October 14 - 21, 2022
Welcome to Your Weekly News Brief!
Happy Bloomin’ Friday!
We are super excited to announce this year’s TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Honorees! This year’s theme is “The Great Reconnection,” and the most connected of us all are three legendary multigenerational toy-business families. Alan Hassenfeld, Leslie Scott and Kantaro Tomiyama will be receiving TAGIEs for their decades of brilliance and service to the toy and game industry! Join us on November 19th to celebrate their and their families’ achievements. CLICK HERE. A press release with more awesome details will be sent out next week.
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"I don't know anyone in the industry that doesn't read the Bloom Report." -Ken Lewis, President, 4Kidz, Inc.
Columnist - Nancy Zwiers
Travel--The Best Way We Grown-Ups Play!
My partner Jim and I just returned from a 3-week trip to Central Europe—and I’m reminded once again that travel is the ideal way we adults engage in the three most fundamental play patterns:
Exploration & Discovery
Challenge and Mastery
Imitation Role Play
Exploration & Discovery
We had the privilege of exploring five cities in four countries—Warsaw, Krakow (including Auschwitz), Prague, Budapest (including the village Szentendre), and Vienna. Each city had its own unique beauty, culture, history and “Wow-I’ve never seen that before!” experiences. Once we leave the airport (or train station or exit ramp), our excitement about exploring and discovering sets in and doesn’t let up until we depart.
Person of the Week - TOMY's Julie Gwaltney
Planting Seeds of Change
Hi Julie! Thank you for taking time to speak with us. Tell us about your career in toys!
My first assignment at RC2 was the Lamaze brand, Ironically, I came full circle with TOMY’s re-launch of Lamaze this fall. While at RC2, I also worked on the Thomas the Train Take Along business and preschool licenses like Bob the Builder, Super Why, and Dinosaur Train. I was also part of the team that launched the Chuggington brand globally. After RC2, I consulted for various companies in both the toy and baby space, eventually landing at Sassy Baby where I worked on bath and toys, establishing their licensing efforts around publishing, layette, bedding.
My heart has always been in toys, so when TOMY came with the opportunity to get back into the segment, I jumped on it. TOMY’s mantra is to “make the world smile” and that truly is what I love about my job. Whether it is helping bring a smile to a new mom when her baby hits a milestone or impressing a Super Mario “kidult” fan with our Club Mocchi-Mocchi- plush characters – I love knowing we can bring joy to people of all ages and stages in life.
Financial and Legal
Wilko has called in advisers as the company explores cost-cutting and restructuring options in an effort to improve its balance sheet. The high street retailer, which includes a toy department among both its in store and online offerings, is reportedly seeking cost-cutting and restructuring options right across the business. Advisers from Teneo have been engaged to assess options for the retailer.
***The above posted after Octover 21st***
Toys R Us signs exclusive UK sub-licence agreement with WHSmith. The new sub-licence agreement will see Toys R Us concessions installed at nine WHSmith locations across the UK. Digital-first eCommerce direct-to-consumer retailer, Toys R Us ANZ Limited has announced that it has signed an exclusive sub-licence agreement with WHSmith High Street Limited to trial nine Toys R Us store-in-store concessions in the UK.
The merger between Maped and Juratoys reinforces the vision shared by both companies around awakening and developing children’s talent. The association of these two French businesses operating in separate distribution channels also creates long-term synergies. Within this framework, activities related to academic learning will continue to be managed in Argonay, while the Juratoys site in Orgelet will remain the...
Asmodee Group acquired VR Group, a wholesale distributor of gaming products in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, to aid in Asmodee’s expansion of its mass-market distribution of tabletop games, trading cards, and collectibles in these specific locations. As a games publisher and distributor, Asomodee sold more than 39 million games in 2020 and its products can be found in over 50 countries.
European production and distribution giant Fremantle is looking to expand into Latin America and India, with “organic growth” and acquisitions on the cards. Fremantle CEO Jennifer Mullin, talking on a MIPCOM keynote, said the company was on track to hit the €3bn annual revenue target by 2025, which was set by parent RTL Group last year, but added that further deals were being explored.
In a private transaction, Genius Brands International, a global kids’ media company, has repurchased 419,336 shares of common stock from an entity owned by Harold and Jennifer Chizick, former executives of the company. The share repurchase was made as part of comprehensive settlement agreement resolving certain employment-related claims made by the Chizicks against Genius Brands, as well as...
After years of litigation, Toys R Us’ creditors reach resolution with former execs. A years-long lawsuit against former executives and directors of Toys R Us reached a resolution on Friday after a bankruptcy judge approved a settlement between the litigants.The lawsuit, filed by a trust representing former creditors to the retailer, many of them suppliers, grew out of the retailer’s Chapter 11 case that began in the fall of 2017.
Liz Truss resigns: PM's exit kicks off another Tory leadership race. Liz Truss has resigned as prime minister after 45 days in office marked by turmoil, triggering the second Tory leadership election in four months. Ms Truss said her successor would be elected by next week after a rebellion by Tory MPs forced her to quit. Boris Johnson is among MPs said to be considering bids but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has ruled himself out.
Microsoft says UK regulator's concerns over Activision Blizzard deal are "misplaced". Microsoft has sought to counter arguments made by UK regulator the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) that suggest its pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard could harm rivals, and in particular leave PlayStation maker Sony at a significant disadvantage.
Bicycle purchases Bored Ape #1227 for playing card collab. Bicycle Playing Cards, a heritage Cartamundi brand that’s more than 130 years old, purchased Bored Ape #1227 in early June of this year. As its latest step into Web3, Bicycle selected an ape donning holographic eyeglasses and a joker card in his helmet.
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***The above posted after October 21st***
Trends, Market Research, and State of the Industry
***The above posted after October 21st***
SEPTEMBER 2022 NPD BOOKSCAN - TOP 20 AUTHOR, MANGA, SUPERHERO GRAPHIC NOVELS Lots of 'Sandman' and Webtoon Collections
Stories, Comments, and Advice
A new Star Wars film is in the works, with prolific scribe Damon Lindelof co-writing the script and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy directing, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. Lindelof’s involvement in a Star Wars feature has long been rumored, with Ms. Marvel director Obaid-Chinoy’s involvement a new development first reported Sunday night by Deadline.
How Therapists Are Using Tabletop Games to Help People. AS TABLETOP ROLE-PLAYING games (or TTRPGs) continue to grow in popularity, mental health professionals have been adapting them to enhance their practices. In a therapeutic setting, TTRPGs like Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) give clients a safe space to explore everything from gender to social skills—and have fun while doing it. Adam Davis founded Game to Grow ...
***The above was posted after October 21st***
John Baulch, Toy World UK - I didn’t see that coming …it’s the Friday Blog! I’ve spent a few years in the toy trade, so you would think by now I would be able to spot things coming a mile off. Yet this week has seen some twists that I just didn’t foresee on any level. For instance, I had only been discussing at a client meeting the previous day how I thought it was likely that Toys R Us would strike a deal to take over retail space within...
