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The Friday Five: John O’Neil


John O’Neil brings toy collectors, manufacturers, and pop culture enthusiasts together at the Pop Culture Hall of Fame. Here, he highlights the importance of community building and creating a hub where everyone can enjoy shared experiences.

The organization was originally founded as the Toy Collector Hall of Fame; tell us about the evolution to the Pop Culture Hall of Fame.

We want to honour both the collectors and the makers. It became clear as we spoke with toy collectors that manufacturers deserve more recognition, so we set about to do just that. With toys inspiring television, movies, books, and other forms of media, it made sense to evolve our mission to the broader realm of pop culture.

The Friday Five

Who is the team behind the organization?

Together with Christian Braun, Founder and CEO of hobbyDB.com and Chair of the Pop Culture Hall of Fame we work to develop relationships with industry partners and community supporters – people with insight and expertise – to provide focus for the organization throughout the year.

The Friday Five

Why should pop culture be celebrated with a Hall of Fame?

To put it simply, pop culture makes up our day to day lives, especially now with the explosion of superhero franchises. More and more people embrace it every day. Small passion projects turned into comics, and decades later those stories still have an impact. It’s a transforming experience for people and pop culture bonds us together and drives conversation. It’s a community experience but it’s also very personal. Pop culture is the spice of life in many ways.  

The Friday Five

What’s the nomination process for inductees to the Pop Culture Hall of Fame?

Our network of partners and supporters drive the nomination process. We have discussions with them about who made a positive impact in a given year and who should be recognized for that contribution. We don’t know everything about everything; that’s why our community supporters are so important. Board to Death, Global Toy News, PopInsider, Pop Culture Network, The Toy Book, and many others with deep expertise contribute to the discussion.

The Friday Five

What can we look forward to seeing from the Pop Culture Hall of Fame in the future?

We want this to be a hub for folks throughout the different communities of collectors and pop culture enthusiasts. We want to bring them together to help us recognize and celebrate each other. Their activities have a bigger impact than they know. They contribute to a shared experience that impacts people. Let’s have fun with it! 

The Friday Five

Learn more about Pop Culture Hall of Fame on their website.

Five questions, one fascinating person (or team!) – look into the minds of movers and shakers in the nostalgia, game, play, or toy industry.