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Will There Be News From Toy Fair 2009?

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by beaker, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Since 2002, Muppet/Jim Henson fans online have always anticipated Toy Fair in New York. Like what beamed in photos from Mars rovers are to NASA and astronomy enthusists, pictures and news from Toy Fair is always exciting to Muppet/JH fans. Whether you prefer Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Creature Shop movies, etc. there's been for some time cool figure and toy/merch news...even, if a lot of those toys stayed in the prototype phase and were never released.

    Just wondering if anyone's heard any news on Muppet related news from Toy Fair?
  2. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I plan to visit Wondercon at the Moscone Center next week. We'll see if there's anything about. My guess is that the Muppet comics will be promoted as well as the Skeksis figure from NECA. Anything other than that will be anyone's guess. I haven't heard anything.

    MindStyle's postponement of the Fraggle property is still odd to me. They're more uber-figure-collector friendly than actual Henson-fan friendly. The same seems true for their Dark Crystal line. I don't need some huge super articulated and textured Gobo with karate grip and kung fu action. But I don't want some prohibitively expensive blind boxed figure of him with kiddie letters and numbers either. Honestly, I'd really like to see some PVC three packs for comic stores and Hot Topic. You know, a pack with a main character and two more obscure ones. I also think a hollowed giant Gorg container would be a great exclusive that the PVCs could be kept in for travel. Anyway, I digress. I'm still hopeful something cool with come from MindStyle. They just need to form a better product plan for the Fraggles. I want some figures.
  3. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    It all takes me back to 2003, when Fraggle Rock stuff could be found all over. I remember getting some really great Doozer figures at Hot Topic, plushes, etc. Some stores at that time I would actually find cool stuff from all four franchises: Muppet Show, Sesame Street(collector's stuff not the baby fisher price stuff), Fraggle Rock and Bear in the Big Blue House.

    Anyways, Toy Fair is always full of surprises...even if most the cool stuff shown(including Muppet related) is prototypes that will never be released.

    Btw, is Wondercon any good? My friends want to take me there next week.
  4. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    This will be my first Wondercon so I don't know. The biggest stars mentioned are Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Adam West. I'm not so much into the meet and greet stuff so I'll probably just wonder around the product sections. There are also many programs featured.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, there is the new Fisher Price Tickle Me Elmo.... Hulk hands crossed with a TME.... not all that impressive, but the potential for some dirty videos online.

    Well, their postponement will definitely be related to not just the FR movie, but the change of license of Hit to Brandolutions or whatever they're called. Remember, the change of licencee for the Muppets from ETV to Henson, to Disney hurt the Palisades TMS line up... unless this new company wants to see these on the stores as HIT did, this line is in jeopardy.

    I thought there was loose talk of the Letters being dropped anyway... but I still dislike the "lookit! We're Japanese" blind boxing stuff (which is why it took me so long to buy a City Creature) and would rather see these in window packaging, or in labled blind boxes that tell you who's inside.
  6. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Not quite- Miss Piggy Tonner Doll

    Not quite as amazing as plush, figures, or anything like that... but it's still something.
  8. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    So is that pretty much it?
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    There in lies why I'm completely underwhelmed by Toyfair this year... The reason that we don't have Muppet toys is because they don't fit into the 4 major categories. They aren't comic book characters (1), Video game characters (2), Sci-Fi Characters (3), or ugly looking fake Japanese Super Deformer vynal figures of the first 3 categories (4). Don't get me wrong, there's some cool stuff... but the era of adult action figures based off of nostalgic (or even current) cartoons/Tv shows is over. I at least want to know if the Fraggle toys will happen at all.

    Personally, I'm still miffed that Fisher Price can't come up with a decent line of quality Sesame Street PVC's, but they can always come up with a ridiculous Elmo product.
  10. Mister Hoggoth

    Mister Hoggoth Active Member

    It's a sad state this year for the toy industry. I have a friend in Hasbro PR who told me that most companies are scaling back for several reasons:

    1. The new "lead law" (link here http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lead11-2009feb11,0,4050347.story)that requires all toys not to be tested for lead content. Which even of course effects toy and puppet makers. These small toy companies that make collectable toys are having tough times due this new morgate law.

    2. The Economy, but hey Obama is going to pay for everyones bad mortgage soon, so maybe we will get a Toy Stimulus package!

    3. You have to have a movie. Biggest toys for 2009 Transformers and GI Joe. Of course this guy is a Hasbro PR fella, but he does speak true. Also these toys have huge fan bases. Hasbros last quarterly business report contributed a lot of there earning to there new venture in to the movie business with their properties.