Remote work likely contributed to a mini-baby boom in 2021 among women in the U.S. — a reversal of a years-long decline in the birth rate, according to a working paper published by three economists this week. Why it matters: It's surprising. Economists predicted a crash in birth rates at the outset of the pandemic. The quick economic recovery and the rise of remote work may have changed the trajectory, the authors say.
How to Keep Your Jenga Tower From Toppling. Tl;dr: It helps to understand the basic physics of the game. Fun fact: Jenga, the popular block-balancing game, got its name from the Swahili word kujenga, which means “to build.” Swahili is one of the languages that Leslie Scott, the game’s creator, grew up speaking during her childhood in Africa. Jenga is an appropriate name, considering that even as blocks are carefully...
Why YouTube went on an egg-venture with Goldieblox. The platform’s global head of kids and family, Craig Hunter, tells us why its latest original checks all the boxes for "view and do" content. During the pandemic, instructional YouTube videos were gold for many families, providing both entertainment in the moment and something to do afterward. At YouTube, there’s a more official term for it, and that’s “view and do.”
ATSUKO OKATSUKA TALKS HBO COMEDY SPECIAL, HER GRANDMOTHER AND HER LOVE FOR KEWPIE. Atsuko Okatsuka, one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch for 2022,” graces the latest cover of Contrast Magazine, wearing the first inclusive jewelry collection by Kewpie® x ONCH. Airing this December, fans will be able to watch Atsuko’s standup comedy special on HBO Max.
History and Nostalgia
Revisiting the Playground. We might think that the playground is the natural place for children to play: swings, slides and roundabouts are widely seen as the essential features of a public play space for children. Nonetheless, the present-day playground is the culmination of over 150 years of debate about where and how children and young people should spend their time when not at school or work.
History of Board Games: Why Is Losing Fun? Who really is responsible for Monopoly? What's happening in our brains while we play board games? Why are cooperative games like Pandemic, Gloomhaven, Arkham Horror, and Hanabi so popular? Is it fun for everyone to lose? Welcome to the History of Fun, a new series about the history and science of humans' favorite ways to have a good time.
Yakkity Yob from Eldon Industries. Yakkity Yob was a whimsical robot toy with dreams of becoming a real, live boy. (“Yob” spelled backward is “boy”). Released in 1961 by Eldon Industries, the 13.5-inch tall robot was designed and patented by Marvin Glass & Associates. His high-impact blue styrene frame was complemented by chrome-plated trim and a comical human face with red hair, a single gold tooth, and green eyes.
The Funky Phantom Game from Milton Bradley (1971). Released in 1971 by Milton Bradley, The Funky Phantom Game roll-and-move board game invited players to explore a spooky home. The object was to release the Funky Phantom ghost from the grandfather clock at the strike of midnight. The board game supported the animated Hanna-Barbera series of the same name.
‘The Toys That Built America’ returns for second season on the History Channel. The History Channel is taking an even deeper dive into the backstories of America’s most iconic toys. Last fall, the channel debuted a four-part docuseries called The Toys That Built America. Now, the show is coming back for a second season that’s twice as long. Across eight new, one-hour episodes, the series will cover the stories and rivalries...
Licensing and Entertainment
BBC AND DISNEY BRANDED TELEVISION JOIN FORCES ON DOCTOR WHO. Disney+ To Become New Global Home For Upcoming Seasons Of Doctor Who Outside The UK & IrelandBBC Continues As Doctor Who's Exclusive Home In The UKNew Episodes Will Premiere on the BBC and Disney+ in late 2023.
Lisle Licensing, the UK merchandising agent for video game brand Tetris, has focused its efforts on securing new partners and renewing successful existing partnerships for the brand during 2022. Lisle says enthusiasm and consumer interest in Tetris remains high, demonstrating the continuing popularity for gaming, which fits perfectly with the brand’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
Addo Play has entered into a three-year agreement with Spin Master, as an official licensee of the Fuggler brand in worldwide territories. Alongside continued sales to retailers in the UK, Canada and Australia, Fugglers will be available on Amazon, specialty channels and collector sites in the US from Q4 through distributor ESKA, with more territories planned to follow. This licensing agreement covers Fuggler plush...
Mattel celebrates 40 years of E.T. with new collectible plush. E.T. has charmed audiences of all ages since it was first released back in 1982, with this year marking four decades since the movie and its loveable alien first landed. The beloved 80s blockbuster E.T. returns to UK cinemas this year to charm a new generation of moviegoers, as well as allowing older generations to relive the nostalgia of the blockbuster movie.
Barbie: Epic Road Trip is the first Netflix special from the Barbie franchise as part of a multi-year content partnership between Mattel Television and Netflix. Barbie: Epic Road TripDebuting globally on Netflix yesterday (25th October), Barbie: Epic Road Trip is the first interactive special for the world-famous Mattel IP.
Asmodee and ITV partner on new I’m a Celeb jungle game. Based upon I’m A Celebrity…, Jungle Hat Dunny Star Hammock is based on Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza and tasks players with completing ‘trials’. A simple, no fuss and easy-to-play card game, Jungle Hat Dunny Star Hammock is inspired by the ever popular Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, which fans have described as ‘filled to the brim with hand-slapping mayhem’.
Coming off of its recent Emmy Award win for Outstanding Short Documentary for Through Our Eyes, Sesame Workshop, the producers behind Sesame Street, announced the start of Season Two production of the docuseries. Through Our Eyes is an intimate and inspiring journey into the lives of American families, from the perspective of children themselves as they navigate formidable yet all-too-common...
Mattel announced that it has renewed its licensing partnership with The Pokémon Company International in the building sets category. Through the agreement, Mattel will continue to produce its popular Pokémon toys and building sets under its MEGA property. As a partner to The Pokémon Company International and by way of its MEGA brand, Mattel has over the years produced buildable characters, playsets, building...
Following the success of Monster High The Movie, Nickelodeon and Mattel Television announced that they have greenlit a sequel to the live-action movie musical. Based on the iconic Mattel franchise about the children of famous monsters and creatures, the feature-length TV movie will begin production in January in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and will air on Nickelodeon and stream on Paramount+ in 2023
Make-A-Fort has announced a partnership with Minecraft, one of the most popular games in the world, and a major source of joy for millions of players. Since Minecraft was released, people of all ages have happily spent hours gathering, crafting and building with friends. This holiday season kids can finally walk and crawl inside a Minecraft Explorer Kit available for order now in the US and Canada at www.makeafort.fun.
Academy Award-nominated French animation studio Xilam Animation has secured a wave of new int'l broadcast deals for its hit CGI preschool comedy Oggy Oggy following the success of the show’s first season on Netflix since it debuted globally in Aug 2021. The new broadcast partners for Oggy Oggy include Clan/RTVE (Spain), RTS (French-speaking Switzerland), Hop! (Israel), Sony YAY! (India), Daekyo TV (South...
