Global or American; The Toy Industry Hall of Fame


Milton Bradley – Inducted 2004

Have you ever noticed that the Toy Industry Hall of Fame
has no Asian members?
  Take a look, there are no
inductees from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea or Hong Kong.  Kind of odd when  you think about it; after all Asia has been a
major supplier of toys to the rest of the world for over 65 years. 

In fact, the only non-American inductees I could find were Danes (Lego).  Just to be sure that there was nothing in the rules that
restricted membership to North Americans, I checked with the TIA and read the
and can find nothing that explicitely precludes anyone from outside North America being

This fact really struck me while visiting China last month.  I had an
opportunity to meet with individuals who are truly giants
in the industry.; though they may not all be household names in America, their
decisions have had, have and will have a major
impact on the fortunes of the world’s toy makers and retailers for
decades to

Let’s take Hong Kong as just one example.  Toy industry pioneers created, literally from
nothing, an infrastructure that today produces 86% of the world’s toys.  Leaders in Hong Kong can, by their
willingness to negotiate a price, assure safety, provide quality and produce on
time make the difference between success and failure for products and

We have been for some time now, become a totally interdependent
global industry.
  We all depend upon each
other, so isn't it important that we honor those who have contributed to this
industry, no matter where they live in the world?  That’s not only good for toy industry, it
good for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

In this spirit, I am going to tell you in my next posting about one of the most remarkable people I have ever met:  Mr. L.T. Lam, a giant in the toy industry.

8 thoughts

  1. David Yeh is absolutely deserving for induction to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame!I’m surprised he wasn’t honored years ago.
    Is Henry Orenstein enshrined? If not, he certainly should be. A great visionary and courageous man.

  2. Richard,
    The U.S. Toy Industry has benefited greatly from people like L.T. Lam and David Yeh. Their contributions and those of their peers deserve the recognition of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.
    Regards, Steven Bielan

  3. I agree with Boris, David Yeh would be a wonderful choice. I personally worked with him during the “Universal” days and did save Matchbox. An elegant and decisive man, he help launch China toys into the mainstream. His toy contribution in the U.S. and around the world was significant.

  4. LT Lam is a great choice! I have worked with him and his sons over 40 years of traveling to China to create new toys. He always knew everybody in the business and was wonderful to partner with. I always looked forward to having dinner with him and his family. Wonderful choice.

  5. Dear Richard,
    May I comment your very interesting article. I do agree on some Asian manufacturers should be designated to be present in the Hall of Fame.
    I will strongly recommend mr David Yeh who in the 70′ and 80′ was a major player of our industry. Making Star War toys with is company Universal. He also saved Matchbox during the early 80′. He is still in hong kong and in great form at more than 80 years old.

  6. The Call for Hall of Fame Nominations is usually June 1-30 and anyone – TIA members and non-members alike – is eligible to submit a nomination. There are no restrictions by global geography on who can be nominated. All TIA members then vote on the slate of candidates. The online ballot is issued mid-August to mid-September. Next year we will expect to see your nomination for Mr. L.T. Lam.
    Best Regards, Julia

  7. One classic cat is Joseph Law of Smile Industries (HK) – a great man and truely cared about his clients, products and employees… I worked for his four son’s (all surgeons!) and gained a tremendious amount of respect for the family and their family business… class acts. Great topic.

  8. Dear Richard
    FINALLY someone has seen the light. You could not be more correct. There are a ton of Asian giants in the industry that deserve recognition. Mr Lam certainly is one of them and many others that have been making American entrepreneurs look good for decades.

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