    Sad to say for the Muppet properties, unless Disney and the Henson Company don't work on promoting their characters in the media more, I am afraid there will be less and less toys available. Even more so with the new lead law hitting the smaller toy makers!
  11. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    That's exactly what Disney has been doing - promoting the Muppets. They have items coming out. Just no traditional toys yet.
  12. Mister Hoggoth

    Mister Hoggoth Active Member

    I don't feel Disney is doing a very good job on this front. Yes they promote the Muppets by having them on talk shows or now maybe a new comic book, but most of this has been around selling DVD's and the new FAO muppets. If Disney was serious about really promoting the Muppets they would look at different ways to promote them to children. Let's face it, the traditional muppets are not know to most children under the age of 10? Children know the Sesame Street Muppets like they were their best friend, but couldn't tell you who Gonzo was.

    If Disney wanted to strengthen the traditional muppet brand, they need to work on a more child friendly front (which bring is the parents as well). They could do this with a return of the Muppets in a more child friendly format or even return to the cartoon medium like Muppet Babies.

    Toys are a tricky business these days. Most successful toys sad to say either have a 30 minute cartoon/commercial promoting them or a major movie (a 2 hour commercial).
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    We had that Star Wars set about last year... that does count. Unfortunately, that was the last thing since, but the first major thing since the Palisades line ended. And lets not forget... what did we get just a few years before the TMS 25th anniversary product explosion? Maybe the occasional thing with Kermit, Piggy, or Animal on it. Maybe.

    Obviously stated, it's not a hot button item as far as toys go. Super Heroes, Video Games, Sci-fi and fakey Japanese style vynal figures. Only things they're showing. And some stuff from movies. Hey, Other than Ben 10, Kamen Rider, and Brave and the Bold, I didn't even see any major television based toy line. All movies and comics.

    That said, there is some VERY exciting non-Muppet projects if you give a look. I swore I saw a new Comic book based The Tick. And in all honesty, seeing that made my day.

    (Still... I'm hoping the license switch between Hit and Whateveritscalled Inc. doesn't hurt the future of the Fraggle line. And it would've been cool if they had a second series of Jim Henson City Creatures.)
  14. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member


    Number of Muppet related items at any given Disney store?

    2003 was pretty much the grand year for all four(Muppet Show, Bear, Sesame, Fraggle) JHC related franchises merchandise wise.
    Now? Complete tumbleweeds.

    As I said on Muppet Central over ten years ago, Muppets are underground. We might see Kermit and Piggy on all these talk shows, and big parade floats...but lets be honest.
    Most kids, tweens, and teens are not aware of the Muppets in any major capacity.
    And a brand cannot last on "nostalgia" alone.

    As for the state of the toy industry, now days the only toys getting peg space at major retailers(wallmart, target, etc)
    are Transformers, Star Wars, GI Joe, TMNT(just barely), WWF wrestling, power rangers, and DC/Marvel. And whatever Pokemon ripoff brand is popular. Pretty much the SAME properties big when I was growing up in the 80's and 90's.

    I'm surprised there is any future for the toy market, given all the product recalls, horrific 2008 fiscar consumer details, economy, etc.
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Anyone notice how high prices for figures are?

    $10+ for the 1988/1989 TMNT action figure reissues at Target. Thats the kind of crazy markup I'd expect at mall stores.

    Most figures today are $10-$12 each, even higher. Who can afford to oblige to their crying kid's every whim?

    I remember growing up super poor in the early/mid/late 80's, barely able to afford the occational thrift store or bootleg knockoff toy.
    and my goodness, there was like a million different toy figure brands. It was nuts. A lot of em didnt even have a cartoon or comic tie-in. But these figures were $2-$5 dollars.

    And then there is NECA who has taken over virtually all of the non main-market toy franchises. Their $16-$18 dollars a pop figures are mainly for the adult collectors market.

    I sooooooo miss the days of Resaurus, Toy Biz, Palisades, etc.
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Tell me about it. Apparently it's because oil prices went up... and then by the time they went down they had to raise them again because they weren't making major profits because people weren't buying them for being expensive in the first place. I never understood why they have to raise prices because things aren't selling to make up a recoop for them not selling to begin with. I give Playmates credit for trying to keep around the 5-7 dollar range for so long, up until that stupid movie line jacked the prices back to 8-10. The era of the affordable 5 dollar action figure is over. Heck, I remember 5 years ago Teen Titan 2 pack minifigures were selling for 3-4 bucks.