Following a successful partnership surrounding the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla brand universe earlier this year, Ubisoft and global technology company, Fabacus, are again joining forces in celebration of the Assassin’s Creed 15th anniversary, in a deal brokered by IMG. As part of a six-month celebration of activity of one of the most beloved game series of the last decade, Fabacus and Ubisoft will be working...
Robosen Robotics announced that they have once again collaborated with Hasbro to create an awe-inspiring, interactive Transformers robot – the new Elite Optimus Prime. Fans of the original cartoon and blockbuster movies can now enjoy bringing to life the leader of the Autobots with this collectible robot featuring advanced programmable capabilities, voice-activated interactions and state-of-the-art...
Toynamics celebrates success of Nanoblock licensing. Toynamics has seen Nanoblock go from strength to strength in the UK, thanks largely to its successful licensing programme for the brand. The world’s smallest micro-sized building block (4mm x 4mm x 5mm) lets children and kidults aged 12+ construct amazingly detailed and realistic three-dimensional creations, which are fun to build, display and collect.
Studio 100 locks in more distribution for its Heidi pic. Film distributors from Europe and the Middle East have signed on for the upcoming adaptation of the classic novel, which will premiere theatrically in 2024. Heidi—Rescue of the Lynx is aimed at kids ages five to 10 and their families. It’s slated for a 2024 release, with Belgium’s Fabrique Fantastique (Sir Mouse) on board as a co-producer.
From toys to apparel, BBC Studios is ensuring its hit preschool property Bluey has a presence in every consumer products category, welcoming 12 new licensees to the fold that will roll out products this year and next. The CP program’s latest partners in the US are Ground Up (footwear), Little Kids (outdoor toys), Megatoys (seasonal gift sets), PTI (Easter baskets), Spirit Halloween (costumes and accessories), ...
The popular entertainment brand Gracie’s Corner signed with digital-creator management firm Underscore Talent and global talent, entertainment, and sports company UTA. “Gracie’s Corner,” an animated world created by 10-year-old Graceyn “Gracie” Hollingsworth and her educator parents, was designed to entertain and educate kids through music, dance, and creativity.
Netflix has bought seasons two, 3 and 4 of the preschool series Molang from French animation studio Millimages. The SVOD, which had already acquired the first season in 2019, will launch the next 3 worldwide on Nov 1. With a total of five seasons so far, Molang stars a rabbit—who is gender-neutral with no nationality—and a shy chick who sometimes needs help seeing the bright side of life. Together they deal with...
Brit free-to-air channel Tiny POP has picked up Billy the Cowboy Hamster from French distributor Dandelooo. The 2D-animated series (52 x 11 minutes) follows along with Billy as he roams the Wild West in search of thrills and cowboy adventures with his earthworm and ferret sidekicks. Dandelooo’s studio OoOlala is co-producing the project with Belgium-based Digital Graphix, Atmosphere Media and pubcaster RTBF.
Collectibles giant Funko and UK-based 10:10 Games have signed a deal with NBCUniversal to incorporate characters and locations from its catalogue of films and movies into the upcoming video game Funko Fusion. The new action game has a AAA budget (a category that starts at US$50 million), and is set in a world made up of different NBCUniversal brands.
***The above posted after the Bloom Report sent on October 21st***
Studiocanal has renewed its global deal with Nickelodeon for season 3 of animated series The Adventures of Paddington. Variety magazine reports the renewal comes as Studiocanal has also unveiled a raft of second window deals on Season 1 after the title’s hugely successful global roll-out of seasons 1 and 2 by Nickelodeon. The news also follows Studiocanal’s announcement in June that Dougal Wilson will direct...
Funrise is partnering with Paramount Consumer Products — the licensee of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) — to release a line of classic and movie-inspired TMNT cars. The new collaboration will include an assortment of die-cast vehicles; rip-cord, pull-back, and gyro vehicles; playsets; and remote-control vehicles. Kidult collectors and those new to the brand...
Mickey Mouse Funhouse’ Season Two Begins November 4th on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. A new season of Disney Junior’s Mickey Mouse Funhouse, the whimsical animated series from Disney Branded Television that has amassed over 110 million views to date across digital platforms, will premiere Friday November 4th, at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, timed to Mickey’s birthday month.
Get ready to meet Zappy, the mysterious laser boy of space, from the land of the Forgotten Future. GoHero, makers of pop culture collectibles, partnered with Atomic Toybox Entertainment, producers of animation and live-action entertainment brands, for the launch of new property and toy line Forgotten Future. The story explores a boy cursed with cosmic secrets of a Martian invasion that threatens humanity...
Holiday Hill Farm’s Spookley the Square Pumpkin Has Expansion in Video, Music Streaming Distribution. Halloween is for everyone! Holiday Hill Farm – home of beloved holiday icon Spookley the Square Pumpkin (www.spookley.com) – has announced a major expansion in distribution for its animated music videos and live-action shorts, as well as the memorable music featured across all of its content.
Walmart Launches Category First with Sproutlings – All Natural Crayons, Arts & Crafts. Walmart has partnered with Sproutlings to offer a category first at all its stores nationwide – natural crayons and arts & crafts. A category first in Walmart, which to date has been dominated by one brand (Crayola), Sproutlings brings customers premium natural crayons at an affordable price point.
9 Story Distribution International is pleased to announce that the beloved preschool series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has been picked up by CBeebies and is now available to children across the UK on BBC iPlayer. After premiering on PBS KIDS in 2012, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is now in its sixth season and distributed in 180 countries around the world. The series is co-produced by Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story....
Baby Shark swims in new waters on Arabic VOD Shahid. On the heels of a Brazilian expansion last month, Pinkfong is now investing in localization for the MENA region with its first Arabic dubs for the preschool IP. The Pinkfong Company has partnered with Saudi media conglom MBC Group to make its content available on Arabic-language streamer Shahid. As part of the deal, the SVOD is picking up nearly 500 episodes ...
Lion Forge Animation and Nine PBS, a Missouri affiliate station of the US pubcaster, are joining forces to shine a spotlight on Black voices and literacy with a new IP that’s designed to expand into a 360-degree franchise. The first Drawn In animated short is already online, with more episodes to come. They will be released in the future on the Nine PBS channel. And the partners are also planning print and digital comics...
Designer Happy Meal toys from McDonald’s being listed for as high as $300K online. Toys from McDonald’s adult Happy Meals are now being listed in the thousands of dollars on bidding websites after the limited-edition boxes sold out earlier this month. The fast-food giant collaborated with designer streetwear brand Cactus Plant Flea Market to release the “Cactus Plant Flea Market Box” on Oct. 3.
