Hall Of Fame


Blocks spelling WTHRA

Lawrence “Larry” Ades

He began his career in 1946 with Pensick & Gordon. He became President in 1962 and Chairman of the Board in 1980. Larry is the recipient of numerous awards.

Date of Retirement: 1982

William Bernstein

William “Bill” Bernstein

Bill began his career in 1948 in Los Angeles. He went from facilities offering 20,000 sq. ft. to 60,000 sq. ft. and eventually built a 240,000 sq. ft. facility known as Federal Wholesale. He was a pioneer in electronic toys, introducing them into our distribution pattern. Bill was a member in good standing in “March of Toys.”

Date of Retirement: 1985

Jacob Blatt

Jacob “Jake” Blatt

He began his career with the toy industry in 1918 as a buyer for a distributor in Pittsburgh. He became president of the firm in 1932 and moved to LA in 1948, eventually becoming President of Blatt Distributing.

Deceased: 1964

Jerome Blatt

Jerome “Jerry” Blatt

He began his career in 1947 as a distributor with the opening of 6,000 ft. warehouse in Highland Park. Progression was made to a final 300,000 ft. facility. Jerry was also President of the Toy Wholesalers Association from 1960 – 1965. Blatt Distributing was sold in 1984 when Jerry retired.

Date of Retirement: 1984

Jack Bozung

Jack Bozung

He began his career as a manufacturer in 1945. He started the printing and production of the first washable “Crayoff” crayons. He was of the first to promote toy TV promotions on his products. In 1959 he left manufacturing to become an independent sales representative. In 1961 he was back on TV with Duncan Yo Yo’s. Of his many awards, one he was most proud of was the “Distinguished Manufacturer’s Award.”

Deceased: January, 1986

Ira Cain

Ira Cain

He began his career in the toy industry with May Company in 1946. He was the toy buyer there for seven years, a toy factory representative for nine years and worked for Playskool for 21 years.

Date of Retirement: 1984

John Curtis

John “Jack” Curtis

He began his career in the toy industry in 1955 in Los Angeles as the Western Sales Manager for Ideal Toy Corporation. Jack continued with Ideal throughout his career.

Date of Retirement: July, 1973

Pete C. Dillman

Pete C. Dillman

He began his career in 1949 in Phoenix, Az. He moved to Denver acquiring Mountain States Sales Co., with eight western states to represent. Pete was one of the original founders of Rocky Mountain Toy & Hobby Association and held various positions in the Mountain States Pot & Kettle Clubs.

Deceased: July 1978

Henry Eudey

Henry Eudey

He began his career in the toy industry in 1952 as owner of the Tic Toc Toy Shop. In 1964 he became Manager of Toy House (F.W. Rush). Henry was the General Manager of Toy World from 1969 until 1981.

Date of Retirement: June 3, 1981

Chester A. Handler

Chester A. “Chet” Handler

He began his career in California around 1954 as an independent toy representative with Palmer Pann (predecessor of Craftmaster). After Craftmaster was purchased by General Mills he accepted the position of Regional Sales Manager for General Mills. He eventually resigned to resume his independent rep status.

Deceased: 1988

Meldean H. “Mel” Havelin

Meldean H. “Mel” Havelin

He began his career in 1927 at Bullock’s. Left to work for Arvid Rosen, only to return to Bullock’s in 1931. He went back with Rosen in 1937 remaining there until he enlisted in the Air Force in 1942. Upon his discharge he joined Bill Collin as an independent representative.

Date of Retirement: 1974

Duane Hedke

Duane “Sonny” Hedke

He began his career in the toy industry with Triangle Toy in 1956 as manager and went on as a manager to the Toy World stores. In 1956 he became Advertising Manager for South Bay Wholesale and in 1971 became the buyer for South Bay. Duane received several awards for his Doll and Plush knowledge.

