• Rob Goldberg Radical Play
  • Rod Goldberg Toy History
  • Rob Goldberg Radical Play
  • Rob Goldberg Toy Historian
  • Rob Goldberg Vintage Toys

More Than Child’s Play: Radical Play Brings Home Award

Rob Goldberg, historian and author of Radical Play, received a Ray and Pat Browne Award from the Popular Culture Association (PCA) during the organization’s March annual convention.

Founded in 1971 by Ray B. Browne (former professor at Bowling Green State University and internationally recognized authority in popular culture) and Russel Nye (former professor at Michigan State University), PCA promotes the holistic study of popular culture in literary, documentary film, and electronic reference formats.

Awarded in the category of best single work in popular culture and American culture, Radical Play explores children’s culture of the 1960s and 1970s. The book uncovers the connections between toys, play, societal evolution, and the era’s culture wars.

In an exclusive interview with Toy Tales, Goldberg explained the need to preserve the history of objects of play. He shared, “What I realized soon after I started the research was that almost no archival or museum collections have toys. One notable exception is the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, where I spent two weeks early on in my research.”

Published in 2023, Radical Play marries Goldberg’s work as a historian and educator and his interest in toys, a spark that ignited during childhood. He explains, “I grew up on Star Wars, GI Joe, and M.A.S.K. A few prize possessions from that era are my Sato doll from Karate Kid II, my Yoda figure, and perhaps my personal favourite, the Lone Ranger figure made by Gabriel. My father used to tell me about the Lone Ranger radio shows from when he was a kid in the 1940s, and so that figure also carried a different kind of nostalgia.”

Learn more about Radical Play on the book’s companion website.