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Articles by Mark Zaslove


Hollywood ToyBoy: Partnering Up in a Recession (2/1/2009)
As everyone with a checkbook knows, money is tight, and despite government intervention, the recession isn’t going away anytime soon. Does this mean sad times for the movie and toy business? Hardly.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Heavy Metal (1/1/2009)
It’s finally happened: my assistant went on vacation. Once a year, I’m thrown into confusion by this and swear I’m going to automate.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Points for Publicity (12/1/2008)
“Do I look good, or what?” I declaim as I put the finishing touches on my black tie and turn to my assistant.

Hollywood ToyBoy: No Downturn for Toys (11/1/2008)
“I don’t care if the economy’s in the crapper!” I screamed into my phone, my no-news-is-good-news accountant to the stars (and me) on the other end of the line

Hollywood ToyBoy: Keep Connecting (10/1/2008)
I love the new technology, even if I’m a little out of the demographic. That’s a good thing for me, because Hollywood is all about the new technology ... even if they don’t understand it worth a byte.

Hollywood ToyBoy: “Net”works Target Kid Spenders (9/1/2008)
“What do you mean the server is down? How can I Google anyone’s credits?” I scream at my ever-patient assistant as she brings in my sixth mocha-java-special and the bad news.

Hollywood ToyBoy: The French Connection (7/1/2008)
“Why did it have to be the French?” Yeah, yeah ... we all joke about Parisians’ rich food and snooty attitudes, but who doesn’t want to see the City of Lights? Me, that’s who.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Shows Set Stage for Toy Sales (6/1/2008)
Predictions are an odd thing. In Hollywood, they’re based on commercial success — the production driving the toys, not the other way around.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Will Blockbuster Toys Sell? (5/1/2008)
“Where’s my new AirBook? Did you take it again?” I yell to my shell-shocked assistant, who is looking for my super-thin notebook yet again.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Toying With Kiddie Films (4/1/2008)
Everyone thinks toys are easy. Toys aren’t easy for movie people, but they think they are. Hubris.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Sell Your Toys in Movies (3/1/2008)
In the middle of the writers’ strike, we’re eating old scripts, barricading ourselves in against the zombie hordes outside.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Do Oscars Predict Toy Sales? (2/1/2008)
“Barricade the doors! Board up the windows! It’s the end of the world as we know it!” Yup, it’s the time of year we vote for those little golden statues that mean so much to our egos and so little to the world in general.

DVDs: The End is Near (1/1/2008)
It’s 2008 and all is well. But not for long. This looks to be one of the last years for major DVD distribution, as online gains ground and HD formats can’t decide what to do.

Toy Sleuth: Partying With Plumbers (1/1/2008)
Super Mario Brothers? Yup. That little animated plumber just keeps on chuggin’. Mario’s everywhere. So without further ado, TDmonthly Magazine’s January Toy Sleuth looks at the wide world of new Mario toys.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Starz in Their Eyes (1/1/2008)
The new year. What a drag. Come off two months of nothing but lying by the pool and drinking piña coladas (Hollywood doesn’t do anything in November and December), and now the bright, shiny future is whacking me over the head with a two-by-four called production.

Toy Sleuth: Playing It Cool With RC (12/1/2007)
TDmonthly Magazine’s December Toy Sleuth looked about for what's hip, what's happening and what's "Charlie," and lo-and-behold, all sorts of interesting things popped up.

TDmonthly’s DVD Expert (12/1/2007)
Many lands and cultures are the focus of two of the DVDs this month, with a third thrown in that fosters creativity to get there without transportation.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Nick Grows Up (12/1/2007)
There comes a time when every Hollywood-ite must decide if he or she is going to grow up. Because in Hollywood, you don’t have to.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Walt Goes Wild (11/1/2007)
“Get thee to a toy store!” I yell at my assistant as she brings me my mocha latte. “I can’t keep track of all of this.”

Toy Sleuth: It’s a Big, Big World (11/1/2007)
TDmonthly Magazine’s Toy Sleuth got a yen for travel, so we scoured the globe for the latest and greatest toys, some of which are so “latest” they’re still on the drawing boards.

TDmonthly’s DVD Expert (11/1/2007)
These three DVDs manage to educate as well as entertain, each one a unique vision of some very specialized tastes:

Hollywood ToyBoy – China Out? Time Out! (10/1/2007)
Everyone in La-La Land has jumped on the get-the-lead-out bandwagon. Even the most SUV-loving, oil-guzzling, strip-mining movie moguls have seen the anti-lead-in-toys light. “Think of the children!”

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (10/1/2007)
This month's trio of DVDs feature playful dolphins, puppet pals and horses .. lots of them. But, zoology aside, they're all spot-on with their aim. These animals are for kids!

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (9/1/2007)
Signing, animals, hip hop and Internet safety. Varied themes this month?

