by Reuben Klamer | 24 Jun 2021
The Bloom Report
A note from Reuben after receiving the many birthday greetings:
"To Mary, George and to all my friends who sent me such wonderful messages in honor of my 99th birthday... THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all your support and good wishes. I feel very lucky and most appreciated. You more than made my day. Much love to all, Reuben"
Happy Birthday, Reuben, from Brian Goldner!
Happy Birthday Reuben! You are such a valued member of our Hasbro family and we are so proud and honored to be associated with the joy you’ve brought the world through the Game of Life. Your creativity and your life are an inspiration to this industry, and to children everywhere who have grown up with more fun and smiles in their lives because of your creations. We wish you and your family much happiness as you celebrate this very special birthday. -Jared Wade and the Hasbro Inventor Relations Team
Dear Reuben: It’s hard to conceive 99 years. I am only sorry that two of your original partners, Art Linkletter and Merrill Hassenfeld, are not here to be with you. I also must say that Milton Bradley is probably not happy he’s not here to enjoy the fruits of what you have created for your industry and the children around the world. Happy, Happy Birthday. Alan Hassenfeld
HAPPY BIRTHDAY REUBEN! You are truly an inspiration and wonderful role model, as well as an incredible friend. Thank you for all that you have done for Hasbro, the toy industry, and me. John Frascotti
Amazing- all my best to Reuben on his 99th celebration! Such a great guy and great partner to Hasbro. Best, Eric Nyman
Happy birthday to an incredible man, gaming icon and tremendous partner - Jeff Anderson
Reuben, Happy Birthday! You are truly one of the all-time great inventors, an awesome friend of Hasbro, and just a super partner and person. Thanks for everything you have done to bring joy to kids and families. I wish you all the best on this special day! Cheers, Brian Chapman
Reuben! Happy 99th Birthday from everyone at MATTEL and FISHER-PRICE! You are a toy business legend and an inspiration to inventors and toy designers around the world. Congratulations! Dave Harris
Dear Reuben, What a blessing you are. Happy 99th birthday! Working with you on behalf of Hasbro on the Game of Life is a real pleasure. I love connecting with you not only in business but also as friends. I can’t wait to celebrate your 100th with you! Thank you for sharing wise advice with me over the years as well as your passion for toys. Much love to you my friend, Tanya Thompson
Happy 99th Birthday Reuben! I hope this year brings even more happiness and sweet memories. You are truly a treasure to us all! Big hugs, Naomi Brugnatelli
Dear Reuben, It’s a bright and colorful peacock feather in my cap to be able to say I invented the It’s A Dog’s LIFE game, but I could only have done it standing on your shoulders. You and your work have taught me about the LIFE of the inventor. The very best advice you’ve shared was in your TAGIE acceptance speech in 2009– when you won the TAGIE for Lifetime Achievement the same year I won the TAGIE for Game Inventor of the Year. You told a story that night about jumping through a lot of hoops for some European toy company, running around and staying up all night to get work done for them… and after all, your pearl of wisdom was, “I should have stayed in bed!” I use this advice all the time and share it with others often, and am always tickled to be able to credit you. Happy Birthday, Reuben! –Peggy Brown
Happy birthday, Reuben! It’s been the greatest joy and privilege to work with you — you are the warmest, wisest, and most effusive partner! It’s a genuine delight to be able to reimagine this game you have created, in so many different ways— and to be able to make you proud. Hope you had a wonderful birthday, you absolutely deserve that and more. Happy, happy birthday! — Kate Sylvia
Mazzel Tov in the name of the American People who you served in war and peace
Mazzel Tov from all inspired by your tools, guns and gadgets who witnessed dreams come true in hands of UNCLES or on Trek to the Stars.
Mazzel Tov from all the kids who ever learned skating on your Plastic skates.
Mazzel tov from my kids, Jael, Jochanan, Naomi and Jair playing The Game of Life.
Mazzel tov from Abby, Ollie, TOMY, Daniel and Ely, my grandkids playing with your iconic Tupperware toys.
Finally, Great Mazzel Tov from another CHITAG Lifetime Achievement Honoree who wishes he could have been your apprentice.