Date of Retirement: 1983

Robert Hoeger

Robert “Bob” Hoeger

Bob began his toy career in 1956 when he opened and managed the first free standing toy unit for Rasco Company. He then served in its operations and buying division. He worked six years as merchandise manager for the Rasco Toy World stores. He became buyer for his last eight years.

Date of Retirement: 1981

Carl F. Kerske

Carl F. Kerske

He began his career in 1934 with the Boston Store in Milwaukee as a buyer. He moved to Arcadia in 1946 after accepting a toy and sporting goods buyer position with The Broadway Stores. He continued with Broadway until 1963. He was recognized as Man of the Year by the Toy Association New York Toy Show in 1951.

Date of Retirement: 1963

Edward J. McKelvey

Edward J. “Ed” McKelvey

He began his career in 1937 as a stock clerk for George Borgfeldt Corp. in New York then transferred to San Francisco in 1946. In 1954 he became an independent representative covering the 11 western states. Ed served on the Board of Directors for WTHRA for 15 years in charge of show booth assignments.

Date of Retirement: 1987

Milton Miller

Milton Miller

He began his career in the toy industry January 1, 1946. He and partner Bill Bernstein started Federal Wholesale and were the first to service the mass merchandiser – White Front Stores. They were acclaimed “The Leading Toy Distributors” on the west coast upon the sale of Federal and retirement.

Date of Retirement: September 1, 1986

Jack Pearlstein

Jack Pearlstein

He began his career in the toy industry as a toy wholesaler in 1948 in Paterson, New Jersey. Moved to LA in 1948 and started with Blatt Distributing as a salesman. He became an independent manufacture’s representative in 1950 and enjoyed many years of success. Awards include Champion of Communication, Toy Wholesalers of America and Distinguished Salesman’s Award.

Deceased: June, 1987

Samuel Pensick

Samuel Pensick

He began his career in 1925 with J. Halpern Company, where he was the areas youngest toy salesman. He became a sales representative for Ideal and eventually established the most successful toy wholesaling operation in the country, Pensick & Gordon.

Date of Retirement: 1979

Victor Petrone

Victor “Vic” Petrone

He began his toy career in 1948 selling excess bike stock for Sears. A short term partnership was formed with Ed Sweeting. In 1949 he attended the New York Toy Fair and returned as a rep selling third rate merchandise. He formed Victor G. Petrone & Company, with his son Jim joining him later. Vic was one of the original founders of WTHRA.

Date of Retirement: 1987

Francis W Rusch

Francis W “Bud” Rusch

He started his career in 1924 in variety (5 and 10) store business. He advanced to store management, merchandising, buying and district supervisor of the Northwest States. In 1950 he established himself exclusively in toys.

Date of Retirement: 1968

Jack T. Silverwood

Jack T. Silverwood

He began his career in the Toy Industries as a buyer for Cornet Stores in 1948. In 1952 he moved on to become buyer for Rasco Stores and in 1962 he formed Gamble Import Corp. with three others from Rasco.

Date of Retirement: 1977

E. L. Sweeting, Jr

E. L. “Ed” Sweeting, Jr.

Ed began his career in 1949 in Los Angeles with Petrone & Sweeting. He joined Knickerbocker exclusively in 1950. He progressed with Knickerbocker to Sales Manager and finally to Vice President and Director.

Date of Retirement: 1984

Howard Whitney

Howard Whitney

Howard began his career in the toy industry in Los Angeles in 1945 as an independent representative. He began by covering California and Arizona, switching to California, Oregon and Washington and ending with California and Hawaii.


Donald Zuckerman

Donald “Don” Zuckerman

His father was a toy wholesaler, with Don being exposed to the toy industry from early childhood in Paterson, New Jersey. He moved to California in 1977 where he became associated with Jack Pearlstein & Co. He became an independent toy factory representative in 1986.

Deceased: March 6, 1986

ToyFest West

is hosted by

Western Toy and Hobby Representatives Association

A non-profit organization