One of the things I like best about the annual TAGIE toy and game inventor Lifetime Achievement award is that we pause to celebrate the toy industry’s heroes. Like past winners, Reuben Klamer (Game of Life), Eddie Goldfarb (Chattering Teeth) and Jeffrey Breslow (Ants in the Pants), we owe Burt Meyer a thank you. Inventors like Burt make a difference in society and culture. How many artists found their passion in “Lite Brite”; became inventors because of “Mousetrap” or who never beat the crap out of somebody because of “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots.”
In these economically troubled times, we should also take a moment and thank Burt and his predecessors for creating jobs. Let’s face it, nobody works if there are no toys and games to make, ship and sell. And let me tell you, Burt efforts have put a lot of people to work.
There is of course far more to most people than what they do for a living. What I love about toy and game inventors, however, is that there is a whole lot more.
Burt is an active pilot; engages in ocean kayaking; scuba diving; skiing and bicycling. Not just any skiing but North Pole skiing. Not just any bicycling but long distance bicycling. Upon hitting his 59th birthday, Burt made a solo bike trip from San Francisco to Charleston, South Carolina. He made it in 41 days.
Why just 41 days? Probably because he had to get back and invent another classic toy. Burt, thank you very much.