Italian kids content producer/distributor Mondo TV Group has partnered with Paramount-owned AVOD Pluto TV to bring a number of its titles to Pluto in Latin America and Europe. In LatAm, Pluto TV picked up live-action comedy-drama Heidi Bienvenida (60 x 45 minutes), which targets kids ages eight to 12, along with 2D-animated Sissi the Young Empress (78 x 11 minutes), aimed at kids ages four to seven.
PBS KIDS has greenlit a new series of animated shorts focused on teaching kids about civics. City Island (20 x three minutes) will put a spotlight on topics such as city planning, how communities work and conflict resolution. New York-based Augenblick Studios and Future Brain Media are producing the shorts, which will launch on PBS KIDS in December 2022 and January 2023. Aaron Augenblick (The Jellies!) created the ...
Da Vinci pre-buys educational comedy Fantastic Antics. France Télévisions greenlit the 2D-animated French toon about time-traveling explorers, and Da Vinci plans to air it worldwide. France Télévisions commissioned the 26 x three-minute series from Les Films Jack Fébus. Aimed at six- to 11-year-olds, the slapstick adventure follows a trio of explorers who travel through time to learn about different cultures and eras...
Italian prodco Brand Cross has tapped Mondo TV Studios to manage distribution for its new 2D-animated series Leo’s World, about a boy on the autism spectrum learning to manage his emotions in imaginative ways, everywhere in the world except Italy, Vatican City, Malta and San Marino Republic. The first season (10 x 12 minutes) is a co-production with Italian pubcaster RAI Kids, and will debut there November 28...
Mubadala finances reboot of popular Arab series Mansour. The sci-fi action-adventure show, which has millions of YouTube subscribers and draws big numbers on OSN, is getting a new series from Bidaya Media, Top Draw Studio and Baboon Animation. It revolves around a 12-year-old boy who accidentally creates an evil technology called Blink. With the support of his closest friends, Mansour must face the chaos and danger...
Literary classic The Three Musketeers will entertain a new generation of kids in a girl-powered, CG-animated series for ZDF, France TV and RAI. Produced by France’s Mediawan and its Italian production company Palomar, the series (52 x 11 minutes, pictured) is aimed at children ages five to eight and features the iconic swashbucklers as girls adventuring through France trying to defend the young King Louis XIII.
Brand New, Action-Packed Animated Series ‘Digital Girl’ Now in Production. A Productions, a leading UK-based animation production studio, and Cyber Group Studios, a leading producer and distributor of animated programs for kids and families, are proud to announce the start of production of the brand new adventure-comedy superhero series, Digital Girl. Commissioned by BBC and pre-sold to Super RTL and Discovery...
Prime Video Rings in the Holidays With Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge, Premiering December 13. Prime Video has announced the premiere date for its upcoming unscripted competition series Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge, along with the competing bakers. Hosted by actress, author, producer, and Emmy award-winning host Tamera Mowry-Housley with baking icons Clarice Lam and Joshua John Russell as judges, all eight...
ZAG and multinational food-products corporation Danone have partnered to bring a range of healthy foods and beverages to children and families across Spain and Portugal. Three of the Danone’s product lines—Actimel, Font Vella, and Danone Natural Yogurt—will feature the superheroes from ZAG’s flagship property, Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.
DEAPLANETA TO LEAD GLOBAL EXPANSION OF WONDERPALS NFT BRAND. Started as a non-fungible token (NFT) company last October, WonderPals aim to bring kindness and joy to both the physical and digital worlds. They can be used as avatars in the metaverse and serve as a pass to the inclusive online and offline community. After the brand launched its NFT collection in February, all 10,000 NFTs sold out in seconds.
Pop music girl group XOMG POP!, led by social media star JoJo Siwa and her mother, Jessalynn Siwa, is partnering with entertainment licensing agency and production company Thomas Global Media to announce the first wave of licensing deals for the group. This group of licensing partners includes Moose Toys as the master toy licensee. Moose’s full toy line for the group will be available in 2024.
Empire, Odeon, Picturehouse, Showcase, The Light and Vue will start screening Pip and Posy’s animated antics from 21st Oct, initially for a two week period. Pip and Posy’s Cinema Show brings the duo’s special brand of play to the big screen for an hour of fun consisting of seven episodes, plus games and a singalong. BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated production company Magic Light Pictures holds the global...
BBC Children’s has ordered three new kids factual entertainment series for CBBC and CBeebies, as well as commissioning another seven My Life documentaries. First up in the just-greenlit column is live-action series Treasure Tales (30 x 14 minutes) from UK-based Screen Glue. Aimed at kids ages zero to six, this series follows two friends who discover new stories as they find lost treasures such as a mysterious hat...
Rubies is branching out into new product categories with the release of the Kidrobot plush collectibles range. A world leader in fancy-dress costumes and accessories, Rubies is introducing the officially licensed collectible plush in a range of sizes and characters, from the biggest brands in entertainment including Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Sega. Known as The Phunny range, the hand-held plush...
Canadian broadcasters TVOKids, Knowledge Network and TFO have commissioned a new preschool series called Mia & Codie from Epic Story Media. Animated by Vancouver’s Relish Studios, the CG-animated series (40 x 4.5 minutes) centers around an eight-year-old girl who builds a robot to be the little brother she has always wanted. Together, Mia and Codie solve everyday problems through coding.
Disney has greenlit new multi-cam comedy series Pretty Freekin Scary from UK-based CakeStart Entertainment and Cloudco Entertainment in the US. Targeting kids ages six - 14 and their families, the 20 x 30-minute series follows along with a 14-yr-old girl who dies but is allowed to return home as a regular girl with two guardians from the underworld. She has to adapt to her new life while attending high school...
Another music icon is becoming a doll. Tina Turner is joining Gloria Estefan, David Bowie, and Elvis Presley in Mattel’s Barbie Signature Music Series. The new doll is specifically designed after Turner’s iconic outfit that she wore in 1984’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” music video. Designer Bill Greening says, “We started it right about the time she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [as a solo artist in 2021].”
Renegade Game Studios unveils three new expansions. Renegade Game Studios unveiled three new expansions for the G.I. Joe, Power Rangers, and My Little Pony deck-building games. These expansions are all headed to retail in Q4. G.I. Joe Deck-Building Game: Coldsnap features a classic plotline where Destro has a weather-dominator device and is freezing out the world. Players have to defeat Destro, and then, battle Zartan and his Dreadnok gang before the world descends into turmoil.
‘Rocket League’ reveals playable horror legends. Video game developer, Psyonix, has announced horror villains, Billy The Puppet, Chucky, Leatherface and Sam are taking over “Rocket League” to headline the annual Haunted Hallows Event beginning Oct. 19.
This year’s Haunted Hallows in-game event will feature new event challenges with horror villain-themed items, a collection of new content in the Item Shop, a new Arena Variant, two Limited Time Modes (LTMs) and Golden Pumpkins.