Happy Birthday Reuben! - Olga Lowe
Happy Birthday, Reuben!!! -Matt Collins
Happy Birthday, Reuben, from Bob Fuhrer!
Dear Reuben - so there you are, spinning the spinner and traveling along the game path of LIFE and you have just landed on a space that says Happy 99th Birthday! What's your next move? Grab some pegs to join you and do it all again? Go to Millionaire Acres and have a party? Or do you take a moment to reflect on the incredible influence you have had on an entire industry and the inspiration you have given so many of us who are following you on the path? I hope you pick ALL of the Above. Thanks for the mentoring and Happy Happy Birthday, -Phil Jackson
Dear Reuben, on this monumental birthday, I'd like to wish you the happiest of days. Thank you for your creations which have not only brought together my family (in both fun and competition!) but families and friends all over the world. Your youthful energy and playful outlook are an inspirational to us all in the industry! -Dougal Grimes
Happy Birthday Reuben. What a LIFE! - Tim Walsh
Dear Reuben, I wanted to send my best wishes for your birthday. Mary and George asked if I had any photos of you with me and, sadly, I could not find any but I did find one from November 2007 when you were in Tokyo for a big Game of Life anniversary. We had dinner together along with your old friend, and Hasbro’s Japan agent, Ike Ashida and I got a great shot of the two of you. Here are two of my greatest mentors together. So how many years of industry experience and savvy does this picture represent?? It has been a great privilege to know you and to have worked with you. You are one of the nicest people I have met on my career journey. All the best to you, my friend. -Mike Hirtle
Best wishes Reuben on your 99th birthday..!!! You are a very special individual and your contributions to the Toy Industry are remarkable and you can be assured that your contributions to the Toy Industry have brought joy to many families across the USA. Best wishes..!! Dale Siswick
Dearest Reuben, It is a great pleasure to know that you are still the Great Creative Force out there on the west coast. I know that you are secretly trying to outlast the Game of Life and if anyone can do it you can! I wish you and Bea my very best. Stay young at heart and keep on playing. Your friend always, Mike Gray, Still playing daily.
Hi Reuben, My name is Gray, I’m extremely grateful to support your legacy by working on the Design & Development team that is responsible for Game of Life. When people ask what I do for a living, I often mention Game of Life, then their face lights up, and they always have a fun & heartwarming anecdote about playing the game. Congratulations on your positive impact on the world, I feel very fortunate to support the work on this wonderful game, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! All the best, Gray Bright
Happy Birthday, Reuben!!! - Ron Cantor
Happy 99th birthday, Reuben! I remember when we first met, you were the head of Eldon Toys and I tried to place an item with you. I forgot what it was, you said no, but that started a long great relationship between us. Now we are both approaching our hundredth journey around the sun! - Eddy Goldfarb
I remember how excited Reuben was when we first introduced him to The Game of Life CD-ROM game. Reuben loved how we “brought to life” his game. The PC version offered a 3D game board and also features a unique "car cam" perspective, allowing you to see through your token's windshield. Other enhancements included a soundtrack reflecting the game's different time periods and hundreds of board game animations. It was a fun brand extension of Reuben’s brilliant Game of Life game. Happy birthday Reuben! Thanks for all the fun you provided the world. All the best, Tom Dusenberry (Former Parker Brothers Inventor Relations and CEO of Hasbro Interactive)
Happy Birthday, Reuben! All the best, Stephen Baker
Happy Birthday Reuben and thank you for making my life more fun thanks to your inventions! - Andrew Darlow
From George Burtch, close friend of Reuben and worked with him when he was at Hasbro...
When I was ten years old my father took a job as a Production Supervisor at Milton Bradley. Shortly after that, THE GAME OF LIFE became one of my favorite games. I then went to work at Milton Bradley in 1973 as summer help in the warehouse. That summer lasted until the end of 2012. The Game of Life has always been important to me as it was the game that represented the company, that I spent my career with.
As we approached Toy Fair 2000, I was in my new role of Director of Inventor Relations for Games. It was at that Toy Fair that I met Reuben Klamer for the first time. He was soon to be 78 years old. I had no idea that was the beginning of one of the most meaningful relationships that I would have in the Toy Industry.
