China Toy Fair


On the Hunt with Jordan Hembrough

When you step inside Hollywood Heroes in Westwood, N.J., you can literally smell the nostalgia (for those of you who are unfamiliar, nostalgia smells similar to dust-covered cardboard and childhood memories—but like, in a good way). In the collectible toy shop, bright lights beam down on glass cases displaying superhero relics with more than 40 years under their utility belts, making these toys anything but child’s play.

Owner of Hollywood Heroes and star of the reality TV show Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough poses with a plush version of himself.

Owner of the shop and star of the Travel Channel series Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough is an expert in the art of toy collecting, with more than 25 years of professional experience dealing toys. However, toys were always an integral part of Hembrough’s life. From schoolyard selling, Hembrough entered the big-time after college, when he secured a job as a buyer for StarLog, a chain of science-fiction-focused retail stores. Despite a lack of business background, Hembrough eventually went on to launch his own company, Hollywood Heroes. “I had the passion, and I think sometimes passion will drive you more than a business plan,” he says. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: 1996: The Best Christmas Ever

1996. It was the year of the New York Yankees, the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys. It was the year of Jerry Maguire and the Macarena. It was the year of Bill Clinton’s reelection. But most importantly, 1996 marked the best Christmas ever, with toy companies cranking out some of kids’ favorite toys of all time.

Cabbage Patch Snacktime KidWho could forget the Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids dolls, from Mattel? Those pudgy-faced, yarn-haired little cuties each had a motorized mouth, and kids could feed their doll a french fry, a pretzel stick, a banana, and other yummy snacks. This was one of the toys my mom admits to pushing other moms out of the way for at Toys “R” Us on Black Friday morning. The food, which the dolls realistically chewed when kids inserted it into their mouths, fell into a backpack on the doll’s back, so kids could feed them over and over again. Of course, this beacon of glory was shortly recalled after the holiday season, as kids were getting their hair, skin, and fingers stuck in the doll’s mouth (as you can imagine, this resulted in many unhappy parents and kids with bald spots). While I made sure my hair was secured tightly in a ponytail while playing, my Snacktime Kid remained one of my favorite toys through ’97.

[Read more...]

Children, Families Vote on “100 Toys that Define Our Childhood”

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is asking children and families to choose their favorite toys as part of the museum’s new project “100 Toys (& their Stories) that Define Our Childhood.” This interactive program is organized by The Children’s Museum to encourage children and significant adults in their lives to vote for their favorites from a list of 100 iconic and multi-generational toys from the museum’s collection. These toys represent fun and imaginative ways children have played over the last century.

Curators from The Children’s Museum chose 100 objects from the museum’s collection from the last 100 years (1910-present) to which many children and adults will relate. Toys included were picked for many reasons including popularity, such as the Cabbage Patch Kids of the 1980s and the Beanie Babies of the 1990s, and long-term success stories, such as crayons and the red wagon. Voters are also encouraged to share memories of their favorite toys and why a particular toy was meaningful to them or their family.

Public voting will continue until Aug. 17, at which time the 20 toys with the most votes will be revealed and put on display at the world’s largest children’s museum. The public will once again be asked to vote to rank the 20 toys to determine the final order of the “Top 20″ and the Bronze, Silver, and Gold winners to be announced in mid-September.

To view the full list of toys, vote and share your own toy story, visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis online at www.childrensmuseum.org/100toys.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris 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.

Video Game Based on Silly Bandz in the Works

Zoo Publishing is partnering with Silly Bandz to create and publish a new video game based on the company’s variously shaped, rubber band bracelets. The video game is expected to release for the iPhone and iTouch in September, with a Nintendo DS version appearing during the holiday season.

Teletubbies to be Made into Beanie Babies

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po will soon hit store shelves in the form of Beanie Babies as a part of a new partnership between BBC Worldwide and Ty. The deal will transform the Teletubbies characters into six-inch Beanie Babies, which will be available in the UK and Ireland this fall/winter.

Teletubbies was created by Ragdoll Productions for BBC, and has aired in more than 120 countries. The brand has sold more than 33 million DVDs and videos and 50 million plush toys.