Etch A Sketch Video Celebrates the Toy's Inventor, Who Died Earlier This Year

Ralphie Aversa
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André Cassagnes is a French inventor, best known for creating the Etch A Sketch. Cassagnes passed away this past January at the age of 86. The toy maker is back in the headlines thanks to Christoph Niemann, who created a tribute to Cassagnes using his famous "magic screen."

Niemann starts the two-minute clip by demonstrating the basic movements of an Etch A Sketch drawing. The illustrator then displays more complex illustrations: toasters, hands making quotation marks, and pastry items.

It turns out Cassagnes' parents owned a bakery in France. The inventor was allergic to flour, which eventually led him to create the Etch A Sketch.

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The video, produced for the New York Times Magazine and uploaded to YouTube, also highlights the one thing you can't do well on the toy: draw a circle. These funny anecdotes are intertwined in the story of Cassagnes' life and career. He went on to become one of France's most famous kite makers.

At the end of the video, a man is holding a kite. A pair of scissors is shown cutting the kite string and the man flies away with the kite. The scene is captioned with Cassagnes' death on January 16.

Niemann wrote the story and created the animations. His work has also appeared on the covers of Time, Wired and the New Yorker. Niemann set the piece to "Gramercy Swing" by Martin Taylor and Jean Pierre Fabien.

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While its original incarnation from the 1960s might be the most popular, Etch A Sketch has evolved with the times. A digital toy called Wired Etch A Sketch connects to your TV. Yes, there's an app for that, too. Etcher started as a Kickstarter project with the blessing of the Ohio Art Company, which manufactured the first version. The app turns an iPad into an Etch A Sketch. You can even erase the screen just by shaking the device.

Etch A Sketch, by the way, is available for sale in a variety of colors.