The Toys That Built America

New Season Sunday, October 23 at 9/8c and Stream the Next Day
Season 1 (4)

2 Seasons | 4 Episodes, 4 Unlocked

Episode 4 Board Game Empires
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Board Game Empires

Aired on Dec 19, 2021

After failing to make a living selling lithographs, Milton Bradley creates one of America’s first board games, which will go on to become one of the biggest of all time. But the Parker brothers threaten Bradley’s reign. But it’s a game about Monopoly that will upend the business. And in its earliest days, it might have been pirated from its true creator, who has been largely lost to history–until now.

Episode 3 Toy Car Wars
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Toy Car Wars

Aired on Dec 12, 2021

As car culture cranks up in the early 1950s, a young machinist in England invents one of the world’s most successful toys when he creates a toy car small enough to fit inside a matchbox for his daughter to take to school. In Los Angeles, Elliot Handler creates one of the biggest toy rivalries in history when he brings on a former missile designer to make a toy car behemoth of his own.

Episode 2 Clash of the Toy Titans
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Clash of the Toy Titans

Aired on Dec 05, 2021

As the post-war baby boom creates unprecedented demand for toys, Ruth Handler turns her greatest gamble into the most recognizable toy in the world. Meanwhile, rival Merrill Hassenfeld, at the reigns of a company that will one day be one the most famous brands in the world, tries to capitalize on Handler’s success to launch a military doll for boys–which is brilliantly rebranded as the world’s first “action figure,” and eventually spawns a tv series and a movie franchise. For decades, these two companies battle each other to dominate the toy industry. But when the cultural landscape shifts, they are forced to make desperate choices that ultimately earn their toys immortal status.

Episode 1 Masters of Invention
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Masters of Invention

Aired on Nov 28, 2021

The incredible creations of some of the most iconic toys in history happened by chance. During World War II, a naval engineer accidentally creates an iconic spiral toy that walks down stairs, when he’s trying to come up with a way to protect ship equipment from damage. At the same time, an engineer is trying to invent a synthetic rubber for the war effort and instead creates a strange putty that becomes another world-famous toy. It’s the origin stories of these toys and more, and the genius entrepreneurs who brought them to the world.

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