IT’s been a year of upheaval for the TIA and the toy industry in Manhattan. Despite being unable to come to an agreement on a permanent showroom site to replace the history-laden buildings at the corner of 23rd St. and 5th Avenue, the organization has confirmed The American International Fall Toy Show will remain in New York until at least 2007.
The TIA booked Javits for October next year and reaffirmed its stance that the city is the heart of the toy industry and will continue to host the fair targeted at mass/long-lead retail buyers for the foreseeable future. (February Toy Fair is booked at the center through 2010.)
In the meantime, a few toycos have given us the inside scoop on what they’ll be showing at this year’s autumn exhibit and we thought we’d highlight some nifty new products.
Deerfield Beach, Florida’s Play Along is building on its successful 2005/06 Doodle Bear line. Doodle Bear Baby (US$14.99) comes with a removable pacifier and diaper, and Slumber Party Doodle Girl is decked out in glow-in-the-dark pajamas, and totes her very own sleep mask. Like their original counterparts, the new Doodle toys are doodleable, washable and erasable. The Babies are packaged with all-new erasable markers and a magic eraser pen, while the Girls’ markers come in glow barrels, lighting the way for little girls to doodle in the dark.
Wild Planet in San Francisco is taking a high-tech approach to the most low-tech of implements, the ballpoint pen. New Mighty Pens (US$4.99 to US$6.99) will be available in six styles and combine writing functionality with a lot of play value. A few notable models include: Jet Flyer that launches a fold-out plane; Mini Hoops that unfolds to form a mini-basketball court complete with hoop, three balls, ball holder and launcher; and Rip Choppers, a pen with a ripcord power launcher and two flying helicopters.
Hot on the heels of signing the master toy license for the anime brand that started it all, Malibu, California-based Jakks Pacific has a slew of toys lined up to showcase the world of Pokémon. One item of particular note is the Deluxe Talking Pokedex (US$19.99). The new device is a handheld, all-in-one virtual encyclopedia and Pokemon gaming system that includes three interactive battling games. It also has pictures of all 386 Pokemon characters complete with their individual battling stats and calls out characters names when the user selects them. KC