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The Man Who Gave Us ‘Twister’

1966_Twister_CoverIf you were a teenager at a party in the mid-1960s, and you yearned to get up close and personal with someone else, slow dancing wasn’t much of an option unless you wanted to look like a square who couldn’t do the Frug.

Thank heavens, then, for Twister, the Milton Bradley party game in which participants had to contort themselves into unlikely positions by putting their hands and feet in various colored spots on a big mat, as determined randomly by a spinner. The result, inevitably, was tangled limbs, awkward bumping into one another and nonstop giggling. It was seemingly innocuous, wholesome fun, but at the same time at least mildly titillating.

And for those adolescent thrills, we owe a debt of gratitude to Minnesota inventor Charles Foley, who died on July 1 at age 82 in suburban Minneapolis. In 1966 Foley and his longtime collaborator, artist Neil Rabens, applied for a patent for an “Apparatus for Playing a Game Wherein the Players Constitute the Game Pieces.” Twister’s straight-laced detractors came up with another name for it: “Sex in a Box.” That may have been overstating things, though, since the only item of clothing you needed to remove was your shoes.


Here are some interesting facts about Foley and the party sensation that he created:


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