We are named after toy creators Spud Melin and Rich Knerr to inspire more active, imaginative, fun for children and parents.
"Dad never wanted the fun to stop." Chuck Knerr, Founder & son of Rich Knerr
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Iconic American Toys
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Toy Industry Hall of Fame
Toy Industry of America Hall of Fame Tribute
In 2014, Spud and Rich were posthumously inducted. Chuck was asked to produce a tribute video.
Chuck Spoke of the Future
Chuck encouraged the industry executives to fill the void left by Spud and Rich's passing.
A Rich History
Started in this Garage
Spud and Rich started making and selling slingshots by mail order in Chuck's grandparents garage in South Pasadena, CA. Pictured is Rich in 1988.
A Real Business
They rented an old grocery space in Alhambra, CA with a day's worth of orders. (Rich is on the left, Spud in the middle back)
Their Own Factory
They purchased a large piece of vacant land in San Gabriel, CA and built their first factory building.
They Grew To Fill Demand
Over the coming decades, they built 8 more buildings and launched dozens of new products. Chuck Knerr had the time of his life testing products and sitting in on executive meetings.
Then It Was Gone
Spud and Rich sold their company, in 1982. Manufacturing was moved overseas In the mid-80s. Owners would change hands four times in the coming years. The factory was torn down in 2014 to make way for condominiums.
Fun For A New Generation
How insights from Chuck's childhood form the foundations for more fun today.
Growing Up Fun
"When Dad came home early, we knew he had something new for us to try!" Chuck Knerr was raised on fun. His dad, Rich, along with his business partner Spud Melin often used their kids as testers of their latest inventions like Super Stuff. They knew which products would succeed by watching the childrens' faces.
Chuck's first product test didn't go according to plan but he had fun anyway and eventually got the hang of it!
Being in the commercials was big fun! Spud and Rich invited kids from the neighborhood to join in, making them more authentic. Spud even enlisted the help of their postal carrier!
Fun For The Next Generation
Chuck noted, "When I played with my daughters, I found myself doing all the things Dad did when he played with us. He always made everything fun!"
The Family Business Is Fun
During hot summer days, Chuck learned to sell by pulling his wagon door-to-door, selling water slides for $5.98.
With the charisma of a 6-year old and a snappy sense of personal fashion, he helped the neighborhood cool down.
Chuck remembers learning how important it was to demonstrate the visual fun of the product. That visual was found on the faces of children. Spud and Rich shot their own commercials in their front yards and filled them with kids from their neighborhoods. That's how they achieved such powerfully authentic images.
Spud and Rich were natural teachers. They trained Chuck to be curious and constantly look at things for how they might be better. "What if... " and "How about... " started countless debates over new ideas in constant brainstorming sessions.
Chuck's "Moon Gravity Machine" was inspired by the Apollo missions. He used bicycle wheels, a backpack frame, buckets and barbell weights to represent 5/8 of his body weight to "feel" the moon's gravity.
Spud and Rich worked hard so they could have the freedom to play. They made work fun and play was even funner! When not at work, they would often be found hunting or fishing. Their sense of humor and fun-loving natures certainly rubbed off.
This photo was Chuck's idea but he quickly regretted it as the rope tightened around his ankles. "It was incredibly painful. The smile on my face is actually just gritted teeth!" Dad pulled on my arm to take some of the weight off and we got the shot.