Ode to the Pluto Platter
As the Northern Shenandoah Valley prepares for a weekend of an icy wintry mix, it sounds like a great weekend to make a big pot of chili or homemade veggie soup and hunker down for the Divisional games of the NFL Playoffs. There are some intriguing matchups , with Pittsburgh visiting KC, Seattle travelling to Atlanta, and Green Bay trying to knock off the Cowboys. I can’t imagine that Houston will give Tom Brady and the Patriots much trouble, but as they say, the games aren’t played on paper.
A quick check of the Shenandoah University basketball teams shows the men at a very competitive 6-8 and 2-3 in the ODAC, while the women are having a tougher time at 4-10, and 1-4 in the league. Good luck to both as they hit the road this weekend.
Now, on to today’s topic…
It was January 13th, 1957 that the Wham-O toy company first produced something called the Pluto Platter, which became the Frisbee. The Frisbee was actually invented in the 1930’s by a man named Fred Morrison, who sold the rights to Wham-O. The name “Frisbee” comes from the Frisbie Pie Company, who supplied pies to Yale University. It seems the students there were tossing the empty pie plates back and forth, which were stamped with the company name. Wham-O jumped on this, and the rest, they say, is history.
I think college life and Frisbee go together like hand and glove. I like to say that I majored in broadcasting, and minored in Frisbee at Alderson-Broaddus College (now University) in Philippi, WV. Upon arriving at AB on day one, one of the first things I did was to throw Frisbee in the courtyard of the men’s dorm with another student I had just met.
When I wasn’t in class or hanging out at WQAB, the campus radio station, I was probably throwing Frisbee with my pal John Sutton. He taught me how to throw “the thumber”, which is sort of an overhand way to toss the plastic disc. I got off some mammoth throws with this method. John was pretty good at trick catches between the legs, behind the back, etc., so between my prodigious throws and his circus catches, we often attracted an audience during our sessions.
Later in life I actually won some kind of distance award using “the thumber”method when I worked at the now-defunct WYII in Williamsport, Md. It was also at this station that we came up with our own Y-96 Frisbee Football team, challenging listeners to come up with their own teams and play us. Frisbee football is not to be confused with Ultimate, which is another team sport played with the Frisbee. We actually were pretty good, and because I could throw the Frisbee a mile, I was the QB. We even had uniforms, and somewhere I have a photo of me, Stacy Drake, Rick Edwards, and Steve Pennington stylin’ and profilin’ after one of our lopsided victories.
The Frisbee is so iconic that the name has become synonymous with it’s entire product-line. Even those sub-par promotional discs that are given away at grand openings and such are known as Frisbees. Very few products have risen to that status.
Thus, we say Happy Birthday Frisbee today! In the echoes of my mind, I can still hear John Sutton saying “hey man, lets go throw some Friz.”
Somehow, “let’s go throw some Pluto Platter” doesn’t have the same ring…
That’s it from The Booth…until next week, GO HORNETS!