Alexander Doll Co. Celebrates 90 Years with New Offices, a Limited Edition Anniversary Collection, New Licensed Products, and a New Product Category

The Alexander Doll Co. unveiled its new mid-town location, new doll lines, and new licensed products yesterday in celebration of the company’s 90th anniversary. Since 1923, the company has grown to include collectibles, play dolls, and baby dolls for girls of all ages. For this 90th anniversary, the company has developed an assortment of six dolls to commemorate the company’s history. Re-introductions of classic sculpts and characters included in this collection are a 21-inch Cissy in a beaded dress, inspired by a photograph of Madame Alexander from 1923; an 8-inch Wendy with a Tony Sarg inspired marionette theater; a classic McGuffey Ana; and an 8-inch Wendy and a 10-inch Cissy both dressed to commemorate the anniversary. Each doll comes with a commemorative hang tag and Certificate of Authenticity.

DorothyInThePoppyField

Also on the anniversary front, Madame Alexander has marked the 75th anniversary of two iconic movies, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, which were among the company’s first and longest continuous licenses. Each and every year since 1938, new designs have been added to these special collections, and this year is no exception. The three doll sets for Wizard of Oz collectors include a 10-inch Wicked Witch of the West with three 5-inch Winged Monkeys, a 10-inch Glinda the Good Witch withthree 5-inch girls of the Lullaby League, and a 10-inch Dorothy with three 5-inch Poppy dolls. For Gone With the Wind anniversary, the company has created a 21-inch Scarlett O’Hara resplendent in her white ruffled Prayer Dress.

SwanLakeOn the plush side, Alexander Doll Co. has responded to the concerns of modern parents relating to toy hygiene by developing a new washable dolls category. Machine washable and dryable, this collection includes the Wizard of Oz gang, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, and Angelina Ballerina. Alexander Doll’s 18-inch soft cloth play dolls include several new additions, such as Bedtime Angelina, Fancy Nancy, Marabelle, and Swan Lake Angelina.

Alexander Doll will introduce a new facial sculpt on their Favorite Friends line of 18-inch vinyl play dolls this year. Favorite Friends feature rooted hair, sleep eyes, a soft cloth body, five-way jointing, and stylish outfits. Separate outfits are sold and fit most 18-inch play dolls in the market. In addition, the Dollie & Me brand of 18-inch dolls complements an apparel collection of little girl dresses sold with matching doll dresses.

Hearts&RosesBaby dolls have been an integral part of the Alexander Doll Company since the 1930s. Doll ranges include My First Baby with painted eyes and hair, and Newborn Nursery, which are lifelike baby dolls with rooted hair, sleep eyes, and a selection of accessories and outfits.

The history of the Alexander Doll Co. is a tale of growth from a small doll company to one of today’s exclusive brands in the girls’ sector. Kahn Lucas Lancaster Inc., a global designer and wholesaler of branded girls’ dresses and fashion collections, now owns the company.

HIT, Lionsgate to Release New Children’s Titles

Barney and his friends discover that the sky is not the limit when you use your imagination in the all-new release Barney: Let’s Go To The Moon, arriving on DVD, digital download, and on demand January 8 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment and HIT Entertainment.

The film, suggested for children ages 1 to 4, has a run time of 65 minutes. For more information, visit www.barney.com, or check out Barney on Facebook.

Also from Lionsgate and HIT, Angelina Ballerina: Dance Around the World is slated for release on January 8 as well. Angeling Ballerina is a mouseling who knows how to celebrate the great big world of dance in this new five-episode collection.

The film, suggested for children ages 2 to 6, has a run time of 61 minutes. For more information, visit www.angelinaballerina.com, or check out Angelina on Facebook.

Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy Comes to U.S. and Canada

HIT Entertainment has tapped AB Studio Licensing to license a nine-month Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy curriculum to dance studios across the U.S. and Canada.  The Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy will commence this fall.

The 34-week program is inspired by the CG-animated series airing on PBS and Sprout, Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps, and it will focus on one story book per month. Targeted at children ages 3 to 6 years old, the program teaches beginner ballet at two levels. The Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy curriculum was developed by dance education specialist Beverly Spell, master teacher and author of the Leap ‘N Learn program. Angelina Ballerina’s voice will guide aspiring dancers through their movement lessons, and the program incorporates music from Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps, and custom music developed by Spell and composer Scott Killian. Participating studios will also have access to Angelina Ballerina posters and signage, costume items such as tutus and mouse ears, and placement mats.

To date, more than 100 studios across North America have applied to become Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy partner studios. The program already exists in the UK and Ireland, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy partner studios will also be listed in the national directory of official studio partners linked from the Angelina Ballerina website.

To learn more about the program or to find participating studios,  visit www.angelinadanceclass.com.

