ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Twister called itself “the game that ties you up in knots.” Its detractors called it “sex in a box.”
Charles “Chuck” Foley, the father of nine who invented the game that became a naughty sensation in living rooms in America in the 1960s and ’70s because of the way it put men and women in compromising positions, has died at 82.
Foley died July 1 at a care facility in St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb. His son, Mark Foley, said he’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Foley and a collaborator, Neil Rabens, were hired in the mid-1960s by a St. Paul manufacturing firm that wanted to expand into games and toys. They came up with a game to be played on a mat on the floor, using a spinner to direct players to place their hands and feet on different colored circles.
“Dad wanted to make a game that could light up a party,” Mark Foley said. “They originally called it Pretzel. But they sold it to Milton Bradley, which came up with the Twister name.”
The game became a sensation after Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played it on The Tonight Show in 1966.
Twister was played by kids of all ages. But its popularity among teens and young adults was owed to its sex appeal, as players would become tangled up and fall on each other.
Hasbro Inc., which now manufactures the game, said it is still a top seller.