Before my first visit to see him in California all the things I had heard about Reuben over the years were reinforced. I was told that he is tough, he is difficult, and he can be unreasonable. They were right about him being tough, but only when he had to be. They mistook his passion for being difficult, and his commitment to nurturing the brand of THE GAME OF LIFE as being unreasonable. They forgot to mention that he was smart and if you do not believe me, give him a call. They forgot to mention he was kind, and generous, and witty. They forgot to mention that his eyes sparkled in a way that you always wondered what he was thinking. They also forgot to mention that I was going to meet with a man whom I would spend the rest of my LIFE respecting and admiring.
On June 20th Reuben Klamer celebrated his 99th birthday. He had received a wonderful birthday present earlier last week. The First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier District Court decision that Reuben Klamer was the sole copyright author of The Game of Life. But we knew that already. We also know that he is the inventor, the nurturer, the champion, and the face of The GAME OF LIFE. In addition to all he has done with THE GAME OF LIFE, he also designed props for the Man from U.N.C.L.E and Star Trek, invented the Fisher Price Preschool Trainer Skates, Gaylord the Walking Dog, Busy Blocks, the game of Summit and has lent his name to hundreds of other ideas, products, and programs over his wondrous career. He has also managed to become an iconic figure in the Toy Industry, treasured by all who have had the opportunity to interact with this wonderful man.
I have only known Reuben for 21 of his amazing 99 years. He is a good friend. I was able to be there when he was inducted into the Hasbro Inventor’s Hall of Fame. I was able to be there when he was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. I was honored to present him when he received the TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award. I was honored to introduce him when he was given an Entrepreneurship Award by the Fisher School of Business at Ohio State. I was honored to represent him at the Strong Museum when the GAME OF LIFE was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. I have seen him come off the stage with Vegas Showgirls, with a big lipstick kiss on his cheek, and patiently sign copies at of the GAME OF LIFE at that Vegas event and in the Hasbro booth at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. I have argued with him, laughed with him, given him bad news and given him good news. In all those occasions he has been forthright, funny when warranted, serious, when necessary, but always humble and grateful.
He served his country in WW II heroically diving into the water to rescue his shipmates. If you ever talk to him about that, do not tell him that you heard he “jumped off a boat”…he will tell you it was a ship and “he dove off”. He is a father, a grandfather, a mentor, an advisor, and friend. With Bea Pardo at his side Reuben’s arrival at Toy Fair became an event. Immediately after he received his TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Award, we honored him at Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket R.I. To say that he wowed the crowd would be an understatement.
Reuben certainly has had a wonderful LIFE. The most remarkable thing about Reuben is that he is not done yet! As you read this, he probably has Bea prepping his next big idea. Maybe they are planning a meeting with the 100th or so person they have dealt with from Milton Bradley/Hasbro over the past 61 years. Hopefully, he is taking some time to relax and reflect on all he has accomplished and more importantly to appreciate what he, Reuben Klamer, means to all of us.
Please join me in congratulating our friend and colleague Reuben Klamer for 99 incredible years. As yes, I am making travel plans, because on June 20, 2022, I will be in San Diego celebrating Reuben’s 100th birthday.
I hope to see you there.
Happiest of Birthdays, Reuben! I will never forget the long line of people waiting to meet you at our Chicago Toy & Game Fair. The line wrapped around the Hasbro booth and out the front door. People could not wait to tell you how important The Game of Life was in their lives. And, both your TAGIE Awards speech for Lifetime Achievement and your toast to Eddy Goldfarb for his Lifetime Achievement were memorable. Thank you for your advice and support throughout the years. Now it is your turn to stop and look around at all you have accomplished and see your many accomplishments and the many people who love you. –Mary Couzin, President of the Reuben Klamer Fan Club
Happy Birthday, Reuben! It was both an honor to finally meet you and enjoy an extraordinary and fun dinner at Torrey Pines with you and Bea, where my favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, is the pro. I will never forget that evening. Thank you! May you enjoy many more birthdays! –Nick Couzin
(If you would like to join us in wishing Reuben a Happy 99th Birthday, send your notes to mary @ chitag.com)