and Melin discovered Australian children using a bamboo ring for exercise and brought it to the hip-twisting youth of the 1950's.


    In 1982 Knerr and Melin sold Wham-O to Kransco Group Companies for $12 million. The company was later sold to Mattel (MAT, Fortune 500), which ultimately spun it off to an investor group.


    Knerr is survived by his wife Dorothy, three children from his first marriage, two stepchildren, and eight grandchildren.
     
  2. novice_btm

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    See, that's what happens when you go about, inventing all kinds of immoral devices. All those hips gyrating, tempting people to have impure thoughts. Obviously, Knerr had to be some sort of deviant heathen! :rolleyes:
     
  3. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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  4. dong20

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    They're tasty. I like the 'plain' flavour best.
     
  5. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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    What's tasty? Silly string?
     
  6. dong20

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    Hula Hoops. Silly string is an acquired taste I have yet to acquire.
     
  7. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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  8. hotbtminla

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    Now, now Novice. Calling him a deviant heathen? Why, that might be enough to make him roll over in his grave!

    Ahem... :rolleyes:
     
  9. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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    He's trolling around. :rolleyes: The guy was a multimillionaire and lived to 82. I'd like to think up some dumb inventions and sell it for $12 million.
     
  10. midlifebear

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    At a partiular well-paying job, many years ago in a Ford Galaxy 500 far, far away, my staff and I kept several cans of Silly String in our desks for MBA emergencies. Whenever one of the MBA's working for the production company came up with an annoyingly stupid task requiring our services we would quietly walk en masse to his or her office then simultaneously fire, emptying our cans of Silly String and covering the useless MBA. This ritual was a silent one. Once the cans were empty we would quiety return to offices to get real work done.

    Silly String is dead! Love Live the Silly String! Silly String still rules!
     
  11. hotbtminla

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    Erah, I should have maybe put ROLL OVER in caps. Sorry, just my subtle, feeble attempt at humor. My lightheartedness can't equate to even $10, let alone $12 million.
     
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