Ravensburger to release two new ‘Minecraft’ board games. Ravensburger, publisher of board games, toys and puzzles, will release two new cooperative “Minecraft” tabletop titles: “Minecraft”: Portal Dash and “Minecraft”: Heroes of the Village. “‘Minecraft’: Builders and Biomes was a huge hit, and we heard from fans that they loved fighting mobs and also wanted a game for younger players,” says Cassidy Werner, head, games, Ravensburger, North America. “We decided to give them both.”
People of Play
Fred Rogers Productions has named Mallory Mbalia to the newly created position of Director of Learning and Education. In her new role, Mbalia will work to expand the company’s “neighborhood” of educational partners and advisors as well as collaborate with its production; marketing, communications, and engagement; fundraising; and licensing teams. She reports to President & CEO Paul Siefken.
Warner Bros. Pictures has named longtime executive Jesse Ehrman as head of production and development. In the new role, he will oversee a slate of upcoming kids films, including Coyote vs. Acme and several Mattel movies. Upped from an EVP position, Ehrman has been with the studio for 16 years. His EP credits include films such as Scoob! and Tom & Jerry (pictured), as well as an upcoming Sesame Street movie.
Distribution Solutions, a leading Distribution and Fulfillment Operation is excited to announce the recent hire of Bruce Sawinski who will be the Vice President of Sales and Purchasing. Mr. Sawinski has worked in the E-commerce industry for over 10 years, most recently as Director of Purchasing for a large 1P E-commerce company. In his new role as Vice President of Sales and Purchasing, Mr. Sawinski will join...
TALKIN’ TOYS: A FIRESIDE CHAT WITH RUBIK’S CUBE INVENTOR ERNŐ RUBIK. In partnership with CAMP, Spin Master hosted Twist, Turn, Learn: Meet Ernő Rubik, a New York City-based event that allowed kids and toy enthusiasts to meet the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube: Professor Ernő Rubik.
***The above posted after October 21st***
Rubies appoints Jose Cano as new head of Operations. From the acquisition of a new warehouse in Northern Europe to overhauling its entire distribution network in order to maintain an industry-leading level of service, Rubies has been making significant investment into the redevelopment of the operations side of business. Jose Antonio Cano who joins as head of Operations for UK & EU, brings with him a wealth of...
Top Marketing Talent Launches Think Brilliantly, a Marketing and Creative Agency. Think Brilliantly is a new marketing and creative boutique agency that provides a wealth of expertise for brands looking to elevate their marketing performance and boost their competitive edge. Outsourcing a company’s marketing needs presents opportunities for growth by having readily available access to expert knowledge...
Santa Claus’s tomb has been discovered – and you can visit. Archaeologists claim to have found the grave of Saint Nicholas beneath a church in Turkey. Kids, don’t let anyone tell you Santa Claus isn’t real. Or, more accurately, that he wasn’t real (bit morbid, soz). Archaeologists are claiming to have found Santa’s tomb beneath a church in Turkey – and you can actually visit it.
Companies and Brands
Brighton Zoo will combine the creative firepower of industry stalwarts Dominic Minns and Juliet Tzabar and their award-winning Brighton team with the resources of Blue Zoo, to create a regional powerhouse of animation. The idea behind the new Brighton studio is to provide a space outside of London for flexible hybrid working, where artists can get together in an environment where they can produce...
Just in time for a season of indoor crafts and activities, PlayMonster announces the launch of their newest Crafty Cakes and Little Knitty Bittys brands for families looking to create fantastic decorative cake designs, or adorable yarn outfits for an animal friend! Whatever your crafting interests, if you love adorable crafts, you’ll love these! Crafty Cakes and Little Knitty Bittys are set to introduce a world of exciting activities...
FAO Schwarz, NYC’s most iconic toy store and the oldest toy store in the U.S., celebrated 160 years of toys and inspiring awe and discovery in October, and everyone was invited! At their flagship store at Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwarz hosted a free, family-friendly event on Saturday, October 8 to celebrate FAO Schwarz Day with the most epic birthday party. The celebration took over Rockefeller Plaza...
Snakes & Lattes Inc. Announces Nomination at Industry Prestigious Annual TAGIE Awards Alongside Disney, Hasbro and Barnes & Noble. The annual TAGIE awards held in Chicago are a significant industry showcase. There are 9 categories and many household names are in the lists of nominees. It is an honor to be a finalist in the ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ category along with other industry giants such as Disney (Star Wars)...
Podcast creator Fool & Scholar Productions is pivoting from its usual adult target demo to deliver its first-ever kids audio drama podcast with a consumer products approach focused on interactivity. Aimed at kids ages three to 12, The Boar Knight chronicles the adventures of a wild boar, a gnome and a dwarf, who face dangers in the magical kingdom where they live more or less harmoniously.
All a-board: families travelling by ferry can enjoy Asmodee games. Wightlink Ferry passengers can choose from a carefully curated selection of some of Asmodee’s most popular family friendly games. Dobble, one of Asmodee’s most popular games, and Wightlink are joining forces in a bid to make ferry travel to and from the Isle of Wight even more enjoyable for families, and to get ‘More People Playing More Games More Often’...
After being launched in 2001, MGA Entertainment’s millennial property Bratz is celebrating its 21st birthday with all the passion for fashion the brand has maintained throughout the years. While the property has been rebranded and relaunched a few times during the line’s life span, today the gals are as popular as ever.
***The above posted after October 21st***
Amazon UK reveals its Top 10 Toys for Christmas. Ocean predators, airborne avocados and dentist kits are among the picks to make Amazon UK’s list of Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2022, made up of predictions by Amazon experts. This year’s top 10 list captures the latest in toy trends including pretend play, top franchises like Star Wars, tech-led educational toys, and toys under £20 that offer both great value and fun.
Bananagrams have been a staple in family game nights for 15 years now. To celebrate the milestone, Bananagrams is releasing a deluxe, new design for the spelling game. The Bananagrams Signature Edition is the same game kids know and love, but so much fancier. There are 144 letter tiles in a warm brown color with gold lettering and 10 luxe tiles featuring a Bananagrams logo. Players can use the luxe tiles to...
Floatie Kings, the company known for its custom and branded pool floats, is releasing winter inflatables to decorate yards or up families’ sledding games. In 2015, Floatie Kings had its start with custom pool floats. The company prides itself on offering luxury floats, with a focus on social media and artist collaborations. After playing in the pool for seven years, Floatie Kings is now expanding its inflatable offerings to...
LA-based Toybox Labs has landed its first retail partner after selling direct-to-consumer for six years through its e-commerce site. The company’s namesake 3D printers are hitting shelves in CAMP stores this week across the US, just in time for the holiday season. Using demo stations installed at CAMP stores, kids can try out the product for free and print a custom name tag or a toy that takes less than five minutes...
