Hudson, Ohio — Little Tikes Co.'s 50th anniversary celebration brought together two major U.S. toy executives: Tom Murdough, who built Little Tikes from a small rotational molding company in a barn into a powerhouse brand, and Isaac Larian, the founder of MGA Entertainment Inc., Little Tikes' current owner.
Both men praised employees at the public event on June 21 and an alumni party the next day for about 175 former Little Tikes workers and managers. Visitors toured a new Little Tikes museum showing many of the company's iconic toys. Employees signed their names on commemorative Cozy Coupes and grabbed drinks kept on ice in a vintage Turtle Sandbox.
"I get a thrill from out of seeing Little Tikes continue and move forward. And thank you — all of you — for making it happen," Murdough said. "Nice going!"
Larian announced he has nominated Murdough for the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. He said Murdough founded Little Tikes "with great vision, conviction, passion and focus."
Murdough got into rotational molding working in sales at Wonder Products Co., known for spring-mounted rocking horses. At a Toy Fair, he met Jack Hill, who had just started a rotomolding company in a barn in Aurora, Ohio, called Rotadyne Inc. Murdough joined to build a line of children's products. In 1970, Hill sold his share of the company to Murdough — and the rest is toy industry history.