    I still think this new era of Stunt packaging is partially responsible. We do not need 3 layers of cardboard cut outs and plastic overlays. Back card, the tray part of the bubble, the outside of the bubble, and maybe a sticker or small piece of paper inbetween the tray and the outside bubble. Why complicate everything?
  17. Nick22

    Nick22 Well-Known Member

    what kind of muppet stuff is usually shown there?
  18. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Thats why it was funny seeing at Kaybee Toys in their final leg of existence all the Hasbro Indiana Jones figures going for like a buck fifty, and all wrestling figures going for merely pennies.

    But Dr Tooth, you bring up something incredibly valid.

    WHY do companies charge so much with high high markups,
    then wonder why they have NO business?

    Circuit City, Kaybee, and the rest of the companies who went under(and Im guessing before too long, Kmart) have way higher markup on their dvds/games/etc than Best Buy, Walmart and Target.

    At Borders/Barnes and Noble its ridiculous, and the most blatant is at Suncoast. (No wonder theyre going out of business)

    Why should someone pay $20-$25 for a dvd at these stores(anime, film, kids cartoon single disc, etc) when you can pay $6-$8 at Best Buy...and even half that on half.com or deepdiscount.com?

    And they wonder why noone shops there? It's vomic inducing to go to one store, then see the markup at many other stores. Like laughable market. Urban Outfitters, major book chains, etc.

    And that is the most lame excuse to raise prices, did they really say that? That at first it was oil, then to make up for people not buying? Well hmmm, if toys were cheaper people would buy em.

    Not sure if they realize were in a financial meltdown, hurling towards a 1929 like collapse. I see it all the time...whiny kids begging both their severely financially challenged or struggling middle class soccer moms to buy them this or that. Chances are they'll open the package and discard the toy the next day anyways.

    I say we need more made in American products. I know for my webcomic/upcoming animated webisode series Im making sure every part of the product made for the action figures and plushes are made in the USA. Heck if you know what you're doing, you can sculpt action figures, make the silicon molds yourself, and make as many boxed urban vinyl action figures you want.

    Hopefully this is the wave of the future, not $10 poop-tacular
    hunks of plastic from Chinese slave labor shops.
  19. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    There is definite markup. Brick and mortar stores centrally located in the heart of a city need to pay their rent. I call this markup "the urban tax" because if a customer is willing to drive to an outlet store in the boonies where they don't know a Jawa from a Jar Jar or where they'd be located in a pile of kiddie fodder then they would pay much less. Online prices have even been increasing and much of that is due to the toy companies not faring well in this climate.

    At AFF we offer our expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm in order to get the customer exactly what they want. There's a premium for that sort of attention that many people are willing to pay. Sure, there are deals in this store as well with other urban stores. There's nothing like the feeling of walking to the corner toy shop and comparing paint aps on a brand new figure, chatting up the clerk and sharing the experience.

    Curbing the exploitation of third world labor so they don't put poison in toys comes at a cost. Trust me. You will see it in more than toys. Eventually the American culture will turn to Buy-N-Large wholesale chains like Walmart. We all know what that will look like. My advice - buy a treadmill while you're there. :eek:

    Next time you buy a cheaply priced chotchky ask yourself why it's so cheap. Whose wages are getting the cut? We've lived too long in a Kathy Lee Gifford world of factory ignorance. :confused:
  20. Nick22

    Nick22 Well-Known Member

    My brother is into the whole Pokemon and Naruto and Dragon Ball Z kind of stuff. He watches the shows and buys the toys and when you go into toy stores these days, that's all you see. My sister is into dolls and dress up and stuff and that's because that is all you Target and looked everywhere for a Muppet DVD. Just a DVD and I couldn't even kind one. Not even one. Stores have pretty much just stopped carrying Muppet products. It ticks me off. The only reason that any kid in my school knows about the Muppets is because of me. I talk about them nonstop so all my friends know about them. I mean most of them had already known all the basics you know Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo. Most of them had never heard of Fraggle Rock and they didn't know that Sesaome Street characters were considered Muppets. They were completely cluless. Now my friends know just about everything there is to know. My brother and sister know about them of course. My sister doesn't care too much. They just don't seem to interest her. She was never rully a huge Sesame Street fan and I watch Letter to Santa with her and she didn't seem to like it too much at all. My brother has only watched the Muppet Wizard of Oz and It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. He seemed pretty into it but he's not a huge fan. My sister and seven and my brother is 10. So that kind of shows you that Disney isn't exactly marketing the Muppets to younger kids. Most of the kids in my school who are older than me could care less about the Muppets. I mean yes they will sit there and listen to what i have to say about them and give me a little feedback but they rully don't care. They only listen to me because they know how much the Muppets mean to me. I think most of the reason that there arent very many Muppet products is probably because of the economy. I mean why would they even bother producing anything if nobody will buy them. People don't have the money to spend on toys and action figures.

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