Blu Track. A small toy manufacturing company in eastern Iowa plans to devote its entire shift on Friday to building and packaging several hundred race car kits that will be donated to local Toys for Tots campaigns. Amy Belding, spokeswoman for Blu Track, says the Anamosa factory makes flexible two-lane racetracks that allow kids to race two cars at once, side-by-side.
Google is bringing a set of new kids-focused features such as parent-controlled watchlists and AI-powered suggestions to Google TV, the latest in a series of efforts from the Android-maker as it attempts to broaden the offerings of its TV operating system for family consumption. The company said it is adding these features to the kids’ profiles to improve content recommendation and exploration. Parents can directly push...
TTPM 2022 Holiday Showcase Highlights. TTPM, a leading outlet for the latest news, reviews and anything else for toys and licensing, has thrown another successful Holiday Showcase, where they exhibited their most wanted toys list for this holiday season. This year’s event drew a wide crowd of exhibitors, influencers, media, and more to see all the up and coming product for Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.
Hess Corporation announced its Holiday ‘22 season with the release of the Hess Flatbed Truck with Hot Rods on sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com with 9 Energizer batteries included. Anticipate those sights and sounds on Christmas morning with the 42 lights and 4 realistic sounds from this revved up 3-in-1 toy truck set. “Gift givers will cherish joyous moments of the kids immersing themselves in...
Pittsburgh’s own Fred Rogers Productions (FRP) recently relocated to the SouthSide Works neighborhood to a workspace that is both practical and cost-effective while fostering creative inspiration important to the company’s mission of providing quality entertainment for children and their families. Designed with Pittsburgh’s R3A Architecture and Workscape, the new office environment takes its inspiration from FRP’s...
TOYS ‘R’ US AT MACY’S TAPS INTO THE GHOST OF RETAIL PAST FOR A HINT AT CHRISTMAS FUTURE. Shortly after Macy’s and WHP Global inked a partnership deal last year to bring Toys “R” Us into hundreds of Macy’s stores, I told Retail Dive that there was real potential to celebrate two storied retail brands — particularly when you combine the powerful forces of two iconic personalities: Santa Claus and Geoffrey the Giraffe.
Makeship is taking advantage of its plush rush and turning to vinyl. Launched in 2018, Makeship is a crowdfunding platform primarily known for giving content creators, such as YouTubers and Webtoon authors, a space to develop limited-run plushies for their fans to purchase. The platform is now expanding into offering vinyl figures.
The Lil Wish Lanterns are a new line of collectible toys distributed by Intersell. There are two different parts to any Lil Wish collection: the lanterns and the Wishimals. There are four different lanterns to collect from the four lands of Wishlandia: Friendship, Love, Courage, and Happiness. The key to Lil Wish Lanterns are the Wishimals, creatures that kids put in the lanterns that reflect and play with the rainbow light.
Melissa & Doug, an educational preschool toy brand, is expanding its operations to Oracle Cloud to integrate a new, globally-based business model. Through sectors of Oracle Cloud, including Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and Oracle Autonomous Database, Melissa & Doug can improve cost efficiency within its business and encourage better ways to support its rapid growth...
Author Giovanna Fletcher and YouTube star MC Grammar hosted the event to mark the launch of best-selling children’s brand Tonies in Hamleys. Giovanna Fletcher and MC Grammar hosted the event. A star-packed Gruffalo-themed storytelling session was held at London’s Regent Street store to mark the launch of Tonies at Hamleys and to celebrate the recent NPD data revealing Tonies to be the fastest-growing toy...
L.O.L. Surprise! fashion show heralds release of new movie and toy line. Gok Wan and Katie Piper were joined by 10,000 fans at Westfield, London for a L.O.L. Surprise! fashion event, which also previewed the brand’s latest products. Fashion icons and confidence advocates Gok Wan and Katie Piper were joined by 10,000 fans at the L.O.L. Surprise! fashion show at Westfield London on Sunday.
UK-based Guinness World Records is launching GWR Studios, a new production arm that will focus on developing content for broadcasters and digital platforms. The division is also interested in developing new kids and family content, a spokesperson confirmed to Kidscreen. The studio will be helmed by Karen Gilchrist (VP of television and digital) and Kathryn Hubbard (head of content licensing).
Paramount UK announces Peak Sustainability strategy. The Paramount strategy, established to accelerate change, comprises seven key climate action pledges including reducing carbon emissions. The new commitment is designed to drive collective change across Paramount’s UK business and with its suppliers, partners and audiences. Peak Sustainability informs part of a longer-term vision for parent company...
The Vivid Toy Group partnered with Merlin Venues at the London Eye to take VIP guests on a sky high journey above London. The event featured branded Sky Dancer activities, themed catering and the chance to get hands on with the five fluttering fashionista dolls in the collection: Fuchsia Fantasy, Miss Mint, Sapphire Sparkle, Coral Cutie and Purple-Licious. A host of celebrities including Anna Nightingale, Vanessa Feltz,..
Nickelodeon, in partnership with the South Korean-based Pinkfong Company, has announced that it is debuting a brand-new Baby Shark float balloon hybrid at the 96th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, New York. Doo-do-do-do-doo! The brand-new Baby Shark float will feature characters from the beloved preschool property Baby Shark's Big Show.
Build-A-Bear’s CEO Is Not Giving Up on Malls. Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John talked to TheStreet about the toy market. Launched out of a Missouri mall in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop has followed the changing face of retail over the last two decades. Earlier this week, chief executive Sharon John Price John rang the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
Kids content to remain ad-free on Netflix. Since Netflix first announced it would be offering a lower-priced AVOD tier, advertisers and kidcos alike have wondered what it would mean for younger-skewing content on the platform. But as the launch of the new tier approaches, the streamer has confirmed to Kidscreen that it will not display ads in kids’ profiles, or in any content aimed at viewers ages 13 and under,...
Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us are returning to the UK with the launch of digital flagship e-commerce websites for both properties. Parent company of both brands WHP Global and Toys “R” Us ANZ Limited — the exclusive license partner for the brands in Australia and the UK — took note that the total addressable market for toys and games in the UK for 2021 was £3.7 billion, representing the largest toy market in Europe ...
Mattel Creations releases Virgil Abloh Masters of the Universe expansion. The latest expansion from Mattel Creations is the Masters of the Universe c/o Virgil Abloh “TOY,” which the company describes as ‘a four-piece drop in multiple dimensions’. Throughout this project, legendary designer Virgil Abloh had access to Mattel’s Masters of the Universe world and got the chance to explore his love of youth culture and...
LEGO unveils new ‘Iron Man’ Hulkbuster set. The LEGO Group has announced its latest LEGO Marvel Studios release – The “Iron Man” Hulkbuster set, featuring Iron Man as he appeared in the movie “Infinity Saga – Age of Ultron.” The red and gold set depicts the MK44 – the 44th version of the “Iron Man” suit consists of 4,049 pieces and stands 52cm tall. It features posable arms, a light brick on the chest and two light...
