Special Report: American International Toy Fair: Toy Fair Roundup: A tour through some of the properties at this year’s Toy Fair

Some 1,600 exhibitors have their showrooms primed and ready with the latest toys as they wait for the more than 20,000 buyers who are expected to come to New York City for the 1997 American International Toy Fair. Increasingly, toy manufacturers...
February 1, 1997

Some 1,600 exhibitors have their showrooms primed and ready with the latest toys as they wait for the more than 20,000 buyers who are expected to come to New York City for the 1997 American International Toy Fair. Increasingly, toy manufacturers and film and television studios are teaming up to develop products based on licensed properties, which now make up as much as 50 percent of all toys. Our special report on Toy Fair looks at how the studios and toy companies are working their way through these collaborations.

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-Mr. Men: Leisure Concepts has secured licensing and merchandising rights from Copyright Promotions for Mr. Men, which was introduced at NATPE last month by Summit Media Group and cleared over 85 percent of the U.S. The property is appearing at Toy Fair, and Leisure Concepts is looking to develop videos, interactive products, backpacks and stationery. Playmates Toys is rolling out the first toys based on the television series, Putnam Books is reviving the book series, and Ross Sportswear has signed on as the apparel licensee.

-Oscar’s Orchestra: Leisure Concepts is taking the stage to sign on licensees in categories such as toys, books, home videos and apparel.

-Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? DIC Worldwide Merchandising and Sales, the Carmen Sandiego licensing agent, is showcasing action figures for Carmen Sandiego and her rivals, ACME CrimeNet detectives Ivy and Zack. Other toys include the ACME Gumsh’e Detective Kit, which includes a fingerprinting set, magnifying glass, notepad and flashlight; a pocket computer diary; pens, make-up mirrors, watches and cameras with built-in recording devices; walkie-talkies shaped like lipstick and powder compacts; and binoculars designed as eyewear.

-Bone Chillers: Licensor DIC Worldwide Merchandising and Sales is producing action figures featuring the creepy creatures of the live-action series, as well as a toy line consisting of an ‘ooze ball’ that oozes its contents when squeezed, a telephone shaped like a skull-and-bones that screams instead of ringing, a pen that squirts colored goo when a button is pressed and a slimy product to make at home. Aladdin Industries is the licensee for bags and lunch boxes; Disguise, for Halloween costumes; and Leif J. Ostberg, for footwear.

-Blazing Dragons: Nelvana Marketing is presenting merchandising opportunities for the program. Crystal Dynamics has developed a Blazing Dragons video game for the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, which is available in the U.S. and Canada.

-Stickin’ Around: Nelvana Marketing is looking to fill merchandising opportunities for the series.

-Little Bear: Nelvana Marketing is offering licensing opportunities for the animated children’s property based on the book series of the same name.

-Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: On behalf of Simon & Schuster, Nelvana Marketing is offering licensing opportunities for the two properties.

-Rupert: Nelvana Marketing is looking for several licensees to cuddle up to the little bear sporting a red sweater, yellow checked trousers and a scarf.

-Secrets of the Cryptkeeper’s Haunted House: Nelvana Marketing is positioning the program in the areas of board games, figures, accessories, gifts, novelties and back-to-school items. The company has already scared up licensees for Halloween accessories, paper goods and collectible figures.

-Babar: Nelvana and The Clifford Ross Company, joint licensors of the property, are looking to add licensees to the more than 150 companies that have signed on since 1988. In the U.S. and Canada, Friemanit International is developing an apparel line, including sleepwear for infants and toddlers. Takara holds the master toy license for Japan, and is developing apparel, plush toys, stationery, housewares, toiletries and accessories targeted primarily at teens. Also in Japan, Kodansha is producing activity pages to appear in the Japanese children’s magazines Genki and Tomodachi.

-Little Orphan Annie: Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, which has secured the worldwide rights to develop a toy line, is pursuing toy, book, home video, apparel and other licensees for the comic strip-inspired television series, to launch in the fall.

-Rainbow Brite: Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, which has acquired the worldwide licensing rights for the relaunch of the television series, is seeking licensing and promotional partners for several areas. Up, Up and Away has signed on as the master toy licensee, and is creating a toy line to hit shelves this year.

-Vanpires: Galoob Toys, master toy licensee for Abrams/Gentile Entertainment’s first live-action children’s series, is revving up a Vanpires car that flies as well as drives.

-Sky Dancers: Galoob Toys is bringing out new toys based on the television series, as well as new dolls, including Pretty Scent Sky Dancers, Toss ‘N Twirl Sky Dancers and Rainbow Ribbon Sky Dancers. Razzmatazz Entertainment, which holds the home video rights for the U.S., has released its first three titles, with a second set of three to be introduced this month. HarperCollins is publishing 17 Sky Dancers books in total, including picture books, activity books, a hardcover storybook and a special Christmas pop-up book. Other licensees include Sun Sportswear for T-shirts and sweatshirts, Fruit of the Loom for girls underwear and short and long thermal clothing, Angel-etts for sneakers and footwear, Milton Bradley for board games and puzzles, McCall Patterns for home sewing patterns and James River Corporation for party goods.