Hollywood ToyBoy: Cartoon Network (9/1/2007)
My ol’ pappy used to say, “Nothing creative ever comes out of a committee.” And since Hollywood is one big committee ... where does that leave everyone who depends on its toys?

Toy Sleuth: The Final Frontier (9/1/2007)
TDmonthly Magazine’s September Toy Sleuth looks high, low and even under rocks this month, gathering glimpses of toys and games that will call up fond memories and watery Armageddon in a single bound.

TDmonthly's Expert Kid (9/1/2007)
TDmonthly Magazine uses experts from all facets of the toy business to review the products that come our way every month. With this guest reviewer, we go straight to the horse’s mouth, or, in this case, the kid’s mouth.

Lyn Dillies Makes Real Magic (9/1/2007)
Lyn Dillies, a professional magician, recently took her own money and time and "allakhazam’d" a beginner’s magic DVD from thin air

Toy Sleuth: Opposites Attach (8/1/2007)
This month, TDmonthly Magazine’s Toy Sleuth got taken up with some odd juxtapositions

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (8/1/2007)
This month's DVD selection is an odd assortment of high-budget and weirdness ... sometimes both

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (7/1/2007)
This month's DVDs go from updated Bible-inspired stories to old-time cartoony fun. And yet, somehow, they’re all kid friendly. Read away to find out how.

Toy Sleuth: A Summer of Transformation (7/1/2007)
July's Toy Sleuth goes from the primitive to the high-tech, taking familiar ideas and turning them on their heads

Hollywood ToyBoy: The End (of Mass Market) Is Near (7/1/2007)
Blockbuster merchandise isn’t selling as well as everyone thought it would.

Toy Sleuth — Inner Eye to Outer Limits (6/1/2007)
June’s Toy Sleuth takes you from the smallest particle/wave of light to the biggest thing there is: the cosmos.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Make Hollywood Obsolete (6/1/2007)
The sheep are running scared. It's Hollywood, so what's new?

Hollywood ToyBoy: Bored of the U.S.A. (5/1/2007)
From far-off India they come. From video games they come. Even from audiotapes.

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (5/1/2007)
What happens when you turn the three R's (Reading, Writing and 'Rithmatic) sideways?

Hollywood ToyBoy: Bad Breath, Taxes and Toons (4/1/2007)
April 15! Even in La La Land, the cold, bad breath of the taxman sweeps the land

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (4/1/2007)
"I'm up to my ears in babies!" I cry amidst the smell of fresh diapers and fresher faces. Every Hollywood mom wants her kid to be a "staahr," and they’re starting them younger and younger

Toy Sleuth: 8-Year-Old Birthday Boy's Picks (4/1/2007)
This month, Toy Sleuth ran his finds by a birthday boy turning 8

Toy Sleuth: It's Granny by a Nose (3/1/2007)
Sometimes what's bubbling under the surface can be revolutionary. Sometimes it can be evolutionary. And sometimes, it's just plain weird and wonderful.

Hollywood ToyBoy: This Is the Year That Is, Part I (3/1/2007)
Hollywood’s not dying, despite the rumors, and 2007 is going to be a biggie at the box office ... if competing release dates don't short-circuit the whole thing

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (3/1/2007)
"We're a bunch of videots," I explain calmly to the film students sitting in my office

Spider-Man Turns Mean (2/1/2007)
"Spider-Man 3," "Shrek the Third" and, yes, "Pirates of the Caribbean" (Part 3) are predicted to be the monster hits of 200 ... 7.

Toy Sleuth: February (2/1/2007)
Take something commonplace, look at it from a new angle and …Voila! The next big toy.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Carteens (2/1/2007)
Synergy! Tweens! Bradjolina! When will the cutesy word mash-ups end? And now there's another one

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (2/1/2007)
"Tell Gwyneth to just say 'goo-goo'!" I scream into my phone.

Toy Sleuth: Making the Future Friendly (1/1/2007)
The push for new technology in all walks of life, from techno-phones to TIVO TVs, has created a backlash

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (1/1/2007)
New Year, new vids for kids.

It's a Digital World (1/1/2007)
This generation of kids was born into the Internet and sometimes finds it more real than the "real world."

Little Kids Pick Up Big Kids' Books (1/1/2007)
Kids are reading younger ... at least those that are brought into specialty toyshops and bookstores

DVD, Ph.D. (1/1/2007)
"Finding Nemo" teaches ... biology? "Over the Hedge" teaches... ecology?

See You in the Funny Papers (1/1/2007)
Comic books are big business, but how is a non-geek to know which ones to stock?

Book 'Em, Kiddo (1/1/2007)
Sometimes judging a book by its cover is a good thing ... especially if it's a picture book

Hollywood ToyBoy: Specialty Toys Can Save Hollywood (1/1/2007)
Hollywood's in a rut. Just look at the trailers: action, action, explosions and screams... and those are for the comedies.

