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Twister, the 1960s board game which promises to 'tie you in knots', has become a modern classic.

It has seeped into popular culture being played and talked about in films and on TV shows like Friends and Men Behaving Badly.

Its guarantee of proximity to the opposite sex has made it a 'must have' for teenage or college parties.

The game makes you the board piece, with four or even more players having to reach coloured dots on a plastic floor mat.

Twister is credited with breaking the social taboo of not getting too close to people in a social situation.

As a result, when it was introduced to a sceptical American public by the Milton Bradley (MB) board games company in 1966 it was a flop.

According to Reyn Guyer, who with Neil Rabens and father-of-nine Charles 'Chuck' Foley co-invented twister, the public simply 'didn't get it' and for month after worrying month Twister sets built up dust on store shelves.

But in May 1966 Guyer got a public relations company to interest executives of the top-rated Tonight show to let star host Johnny Carson try it out.

It was a last throw of the dice for the heavily advertised game because detractors in a time of hippy free love were calling it 'sex in a box'.

It was thought Carson might ridicule the game killing it stone dead and on the May 3, 1966 version of the show when a Twister mat was laid out, the guest was glamorous Eva Gabor wearing a white, low-cut dress.

The pair tried the game out with hilarious results, Carson ending up on top of a spreadeagled Gabor, the two of them ending up collapsing in laughter.

The public loved it and that year Milton Bradley could not make enough Twister sets, selling more than three million and immediately launching the game across the Atlantic to a willing British public.

Reyn Guyer said of the game, 'Most things that are a success break some kind of rule, Twister broke the rule that you shouldn't get close to others in public - in Twister you get wrapped up in them but it's all in fun.'

The game was originally to be called Pretzel because of the contorted shapes players ended up in but a toy dog launched at the same time was dubbed Pretzel so the name Twister was born.

The Milton Bradley Company which launched Twister has been responsible for a host of other household name games such as Battleship (invented in 1931), Barrel of Monkeys (1965), Connect 4 (1974), Yahtzee (1956) and Hungry Hungry Hippos (1966).
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 24, 2007
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