Calico Critters launches new direct-to-consumer website. Epoch Everlasting Play’s Calico Critters welcomes its fans to experience their favorite animals in a different way with a direct-to-consumer website. The new site gives consumers the opportunity to purchase the full roster of connectible and collectible dolls and playsets, as well as exclusive access to limited-edition items that will be introduced year-round.
Toekenz Collectibles LLC, Mattel reveal first-of-its-kind partnership. Toekenz Collectibles, as well as its digital collectibles application, has revealed a new partnership with Mattel. As a non-fungible token (NFT) platform, Toekenz will collaborate with Mattel — the first toy company to launch NFTs — on making blockchain-based digital collectibles for kids. Toekenz is committed to ensuring a safe and fun environment for kids to...
Grey Fox Games reveals 'Ragnarocks' for retail. Grey Fox Games revealed Ragnarocks, a new area control board game, for release into retail on October 25, 2022. In Ragnarocks, players assume control of a Viking clan that is using Runestones to mark claims to their territory. They worship powerful beings from another realm, who can help them gain power to outwit their rivals.
Mantic Games will release new 'Kings of War' two-player starter set 'Sands of Ahmun'. Mantic Games will release Sands of Ahmun, a new Kings of War Two-Player Starter Set, into retail in November 2022. Sands of Ahmun is an entry level product for Kings of Wars that allows two players to pick up and play. This boxed set features a battle in the wastes west of Ophidia between the Empire of Dust and ogre mercenaries.
Rio Grande Games reveals its 'Fancy Feathers'. Rio Grande Games revealed Fancy Feathers, a new card game by Friedemann Friese, which will hit retail in December 2022. In Fancy Feathers, by the order of a Baroness, players must mobilize to look for noble pheasants along a path. It is a fast-paced collection where players try to land on cards on this path to catch the most beautiful birds and score points.
Gaming: Digital, Video, Hardware, and Development
Can Netflix reclaim the ‘Netflix for games’ crown from Xbox Game Pass? Netflix wants to try where Google Stadia failed. Just a few weeks ago, Google publicly retreated from cloud gaming with the surprise announcement that it would be shutting down Stadia. By throwing in the towel, it seemed like Microsoft, which has made cloud gaming a perk but not its primary focus for Xbox, has the best chance at...
Microsoft is building an Xbox mobile gaming store to take on Apple and Google. Microsoft is building an Xbox mobile store to directly offer games on mobile devices, challenging Apple and Google. The software giant first hinted at a “next-generation” store it would “build for games” earlier this year but has now quietly revealed details of the plans in filings with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Netflix has 55 more games in development. Netflix currently has 55 games in development, including additional games based on Netflix franchises, the company said in its investor letter released Tuesday (PDF). The company only really got serious about gaming with the initial release of its Android and iOS lineup late last year, but the commitment to even more games signals Netflix has been pleased...
Overwatch 2 reaches 25 million players in 10 days. Blizzard has announced on Twitter that Overwatch 2 has reached 25 million players in its first 10 days of launch. The free-to-play shooter released at the start of October, and had an initially rocky launch period. Its issues have ranged from multiple DDoS attacks to its SMS Protect system not letting players access the title if they used prepaid phone plans.
Highlighted Press Releases
MINING FOR A “BIG” HOLIDAY GIFT FOR AGES 8 & UP? MAKE-A-FORT HAS REAL-WORLD MINECRAFT KITS! Move The Couch, Alert The Cat As Kids Get To Build On The Rec Room Floor An Actual Mineshaft, Villager House, Cave or First Night House! Andover, Kansas (October 26, 2022)– Today, Make-A-Fort announced a partnership with Minecraft, one of the most popular games in the world, and a major source of joy for millions of fans. Since Minecraft was released, people of all ages have happily spent hours gathering, crafting and building with friends. This holiday season kids can finally walk and crawl inside a Minecraft Explorer Kit ($99.99) available for order now in the US and Canada at https://www.makeafort.fun.
GOOD TIDINGS WE BRING TO YOU AND YOUR KIN: CREATEON® HAS HANDS ON FUN FOR EVERYONE! Got A Four & A Forty-Four-Year Old? Giftwrap Magna-Tiles® Structures® Gifts From CoComelon To Daniel Tiger To Custom Photo Tiles! Wheeling, IL (October 24, 2022) – The merry sounds of the holidays in the home can range widely from Dr. Seuss’s® How The Grinch Stole Christmas! to The Beatles. Every age and every stage have their favorite way to relax and recharge. CreateOn’s colorful creation studio has an exciting assortment of screen-free gifts to wow every person on your list, conveniently, at https://www.createon.com.
***The above posted after October 21st***
STRING THE TINSEL THEN GIFTWRAP THE TANGLE® TO MAKE SPIRITS BRIGHT FOR ANYONE ON YOUR LIST. Of All The Toys On The Market, Tillywig’s 2022 Best Creative Fun Award Goes To Tangle Original With Texture “To Heighten The Senses And Brighten Your Day, No Matter Your Age” We’ve all been there. Staring at a holiday gift list for every stage and every age from the neighbor’s child to your boss. Tillywig Toy & Media Awards has discovered the ideal present that’s actually been around for decades! Tangle® Original With Texture ($30) just snared the prestigious Fall 2022 Tillywig Best Creative Fun Award. This fresh reincarnation of the original fidget toy wowed Tillywig judges who see every new idea on the market!
BUCKLE YOUR SEAT BELT SANTA! ORDERS BEGIN TODAY FOR 3-IN-1 HESS FLATBED TRUCK WITH HOT RODS. A New Generation Gives Nostalgic Nod: A Retro-Design Racing Dream Team Loaded with Flashing Lights & Realistic Sounds. New York, NY (October 17, 2022) — Hess Corporation announced its Holiday ‘22 season with the release of the Hess Flatbed Truck with Hot Rods on sale exclusively at HessToyTruck.com for $41.99 plus tax with free standard shipping* and a whopping 9 Energizer® batteries included. Anticipate those sights and sounds on Christmas morning with the 42 lights and 4 realistic sounds from this revved up 3-in-1 toy truck set!
Gray Matters Games, a Glen Ellyn, Illinois-based game publisher, announced the release of Word Wipeout, a new, fast-paced word game in which players race to collect the most letters by spelling a word related to over 200 fun categories. The rounds get progressively more challenging as fewer letters remain in a race to get the word out! Word Wipeout is the result of a wonderful collaboration between Gray Matters Games and the College of DuPage. What started as a capstone project for three students, Jess Pistone, Samer Abdelmalek and Elizabeth Mendoza, is now a game that will be sold nationwide in the US and Canada at Barnes & Noble and Indigo along with hundreds of independent toy & game stores. The students won the College of DuPage award for best packaging and received incredible real-world experience by taking a game from concept to finished product.
