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Aug. 26, 1976: Paul Thompson, 27, of Minneapolis, practices a behind-the-back catch during the World Frisbee Championships at the Rose Bowl. This photo was published in the Aug. 27, 1976 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 27, 1977: Ashley Whippet, Frisbee catch-and-fetch champion, shows his form during Rose Bowl workout. This photo was published in the Aug. 28, 1977 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lee Romero / Los Angeles Times

July 26, 1983: Marcus Cisneros tosses Frisbee into the 18th "hole" at the disc golf course at La Mirada Regional Park. This photo was published in the July 28, 1983 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 19, 1977: Ray Cunningham, Wham-O's marketing director, examines a display case full of imitation flying discs produced by competitors of the famous Frisbee. This photo was published in the Aug. 28, 1977 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: R. L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 19, 1977: The Wham-O Frisbee logo is stamped onto molded plastic discs at a plant in San Gabriel. The discs are molded by subcontractors then labeled at the Wham-O plant. This photo was published in the Aug. 28, 1977 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: R. L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 14, 1988: Sam Ferrans, left, and Peter Bowie demonstrate a technique of freestyle Frisbee, bouncing the disc from one chest to another at the La Mirada flying disc course. This photo was published in the Aug. 16, 1988 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John Fung / Los Angeles Times

Nov. 2, 1969: Contestants at Frisbee Championship held at Brookside Park in Pasadena.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ben Olender / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

1977 photo of Ed Headrick, father of Frisbee golf, with discs. This photo was published in the Feb. 8, 1977 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Kathleen Ballard / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 23, 1974: The air at the Rose Bowl is full of Frisbees as Victor Malafronte, left, Lonika Lou and Che Quicksilver, all of Berkeley, practice for the World Frisbee Championships. This photo was published in the Aug. 24, 1974 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Cormier / Los Angeles Times

April 18, 1979: George Morris catches a Frisbee during a tournament at Fullerton College. This photo was published in the April 19, 1979 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Steve Rice / Los Angeles Times

April 28, 1994: An original Frisbee in packaging as sold in 1965 on display at the Wham-O company complex in San Gabriel. This photo was published in the May 5, 1994 Los Angeles Times

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Hyungwon Kang / Los Angeles Times

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Summer is here – time for a Frisbee photo gallery.

The Wham-O toy company’s Frisbee is a Southern California invention and fixture.

In an Aug. 14, 2002, Los Angeles Times obituary for Ed Headrick, staff writer Andrew Blankstein explained:

Headrick is credited with patenting the concentric, ridge-like rings that improved the aerodynamics of the discs first invented by Fred Morrison and marketed in the mid-1950s by Emeryville, Calif.-based toy manufacturer Wham-O.

Headrick is also credited with coming up with the idea for disc golf. He was co-founder of the International Frisbee Assn., the Professional Disc Golf Assn. and the Recreational Disc Golf Assn.

Frisbees, which took their inspiration from the metal pie pans thrown by Ivy League students starting in the 1930s, were introduced to the nation in 1957 as the “Pluto Platter.” The name was an effort to tap into the country’s fascination with space and unidentified flying objects.

When “Steady Ed” Headrick joined Wham-O in the 1960s, he created the “professional model” Frisbee disc design, which had better lift and could be thrown far greater distances than its flatter predecessors.

“When he did that, all of a sudden you had something that could fly with maximum height and distance,” said Peter Sgromo, marketing director for Wham-0. “And when kids got a hold of that, they had a great tool for legitimate sports.”

As sport combined with fad, the popularity of the Frisbee soared, and the discs could be spotted aloft in parks, beaches and college campuses. They also came to embody a freedom from the rigid rules of traditional American sports such as football.

Frisbees became, as Headrick told The Times in 1985, “the emblem of the unruly, something for people who were anti-everything to be pro-something.”

Ultimately, the popularity of the Frisbee transcended its anti-establishment appeal and Wham-O went on to sell more than 100 million of the professional model discs, which were first introduced in 1964. …

The full obituary Ed Headrick; Inventor of Pro Model Frisbee is online.

Yes we all refer to flying discs as Frisbees, but the word ‘Frisbee’ is a copyrighted trademark of the Wham-O toy company.

I am still looking for a Los Angeles Times photo of Fred Morrison, the inventor of the Frisbee.

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1 Comment

  1. June 16, 2015, 11:18 pm

    The sad thingi is that frisbee golf is going the way of the dodo — the Redondo Beach course is closed down because someone got hit by a Frisbee and filed a lawsuit against the city.

    By: unclesmrgol

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