Joe was born Dec. 29th, 1908 in Quezon City, Philippines, the youngest son of Marcello and Perpetua Radovan.
Joe's parents were merchants and raised him on their rice and sugar cane plantation. After graduating from high
school, Joe's dream was to attend college in America. Joe and his friend Ruben Delagana arrived in Los Angeles in
1929. The stock market crashed and Joe's plans for an education ended. Ruben and Joe parted ways looking for
Joe headed for Wisconsin looking for his childhood friend Pedro Flores. Pedro had sold his yo-yo company to
entrepreneur and inventor Donald Duncan. The yo-yo was new to America but the Filipinos were quite skillful in
playing yo-yo. Duncan hired numerous Filipino men to demonstrate their skill with the yo-yo. These young men
performed like a vaudeville act, traveling the world performing yo-yo tricks. Living like celebrities, the
demonstrators traveled in new cars, wore tailor made suits, ate in the finest restaurants and lived in the best
hotels during the depression years. The yo-yo had become an international craze. Duncan sent these young men all
over the United States, Europe, South and Central America. At one time in his life, Joe spoke eleven languages.
He performed for Royalty while in Europe, perhaps this is where he got the name Royal.
In 1935, Joe and Mr. Duncan parted ways. Joe opened his own company, Royal Tops Manufacturing Company based out
of Long Island City, NY. It was then that Joe located his old buddy Ruben to become his partner. Ruben and Joe
set up a yo-yo factory in the industrial district, eventually buying real estate rental property and warehouses.
The partners worked in tandem; Ruben managed the factory and real estate. Joe worked sales, promotion and
marketing traveling the world.
While on a sales trip to Jacksonville, Florida, Joe met his wife to be Alice Louise Sanchez. They married on May
1st, 1948. The following year, Jo Ann was born and Joe moved his family to New York. Two years later, Tom was
born. Royal Yo-Yo and Royal Spin Tops continued to prosper in the early 1950's. Joe patented his new line of
Chico Yo-Yo. Tragically in 1955, Joe lost his wife in an accident. He focused on taking care of his young
children and building Royal Yo-Yo.
The yo-yo business flourished. Joe made regular appearances on live television, The Ed Sullivan Show, Name That
Tune, What's My Line and later, The Johnny Carson Show. He also made numerous appearances on BOZO the Clown and
several other children's programs. Joe also ran commercial spots on local TV where he ran campaigns.
Joe traveled extensively running two-month yo-yo campaigns along the East Coast. For the most part, Joe worked
alone. He periodically hired demonstrators in certain locals to follow up with sales. His strategy was to
approach Five & Dime retailers and candy stores to purchase his yo-yos. He offered the managers a money back
guarantee to purchase back any left over inventory. He parked outside an elementary school and began to play yo-
yo. He gathered a sizeable crowd of children who wanted to purchase yo-yos and then directed the children to the
nearest retailer. With his commercial spots running and weekly contests Joe made phenomenal sales. Joe worked
diligently year after year often times selling in the same cities as Duncan. Eventually, Joe began to work in
Duncan's market area.
1962 was the biggest year ever for Royal Yo-Yo. Every yo-yo in every warehouse was sold including the rejects.
Duncan filed a lawsuit against Royal over the product name "yo-yo". Joe insisted that the word "yo-yo" was a
generic Philippine word. The battle raged for three years, eventually escalating to the Supreme Court of the
State of New York. The decision was in Royal's favor because of Duncan's slogan "If it isn't a Duncan, it isn't a
yo-yo". Duncan actually defined the yo-yo to be the name of the toy. Royal won the legal war over Goliath Duncan
but in the end both sides lost. The yo-yo business never recovered to its former days. Duncan sold out to
Flambeau. Royal continued to be in business for the next ten years.
The two friends and business partners were getting on in years. Ruben passed away in 1973. Joe continued working
for a couple of years longer but finally retired in Miami, Florida in 1975. Joe lived a full life in retirement
traveling the world and living near his son Tom and daughter-in-law Mary and their two children John and Emily.
He made numerous trips to Texas to visit Jo Ann and grandchildren Brian, Casey and Kristen. Joe spent his final
years enjoying what he always loved the most ... being with children.
Joe lived a long and fruitful and prosperous life. He left a wonderful legacy by putting smiles on children's