Safety and Counterfeiting
ZAG’s Investment in Brand Protection Removes Over $100 million in Counterfeit Product Listings for Flagship Brand ‘Miraculous’
Award-winning global independent animation studio ZAG has prevented counterfeit Miraculous products valued at $113 million+ from entering the global marketplace in the twelve months since establishing a zero-tolerance anti-piracy department. The announcement was made by Jeremy Zag, Founder and CEO, ZAG.
***The above posted after October 21st***
Early Learning Centre Little Senses Lights & Sounds Shape Sorter toys due to choking hazard; manufactured by Addo Play; sold exclusively at Amazon.com. This recall involves the Early Learning Centre Little Senses Lights and Sounds Shape Sorter toys. The toy has a white and gray base, holds six colored, shaped pieces with lights, and makes sounds and music. “Little Senses” is printed on the side of the base. The toy was marketed for children between ages 6 to 36 months of age. The item code for the sorter toy 82756 is located on the base of …
Associations, Shows, Awards, Events, and Festivals
Top Gun jacket auction raises £18,500 for charity. Two leading figures from within the toy and licensing communities hoped the auction of the movie memorabilia would raise money for industry charity The Light Fund to help it achieve its £250k English Channel Relay Swim Race 2022 fundraising goal. Mark Kingston and Wow Stuff’s Richard North not only surpassed the £5,000 target but managed to get a second...
The Canadian Toy Assn announced the 2022 inductees into the Canadian toy industry Hall of Fame. Monika Merz, Former President Toys "R" Us Canada & CEO of Toys "R" Us Asia Pacific as well as Spin Master co-founders, Ronnen Harary, Anton Rabie, and Ben Varadi, will be showcased and awarded for their contributions to the industry on Nov 17, 2022, at the Hall of Fame Gala Reception and Dinner at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed
If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.
Stevanne Auerbach aka Dr. Toy - (Tribute by Jacqueline Fulmer, Ph.D., Director of Omnidoll Research.) Pioneering mass media toy reviewer and early childhood studies author, Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., known to her readers and viewers as “Dr. Toy,” passed away in San Lorenzo, CA, on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at age 84, due to complications from stroke.
Stevanne Auerbach was an accomplished speaker, consultant, and author, who had trained in child development and special education. Her works ranged from the esoteric: editing volumes on early childhood studies; to the practical: handbooks on the Peace Corps, careers in Home Economics, physical education for differently abled children, and the search for quality childcare; to the creative: a children’s book (The Alphabet Tree, 1988), a novel (The Contest, 2009), a book of poetry (Petals, 1973), and a screenplay. Her title, “Dr. Toy,” dated to her first assignment with Creative Playthings in 1968, where she developed its first education marketing program. She became one of the first mass media “toy reviewers,” evaluating toys, publishing articles, and appearing on radio and television in American markets from coast to coast, from 1986 to 2018. When her distinctive gold foil “Dr. Toy Award” stickers appeared on retail products, consumers would know that they were purchasing a quality toy that would enrich their children’s lives.
To have known Stevanne was to experience her enthusiasm for the value of play in everyone’s lives and her generosity in helping people at every stage of their lives.
Stevanne is survived by her husband Ralph Whitten, daughter Amy Beth Auerbach, grandson Josiah Metz, and sister Judy Schwartz (Martin Schwartz).
Stevanne was born to Jeane Sydney Rosen Stockheim and Nathan Carl Stockheim on September 22, 1938, in New York City. She was raised in Juniper Park in Middle Village, a newly developed neighborhood in the borough of Queens in New York City. Her mother spent most of her career working in public health, and her father worked as a firefighter and math and science teacher. READ MORE...
Carl Woodiwiss. Toy World is sad to report the recent untimely passing of Carl Woodiwiss, a much-loved and highly respected member of the A.B.Gee sales team. Carl Woodiwiss worked at A.B.Gee for over 20 years during which time he met his wife of 12 years, Cath, with whom he had two children, Lucy and Jack.
Carl started off working in the model department at A.B.Gee, where his knowledge of cars, kits and collectibles was second to none, and it was this that helped Carl build up a remarkable rapport with the many customers he looked after.
Colleagues at A.B.Gee say Carl was a natural salesman, full of enthusiasm and always took great pride in representing the company at London Toy Fair, the Toymaster Show and The Toy & Gift Show. Carl had such a good relationship with his customers that he still kept in close contact even when he moved on to the Toy side of the business. He was very concerned that he might lose contact with customers whom he considered to be his friends, but this was never the case and he ended up making many more close connections with his new customers too.
Paying tribute on behalf of the A.B.Gee team, sales manager Andrew Hardwidge said:“Carl was a fantastic colleague and a dear friend with a great sense of humour. He had a heart of gold and a twinkle in his eye when he spoke about Cath and the kids, whom he loved very much. He will be greatly missed by his co-workers, customers, friends and most of all his family.”
Carl’s wife Cath has set up a JustGiving page with donations going to Cancer Research UK as this was a charity close to Carl’s heart
Kazuki Takahashi was killed trying to save people from drowning, according to new reports. The Manga artist is best-known for creating the Yu-Gi-Oh series, which went on to spark a lucrative card game and anime which became a worldwide phenomenon in the early 2000s. Takahashi died on July 4 this year, with his death provoking an outpouring of love from fans of the series, those who were inspired by him, his friends and family. It is now being reported that the renowned artist died while trying to save other from drowning at a popular dive spot in Japan.
Takahashi reportedly dumped into the water to save a US soldier, an 11-year-old girl and her mother who had got into difficulty at the swimming spot. Major Robert Bourgeau spoke to military newspaper Stars and Stripes where he said the 60-year-old had tried to rescue people caught in a riptide but drowned when he got into difficulty himself.
Diana Wallman - Toy World is sad to report that UK retailer and toy industry veteran Diana Wallman has passed away after a short illness. Both Diana and her husband Ken have been fervent supporters of the Fence Club since Ken joined in 1989. The couple were regular supporters of functions until they moved to Australia about 10 years ago. Clive Jones of The Fence Club shared the sad news with members who knew the couple.
Many will remember Ken and Diana’s successful toy shop, Young Folk, and their sports shop, in West Wickham. Diana was heavily involved in both businesses; she loved working in the shops and being part of the wider toy trade through the Fence Club and the BATR. The couple were members of Upper Thames Wholesalers and subsequently Youngsters for many years.
Clive, a friend of the couple, explained that Ken and Diana were in the UK for their granddaughters wedding in July which they thoroughly enjoyed. Before they left Australia for the occasion, Diana had been given the news she had terminal cancer.
Following the wedding, the couple decided to stay on in the UK to catch up with family and friends, however, in late August, Diana’s condition deteriorated suddenly and their plans were put on hold. “Sadly, she continued to decline very quickly and then entered a hospice a few weeks ago,” explained Clive. “Ken says the care she received there has been fantastic and it was a very peaceful last few days.”
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