December 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 12
2010: Year of the Dinosaur?
Extinct Animal Takes Museum Shop By Storm
Faithful readers of TDmonthly Magazine will be cheered to know that Michael Maddi of Puppetoys, one of the toymakers whose debut we chronicled at Toy Fair 2008 (see Flu Storms the Fair and Secret Lives of Toymakers), is finally watching his 30" glove-puppet dinosaurs stomp out into the marketplace faster than he can ship them.
"We just got product in late September," Maddi told TDmonthly in a phone interview. "The Museum of Natural History in New York has sold out already."
Though Maddi sells the dinos for $59.95 on his website, the Museum is asking — and getting — $78.00 per puppet. "We gave them 20 more and they're frantic because five were taken by the president of the museum to give out as gifts!" said Maddi.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is the only Puppetoy officially on the market, and it's evolved considerably since its debut. Maddi ditched the flexible foam that originally composed the ancient lizard for a combination of vinyls that allow the body to be rigid, the legs to be posable ("It can stand on its own!" he enthused) and the head and tail to be flexible.
Maddi and his progeny will be at Toy Fair 2010, in a 20-foot booth that will allow space for one of his latest creations — Pool Puppets,starring a toothy shark. Sea World has commissioned puppets to reflect its own best-selling characters, such as a walrus and a sea lion, said Maddi.
Most propitious, however, is the deal Maddi's struck with Universal Studios. It's picking up the dino line as part of its Jurassic Park offerings.
Though his toy seemed like a sure hit from the start, it's been an arduous journey to get to this point, Maddi said.
"It was priceless to go to Toy Fair (2008; see What to Expect When You're Exhibiting)," he told TDmonthly, because of all the feedback he received from retailers and other buyers. "When we redesigned, we kept all the things they liked about it" while improving the materials and construction.
The next step in Puppetoy evolution is smaller versions of about 16" that will be slated for mass-market merchandisers such as Walmart and K-Mart.
Maddi's thrilled that 20 years of dreaming, designing and redesigning have brought him to this point. "Nothing gets done without a tremendous fight," he reminded other creators. As for the dinos themselves, he said, their journey has just begun: "For an extinct animal, they never really die."
This lifelike dinosaur puppet, available in green and brown, features a molded vinyl exterior and poseable legs. It is 30" long.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26147 (added 11/23/2009)
Triceratops is a 26” long full-body glove. A tank-like plant eater with plated armor, he sports three soft foam huge flesh piercing horns on his head for protection against meat eating predators. As with all Prehistoric Puppets, he is fully flexible down to his swishing tail! A great learning and role playing puppet for ages 4 to extinct. Made of a super soft molded polyurethane foam realistically painted. Inventor Michael Maddi pointed out to TDmonthly that Puppetoys make great characters in little kids' home videos. Launch date: February 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16732 (added 12/21/2007)
This dinosaur is a 32”-long, full-body glove puppet. Ceratasaur is a stealth, forest-dwelling meat eater with three boney horns and razor-like soft foam teeth. As with all Prehistoric Puppets, he is fully flexible down to his swishing tail! He comes with his own stand for play or display and is a great learning and role-playing puppet for ages 4 to extinct. The product is made of a super-soft, molded polyurethane foam, and is realistically painted.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16731 (added 12/21/2007)
Is a 32” long full body glove puppet. Spinosaurus is a fierce meat eater with an alligator head with shorter spike-like soft foam teeth and large fin on his back. As with all Prehistoric Puppets he is fully flexible down to his swishing tail! And he comes with his own stand for play or display! A great learning and role playing puppet for ages 4 to extinct.
Made of a super soft molded polyurethane foam realistically painted.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 16730 (added 12/21/2007)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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