This post was originally written by Ali Mierzejewski and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

Reports: Mattel Finalizing Deal to Buy Hit Entertainment

According to multiple news outlets, including the Financial Times, Mattel is in talks with Apax Partners to buy Hit Entertainment for £500 million. Two anonymous sources told the Financial Times that Mattel is in the final stages of negotiations to purchase the company that Apax bought in 2005 for £489 million. The sale of Hit will not include the group’s stake in children’s channel Sprout, but will include Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, and Pingu.

New Angelina Ballerina PSA Featuring Larry King

Apparently, Larry King has some moves. Check out this PSA of King, Nigel Lythgoe (executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol), and kids’ character Angelina Ballerina promoting the health benefits of dance.

Produced by Hit Entertainment and the Dizzy Feet Foundation, the PSA is part of the Dance 4 Your Life national health campaign launched by the Larry King Cardiac Foundation and the Dizzy Feet Foundation, aiming to get people dancing their way to a healthier lifestyle.

Angelina Ballerina Premieres New App for iPad

Callaway Digital Arts and Hit Entertainment have debuted its new Angelina’s New Ballet Teacher App for iPad is now available on Apple’s App Store.

The Angelina’s New Ballet Teacher App brings the dancer to life with narration, animation, puzzles, paint, and video. Each page of the story magically transforms into a painting page or interactive puzzle with the simple tap on the screen.

The app is available for $0.99 from the App Store, rolling out in the rest of the world early this summer.

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Angelina Ballerina and Thomas and Friends Premiere in Latin America

HIT Entertainment and Discovery Kids have debuted new episodes of Thomas and Friends in CG animation, as well as the new CG animated series Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps, in Latin America. In its first week of launch, Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps received the top ratings for girls ages 4-11 across all kids pay-TV networks in Colombia and Brazil, and ranked as the No. 2 kids’ program for girls 4-11 across all kids pay-TV networks in Mexico and Argentina.

Thomas and Friends
introduces new characters including Charlie, a small engine with a reputation for fun and mischief, and the Japanese engine Hiro. Joining them are Kevin the crane and Victor, an engine from the Sodor Steam Works. The characters were first unveiled in the feature-length special Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails, which aired on Discovery Kids on May 7.

Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps
is an extension of the original Angelina Ballerina books by author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig. Each episode stars Angelina and consists of two 11-minute CG animated stories linked with a live-action segment featuring all types of young dancers and musicians.

HIT Entertainment and Dizzy Feet Partner for Youth Dance Program

HIT Entertainment is collaborating with the Dizzy Feet Foundation (DFF) to expand its youth dance program nationally. The Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow campaign successfully ended its pilot program in the Bronx earlier this year, and the organizations plan to expand into at least three other cities’ Boys & Girls Clubs outside of New York this fall.

The partnership with DFF includes a dance scholarship–four to be awarded locally and one nationally–as well as access to DFF choreographers and special appearances by celebrity members of the Foundation.

Board members for DFF include Nigel Lythgoe, producer of So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, and Katie Holmes, who will help guide the program as it develops. These members, as well as others on the DFF steering committee, will make public service announcements promoting the program, to be aired during the Angelina Ballerina The Next Steps television show on PBS KIDS.

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HIT Entertainment Launches Dance Education Program

HIT Entertainment has launched a new pro-social campaign to increase accessibility to dance programs for children through the Angelina Ballerina brand, the Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow campaign. The company will be working with the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, located in the Bronx, who will pilot the program.

The campaign will provide access to dance education for children ages 5 to 12 to raise awareness of the benefits of dance, including building confidence, inspiring creativity, and promoting physical health. The campaign will also feature a microsite on www.AngelinaBallerina.com, which will include the program’s mission, partners, local news, events, and ways to get involved. The site will also feature videos from the Stars of Tomorrow classes.

The pilot program at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club will offer Angelina Ballerina dance classes in ballet, hip hop, latin, and African dance. Teachers will receive in class materials specific to the program, including an Angelina Ballerina Tip of the Week, posters, and nutritional information. Each class will begin with a warm-up routine based on the new PBS KIDS series, Angelina Ballerina the Next Steps.

HIT Entertainment plans for the campaign to be a multi-year endeavor.

HIT Entertainment Realigns Business Units

Hit Entertainment has announced an internal realignment of its business units. As a part of the realignment four new divisions will be created. The divisions will form two new lines of business: one focusing on Thomas & Friends, and the other on HIT Global Brands (Angelina Ballerina, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Pingu, and Rainbow Magic). The realignment is effective immediately.

The Thomas & Friends line of business will comprise three divisions: the New York-based “Thomas Americas,” London-based “Thomas EMEA, ” and the Hong Kong-based “Thomas Asia.” The HIT Global Brands business unit will be managed from London as one global division.

HIT’s Finance, Legal, HR, and IT groups will remain centralized staff units supporting both lines of business. As a part of the restructuring, Peter Byrne, executive vice president of International Consumer Products and Home Entertainment, will be leaving the company