The rubber duck “squeaked out a win” for a place in the 2013 National Toy Hall of Fame class inducted this month.
“That’s our mascot, our ambassador,” says Loretta Hoagland, co-owner of The River House Inn and The Old Town Inn in Florence. “We’re so proud!”
For nearly 10 years, each room at both inns has been accessorized with a three-inch tall, bright yellow greeter.
“He’s a festive touch of welcome and happiness for all our guests. He brings a smile to nearly everyone’s face. That’s why a rubber ducky greets every weary traveler upon entering a guestroom at one of our properties,” says Hoagland. “Guests tell us he ‘quacks them up.’”
However, there was one guest who was initially unimpressed…almost disgusted.
“She said she just knew the room hadn’t been cleaned and had proof. She marched down to the office, ducky in hand, and said a child had left his toy duck, and that was evidence enough that the room hadn’t been attended to before she checked-in,” tells Hoagland. “When our manager explained that our happy little mascot was in every room, the guest changed her tune and went away delighted with her new toy.”
The rubber ducky won out over a prestigious list that included bubbles, little green Army men, Nerf toys, the Pac-Man video game, the Magic 8 Ball, and the scooter. Many credit the “Sesame Street” character Ernie with floating the duck to international popularity with the 1970 “Billboard Top-40” ditty “Rubber Ducky.” The song made it to No. 16. To make the Hall of Fame’s list a toy must have achieved icon status, survived through generations, and foster learning, creativity, or discovery.