- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- African leader cancels trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Sarah Palin’s online channel hits snag when Stephen Colbert buys similar URL
- SWAT spends seven hours in standoff with empty home
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Iran’s Rouhani: Israel, Islamic State are ‘tumors derived from the same origin’
- Rep. Tim Murphy: GOP knew HealthCare.gov would be an ‘unmitigated disaster’
- Political speak: Planned Parenthood dumps ‘pro-choice’ for ‘women’s health’
- U.S. attorney warns Cuomo not to interfere with anti-corruption probes
- Investigators reach Ukraine jet crash site
Inventor embarks on personal comeback with game
Question of the Day
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Before there was YouTube, the website, there was Utube the game, created by inventor Michael Hicks.
Now Hicks, who moved to Asheville six years ago, is hoping to make a big splash with the simple game, played with a bendable tube and rubber balls.
After creating the game in 1999 and watching it sell 40,000 units, Hicks struck a deal with a “major toy company” to sell it nationally and internationally. But the deal didn’t pan out, the company reverted the rights to Hicks, and now he’s selling Utube through Asheville’s Curio Toys.
“We are starting over,” Hicks said. “But the great thing is that there’s more potential than ever. If I could get one good viral video, we could sell 100,000 this year.”
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube didn’t exist when Utube first came to the scene, he said.
Beyond the game, Hicks himself has had something of a personal comeback in recent years, he said.
“I was in crippling pain for 17 years from an industrial accident when I was 20,” he said. “I weighed 340 pounds and smoked three or four packages of cigarettes a day. I was getting pain pills.”
He credits Asheville’s healthy living lifestyle with turning that all around.
“I quit smoking, quit fast food,” he said. “I learned from so many people in Asheville. I learned to calm down and breathe. Now I’m the most patient person around,” he said.
Hicks was living in Spartanburg, S.C., and between jobs when he had a “light-bulb moment” while fooling around with dryer hose. Adding a rubber ball to the hose, he decided there was something there.
“I have always had ideas, but this one was different,” he said. He worked out the patent application and got the game manufactured and on sale.
After creating Utube in 1999, he sold the game from 2000-04 and promoted it on “Good Morning America” and the QVC cable shopping channel, he said.
Utube is all about “hand eye coordination” as the ball is maneuvered in and out of the tube, he said. “It’s very simple, it just requires you to focus.”
Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world