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Palisades to produce Sesame Street figures

Series 1 with Ernie, Oscar, Two-Headed Monster and Guy Smiley set to release summer 2005

Courtesy of Palisades Toys
December 4, 2004

The rumors become official in this month's ToyFare magazine. Beginning with the release of Super Grover next year, Palisades Toys will continue their standard of excellence with a line of Sesame Street figures. Muppet Central's Sesame Street release schedule will keep you up to date on the latest releases.

Palisades vice-president and product developer Ken Lilly shares his thoughts on the Sesame Street line and answers many common questions from fans about the new Sesame Street action figure license.

Ken Lilly, Palisades VP and product developer...

The Sesame Street license was signed a few months ago. The length of the contract is not something I am really willing to discuss, but suffice it to say that we have it for a nice chunk of time. It does NOT include any international characters nor is it likely to in the future.

The contract covers all the Muppet characters that appeared on the television show Sesame Street except any of those characters that are owned by other companies, such as Kermit, who is owned now by Disney. The license does not cover human actors and actresses nor is it likely to in the future.

I won't really speak about Fun 4 All...I don't know what happened to them and it really doesn't matter to me. All I know for sure is that we have wanted to make Sesame Street stuff for a LONG time and an opportunity presented itself to do so.

The license allows us to create action figures, Palz block figures and collectible display environments. Size or scale is not an issue so we would be allowed to make larger scale items if we wish, whether it be an in scale larger character like Big Bird or a MEGA-sized version of one of the action figures. As it stands right now, there are no plans for MEGA figures in the style of the Muppets MEGA figures. But larger characters in scale with the smaller figures are something that will be considered.

These products are NOT being targeted or marketed to the pre-school age buyer. They are being designed and marketed and created as adult style collectibles. They will be in the same scale as the Muppets line from Palisades and similar in nature. By that I mean lots of detail, lots of articulation and lots of fun.

They will not be available in the same areas of any store as other lower aged Sesame Street merchandise. In the event that they DO go into a larger store, they would only be found where the other adult style collectible action figures are located. The product will be labeled Ages 8 and Up.

Super Grover is set to be the first figure to debut in the line. It features interchangeable heads, a trench coat and cape and a telephone booth. The body underneath the coat is not a naked Grover body. It has a "G" logo molded to the chest. The hats and helmets on the heads are not removable. It is probably going to debut as a Palisades Tour figure at Mega Con or Wizard World LA.

Since it is a Tour Figure, which means it will only be available at one of our events or through the Palisades Collectors Club, just like the Adventure Kermit. We will offer it outside the U.S. as we have done before, but ONLY if the international rights for selling are worked out. As of this writing they are not, so I have no info about what countries are covered right now and I do not have information about what stores will be carrying the line overall because the sales cycle for Series 1 is still a long way off. Promise you, as always, that as soon as there is any new news on any of that I will let you guys know.

Series 1 is set for a summer release, and that is as specific as it is going to get right now. Sculpting has begun on Series 1 and so far the sculpting looks great. I do not have a complete accessory list at this time nor do I have any suggested retail pricing at this time.

There will be two versions of the figure available to the market. One of those versions, dubbed "specialty market" version, will contain parts to make up a small section of the Sesame Street set. So for example, in Series 1, which includes Ernie, Oscar, Two-Headed Monster and Guy Smiley, if you buy the "specialty market' versions of all of those four figures, you will be able to build the area of Sesame Street located near Oscar's can, which has the doors and essentially is the front area of Big Bird's nest.

These display environments are facades, not fully functional playsets, but when all is said and done you will see the same level of detail and attention to these facades you have come to expect from other traditional "playsets" we have done. From that point we will go from right to left to complete the street. Scale will be cheated somewhat on these, but the intent is to have as much of a visual impact as the Backstage playset which had dramatically cheated scale but still pull off the "look".

The mass-market versions, if there are any, will be the figure and perhaps an accessory or two, but nothing more in the way of the parts of the street. These will be available for a lower cost.

I say IF there are any, because as much as we would love to be the ones making final decisions about stores taking merchandise, it will simply be up to the stores if they do or do not. The thinking is that a larger chain may want these, but not the higher priced "specialty" version so a more mass friendly price, smaller package, etc. will be an attractive alternative to offer.

The figure will probably be the same, and it will ultimately come down to choice for the consumer. You want the full display environment or for a few less bucks do you just want the figures? I say probably because as you know things are always subject to change, and none of this is set in stone until the sales cycle officially begins.

You can certainly expect to know a LOT more come Toy Fair about all of that. But right now the Series 1stuff is in its infancy. Sculpts are still in progress, so I don't know how certain aspects of it are going to be handled. Packaging is still being worked out, so I don't know how that is going to look yet. I do know they are being designed with Muppets in mind as far as scale is concerned. We will try to make the two lines look very natural next to each other on the shelf.

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