60-YEAR OLD ICONIC AMERICAN TOY BRAND, COLORFORMS®
NOW ON EXHIBITION AT GEPPI’S ENTERTAINMENT MUSEUM
New exhibit at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum celebrates Colorforms’ 60th anniversary
Colorforms®: 60 Years of Creative Storytelling runs September 2012-August 2013
(BALTIMORE, September 30, 2012) – In 1951 struggling art students Harry and Patricia Kislevitz were trying to save money by finding cheap alternatives to paint. One effort saw the young couple applying pieces of thin vinyl sheeting to shiny and painted surfaces. The sheeting wouldn’t stick permanently: it peeled off. They found a different, fun application for the sheeting, the Kislevitzes left rolls in their bathroom, where houseguests could cut out shapes with scissors and give the walls creative makeovers.
“Our friends would... do the most marvelous Matisse things on the wall,” Patricia remembered. Then an idea hit: pliable, restickable vinyl bits might also be ideal “imaginative play” tools for kids. Here was a way to learn about shapes, learn about colors—and decorate walls without making a mess.
What to name the toy? “Let’s call it what it is: color forms,” Patricia said.
The first commercial Colorforms sets consisted of basic circles, triangles, and straight-line designs; but soon, expanded play sets brought pop culture icons into the mix that became best known for their signature plastic ‘Stick-Ons™’ that can be placed and repositioned on top of graphic backgrounds to create endless scenes at a child’s whim. Spinach-gulping Popeye punched-in first; Garfield, Spider-Man, Barbie, and Batman are among the popular properties that followed.
Devoted toy inventors never rest on their laurels after one success—they soldier onward in search of more. The Kislevitzes exuberantly expanded the line; branching out with sets that incorporated new concepts or tied into the hot icons of the day and sometimes both.
“We’re delighted to be a part of this wonderful retrospective on Colorforms, a brand that has always encouraged kids to engage their visual and verbal creativity through storytelling,” says Moss Kardener, Director of University Games’ Colorforms division. He adds, “Often toys need something instantly identifiable to appeal to young children and parents who typically purchase our products. That’s why Colorforms has tapped into the wealth of licensed character properties over the years.”
In the 60 years since the first Colorforms set debuted, the line has incorporated licensed characters from cartoons, TV shows, movies and the characters of their own creation. The GEM exhibit draws from an extensive collection, which features a variety of sets from the products inception to the modern day. Visitors can not only view a wide assortment of original sets, but can also interact with two giant Colorforms boards, which are designed to look like the boards that came with the original sets in 1951.
About the Exhibit & Geppi’s Entertainment Museum
Colorforms®: 60 Years of Creative Storytelling opened September 30st this year and runs through January 2013. Geppi’s Entertainment Museum at Camden Yards is located at 301 W. Camden St. 2nd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201. For additional details log on to www.geppismuseum.com or facebook.com/geppismuseum, or call 410-625-7060. Group tours are welcome, and admission is free to museum members.
Founded in 1951, Colorforms is one of the oldest and best-known brands in the toy industry. It was the very first plastic-based creative toy, and one of the first toys ever advertised on television. Since its inception, more than 1 billion Colorforms play sets have been sold – a number that keeps growing every year. Colorforms was acquired in 1998 and is now a division of University Games Corporation.
About University Games Corporation
Founded on April Fool's Day in 1985 by Bob Moog and Cris Lehman, University Games today distributes more product in more outlets, in more markets than any other game company. The company has become a major player in the international game industry (now in over 28 countries) through increased distribution, better marketing, experienced staff and strategic acquisitions such as Great Explorations®, Raintree Puzzles and Games™, Topline Toys®, Colorforms® and BePuzzled®, Front Porch Classics® and American Classic Games™. For more information, visit www.universitygames.com.
Colorforms ® & © 2012 University Games Corporation. Colorforms and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of University Games Corporation, San Francisco, CA, USA. All Rights Reserved.