Preview: History’s ‘The Toys That Built America’ Supports Mission To Honor Initiative

News, Reality TV

This November, the inventors of the greatest toys of all time are coming to History Channel. And the network is honoring military families and additionally, through its “Mission To Honor” award-winning public outreach campaign.

The network is partnering with Blue Star Families as an extension of its longstanding commitment to giving back to those who served and are serving in the military with a donation of toys and educational items during the holiday season.

History sent TV Shows Ace the first look to see how American inventors elevated playtime with toys that challenged and inspired generations of kids to dream big and invent on their own.

About The Built franchise and The Toys That Built America

If you have observed children playing with toys or even remember your own experiences, the games and toys we played with as children served a purpose. They got imaginations and ideas started in young minds, and even older people enjoy board games and mechanical toys like trains and cars.

These early American toy inventors taught us to imagine to be adventurous and to have fun. They saw something that no one else saw and they dreamed big.

Did you know that Parker Brothers was a famous Salem, Massachusetts game board company started by brothers George, Charles, and Edward Parker in 1883?

George’s first game was one he called Banking. The game Monopoly became their most well-known board game.

And Alfred Gilbert was a doctor who invented the Erector Set back in 1913, and he had lobbied the Council of National Defense and Congress so that toys could be sold at times other than Christmas when America was embroiled in World War I?

History Channel continues the “That Built” franchise with the new four-part docuseries The Toys That Built America premiering Sunday, November 28 at 9PM ET/PT.

The docuseries is a dramatized look at the toy titans whose imaginations created build billion-dollar empires, as well as the rivalries that gave rise to the modern toy industry and the history of the visionaries behind iconic products like Monopoly® and G.I. Joe®.


History says:

Against the backdrop of major events in American history like the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, “The Toys that Built America” shares a story that brings nostalgic toys to the forefront as driving forces behind untold cultural and economic shifts. The four-part docuseries explores visionaries such as the Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley and Ruth Handler who transformed a small toy company into the billion-dollar empire known as Mattel®.

The docuseries covers the “little-known details behind groundbreaking innovations like the Frisbee®, and accidental discoveries like how the Slinky® was created.”  Additionally, the lesser-known stories of the competitive rivalries between iconic brands are shown.

The history lesson is told by dramatic reenactments and archival footage with interviews from experts, biographers, and others, each episode brings to life the surprising tales of the men and women who created some of America’s iconic toys including Silly Putty®, Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Matchbox Cars®, and other famous classics.

“Toys teach us to imagine, have fun and, most importantly, dream big,” said Eli Lehrer, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for The HISTORY® Channel in a press release to TV Shows Ace.

He added: “In ‘The Toys That Built America,’ we learn the fascinating history behind the inventors of some of the greatest and most ingenious toys of all time – many of which shaped our childhoods. As toys continue to encourage a new generation to dream bigger, we are proud to continue our commitment to honor and support military families by partnering with Blue Star Families to thank and give back to those who have sacrificed to serve our country.”

The military family connection and Baltimore toy event on November 22

History Channel continues its unwavering support for veterans and military families through the award-winning “Mission To Honor” public outreach campaign. And on November 22, History will take on the role of Santa Claus.

The generous toy and educational supply donations are made possible by the following brands: deuter, Basic Fun!, Educational Insights, Radio Flyer, Silly Bandz, Funko and the Sydney Paige Foundation. The Sydney Paige Foundation is a non-profit based in California dedicated to providing children in underserved communities with equal access to the tools and confidence needed to learn and thrive in school and in life.

History says:

In partnership with Blue Star Families, The HISTORY® Channel is showering veteran and military families with toys and educational items during a “Mission To Honor” philanthropic event on Monday, November 22 at the B&O Railroad Museum, the birthplace of American railroading, in Baltimore, MD. The CSX 1776 Pride in Service locomotive and holiday helpers are delivering these gifts in style to military families in attendance. The network is also pledging to donate $1 for every post on social media, up to $25,000, to Blue Star Families by encouraging viewers to share a photo, video or nostalgic memory of their favorite childhood toy using #ToysThatBuiltAmerica and tagging @HISTORY.

Sydney Paige has supplied over 1,000,000 brand new, high-quality backpacks and school supplies to students K-12. Blue Star Families founder and CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet said in the press release: “After coming off a highly successful Welcome Week last month where we created a moment of welcome for those 600,000 military members who move each year. We are continuing to welcome military families into their communities through exciting events such as this!”


The Toys That Built America airs Sunday, November 28 at 9PM ET/PT on History Channel.

April Neale

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