-Dragon Flyz: Galoob Toys is expanding the Dragon Flyz toy line with the addition of the Dragon Flyz F.I.S.T. Force and Dragon Flyz Battle Blazers. Galoob is also creating new characters and launchers based on the animated television series. Columbia TriStar Home Video has the U.S. rights to the animated television series and an animated direct-to-video feature film released in December. HarperCollins is developing eight books, including picture books, activity books, story books and a holographic book. Other licensees are Foot-Tec Industries for footwear, Toy Biz for kites, Millenium Rush for interactive software and Paramount Parks for live-action stunt shows at its theme parks.

-Happy Ness: The Secret of the Loch: Galoob Toys is the show’s master toy licensee, and Just for Kids holds the home video rights.

-Street Sharks: Mattel is launching its fourth line of Street Sharks action figures and accessories. Among the 50 U.S. licensees for the property are Buena Vista for home videos, Random House for publishing, Sun Sportswear and Wormser for apparel, Jamey Cohan Productions for costume character appearances, Chef Boyardee for pasta meals, Good Humor-Breyers for Street Sharks-shaped raspberry ice desserts.

-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Playmates Toys is revealing a new Turtles toy line with action figures and accessories. The toys reflect the ongoing mutation of the Turtles in the series, and a major change concerning the series will also be announced at Toy Fair.

-Eerie, Indiana: Hearst Entertainment is kicking off a licensing program for the live-action fantasy-adventure show.

-Time and Again: The Nicholas Frank Company is seeking toy, multimedia, home video and book licensees for the live-action time travel adventure series.

-Iris, The Happy Professor and The Adventures of Professor Iris: Desclez Productions is offering licensing opportunities for such categories as toys, books and clothing for the two series starring Professor Iris. A book collection of 52 titles based on episodes of Iris, The Happy Professor, of which the first eight are launching this month, is under way called Magic Blackboard. Iris, The Happy Professor has already been adapted for home video and CD-ROM.

-Home To Rent: Gaumont Multimedia is negotiating for a master toy licensee.

-The Magician: Gaumont will soon be launching a licensing and merchandising program for the animated children’s show.

-Casper: The Harvey Entertainment Company is developing a live-action direct-to-video feature film with Saban Entertainment that stars the ghost from the television series, and will launch in September.

-Batman and Robin: Warner Bros. and Kenner will be launching toys based on the upcoming feature film, as well as new products based on the animated series and additions to the Legends of the Dark Knight and Total Justice lines.

-Nickelodeon: Cardinal Industries is rolling out a board game, called the Nick at Nite Game of Classic TV Commercials, that tests players’ knowledge of TV spots, slogans and stars with 1,000 questions. The product is a follow-up to Cardinal’s Nick at Nite Classic TV Trivia Game.

-Wallace and Gromit: BBC Worldwide Americas, which has attracted more than 20 licensees to the property, is looking to bring on board a master toy licensee.

-Other News: Software publisher and developer Humongous Entertainment is looking for licensees in the categories of plush and other toys, puzzles and publishing to develop products featuring its original characters such as Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam. -Sega is looking for food, sporting apparel and sporting goods licensees to climb on board for Sonic X-Treme, its latest licensing and promotional campaign around Sonic The Hedgehog. -Leisure Concepts is continuing its licensing efforts for the Nintendo 64 video game system, the Nintendo brand and logos and the Mario character. -Microsoft is unveiling the Actimates preschool learning system, and is bringing out Barney as the first licensed character appearing on software. -Surge Comic Properties is looking for licensees to jump behind the Cyberfrog comic book series. -Comic-strip characters Prince Valiant, Hägar The Horrible and Beetle Bailey, properties of Hearst Entertainment, are all in search of licensees as they prepare for appearances in various feature films and TV series. -ToySense is creating plush toys based on the Carlos & Co. characters, the stars of an animated television series by My Favorite Company, which is also developing a magazine starring the characters. -Melanie’s Mall, a toy line from CAP Toys, is expanding with new play sets including Melanie’s Mall Cool Corner and Melanie’s Mall Melanie on Ice, as well as the assortments Melanie’s Mall Fashion Collection and Melanie Mall’s Mini Shop and Single Shop. Leisure Concepts is developing a licensing program to include apparel, footwear, backpacks, books and interactive products. -Doodle Bear, the plush toy from Tyco Toys, is growing with the additions of Splash Time Doodle Bear, My Pretty Doodle Bear and others, from Tyco. Leisure Concepts is also looking for arts and crafts, apparel, stationery, toy, book and multimedia licensees, with licensees already signed on for backpacks, slippers and keychains.

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