Theo and Ora Coster have been creating fun and games for a long, long time and have even gotten their two sons into the family business. Beginning in 1965 in Israel, the couple founded Theora Designs and haven't looked back. Now some of their products are staples of the industry and have found homes on many a toy shelf across the globe.
The award is well earned and the Chicago Toy and Game Group found the decision a pretty easy one to make:
"When I announced the Costers to receive the Lifetime Achievement, the reaction was immediate approval," said Mary Couzin, Founder and President of Chicago Toy and Game Group. "But when I started rattling off the Coster's games, so many prominent industry leaders became extremely enthusiastic and reminisced about how their toy shelves wouldn't have been the same without some of their creations. Especially Guess Who."
More than just a toy designer, Theo is also a filmmaker of sorts. He produced an hour long documentary based on his life as a young man in Holland during the Nazi occupation. His chronicle of his harrowing youth even went on to become a book; which he admits is kind of doing it backwards...
Beside inventing toys and games, Theo extended his artistic ambitions to film and writing. "Although some books lead to a film, in this case, my film led to a book," said the 84-year-old family man. "A Dutch publisher came over to my Tel Aviv home asking to issue a book based on my 58-minute film."To vote for your favorite toy industry professionals at the awards, head to www.tagieawards.com. Be quick about it though- voting closes on September 1st. And if you're going to be in Chicago for the Toy and Game Fair, you can still score tickets for yourself and see the Costers and their sons, Boaz and Gideon, as well as many other luminaries of fun. Passes for the event are still available for $250.00 USD through the above address.
Theo's film, Classmates of Anne Frank, illustrates details of how he and five friends survived Nazi-occupied Holland from 1942-1945. "I was a friend and classmate of Anne Frank," said the producer. "With the help of my five surviving classmates, the film describes the emotional turmoil that we experienced and how it affected the rest of our lives. Showing that, even after those treacherous years, there is hope."
Last year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner was Burt Meyer, a driving force behind hits like Lite Brite, Rock'em Sock'em Robots, and Mouse Trap.