A Youthful Look at Books (12/1/2006)
A survey of 21 retailers across the nation revealed that these days, kids are doing more reading at a younger age.

When High-Flyin' Doesn't Fly (12/1/2006)
TDmonthly Magazine’s correspondents found that RC helicopters, Rocket Balloons, and Stomp Rocket sales were soaring

How Flying Toy Makers Reach for the Sky (12/1/2006)
Icarus. Da Vinci. The Wright Brothers. Man's dream of flight stretches back to time immemorial.

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (12/1/2006)
"Stop the monkey music!" I scream to my assistant, who is busily wearing her calming white iPod headphones in an effort to drown out my rantings and need for more coffee... much more coffee.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Electrify Toy Fair (12/1/2006)
Face it. Toy Fair is boring. Comic-Con is an enthusiastic geek-fest. E3 was sexy. But Toy Fair? Boring.

Make Kite Sales Soar in Specialty Stores (12/1/2006)
"Go fly a kite" can be an insult, but in the toy industry, it may be good advice.

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (11/1/2006)
“Brad Pitt wants $20 million,” my assistant says while putting a bowl of fat-free iced mango gelato down in front of me

Sugar and Spice No More! (11/1/2006)
Arts and crafts sell well to tween girls. Jewelry, too.

How to Get Boys Buying (11/1/2006)
Action is as action does.

What a Tween Girl Wants.... (11/1/2006)
According to CBS News, tween girls form the most powerful consumer group since the Baby Boom.

TDmonthly's Toy Sleuth: Toys Get Cool (11/1/2006)
The world has become a microcosm of ... the world.

Fly High With Kites (11/1/2006)
Kites continue to intrigue young and old — and when they’re used as part of a toy store’s décor, they can attract attention

Secrets of Successful Toy CEOs (11/1/2006)
Large or small, when you’re the head honcho of a toy company, how you parcel out each moment can mean the difference between success and failure.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Nearer, My Toy, To Thee (11/1/2006)
Twentieth Century Fox recently unveiled something we've all been hearing about for a while: FoxFaith

Wooden Sales Grow Stronger (11/1/2006)
Wood — the first wholesale toy-making material. Durable, beautiful ... expensive.

TDmonthly's DVD Expert (10/1/2006)
"Will Ferrell on line one," says my assistant (who sets my double mocha, sugar-free, fat-free, taste-free super-jumbo latte down on my desk).

How to Pick a Great Science Toy (10/1/2006)
What makes a good science and nature toy?

Electrify Kids With Science Kits (10/1/2006)
Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Michael Faraday: Giants in the toy industry.

Why Test Tube Toys Turn Profits (10/1/2006)
It all starts with wanting to blow up the world.

Toy Sleuth: Helicopting Head Turns Heads (10/1/2006)
Scouring the globe for the latest, greatest new toys and knickknacks, the TDmonthly Magazine Toy Sleuth picked up electrical ants, locomoting luggage, robots that eat pencils, and a helicopting head

Girls Like Gross, Too (10/1/2006)
Tweenettes may dress in pink and wear rhinestones, but that doesn’t mean they don’t wanna get down and dirty with creepy crawlies.

Sell Your Toy With a Picture (10/1/2006)
Matthew Fried shoots toys. So does Brian McCarty. With cameras.

How to Get Kids to Talk Up Your Toys (10/1/2006)
Social Networking is usurping print reviews and word of mouth for what is hot and not with today's tweens and teens.

Hollywood ToyBoy: Why Hollywood Wants to Crush You (10/1/2006)
Hollywood is bi... bi-coastal. LaLa Land and the Big Apple.

This Is No Toy (9/1/2006)
The dream of hydrogen-powered cars and fuel-cell technology is one of clean air and cheap energy.

Toys in the Desert (9/1/2006)
The Middle East: political hotspot of the globe.

TDmonthly's Hollywood ToyBoy (9/1/2006)
Parents want their kids to do well in school. Fact. Unfortunately, most kids would rather watch TV, play video games, or hang out with their friends goofin’ off rather than study.

TDmonthly's Toy Sleuth (9/1/2006)
"Quis cusotdiet ipsos toy makers?" TDmonthly Magazine does.

Kids Go Wild for AC/DC (9/1/2006)
Electronic science kits used to be a relatively snoozy staple in toy stores, but recently they’ve “exploded in popularity,” retailers reported to TDmonthly Magazine.

Music to a Kid's Ears (9/1/2006)
Toys and music have gone hand-in-hand since the first music box. But now, with iPods and downloads, CD mega-stores and file sharing, kid’s music at the toy store is becoming an endangered species. Or is it?

Showcase the Music (9/1/2006)
What goes into creating a kid song that works? TDmonthly Magazine talked with the creators and distributors of children's CDs

Low-Tech Band Aids (9/1/2006)
In every child is music. Sometimes it comes out through banging on a pot or a pan.

TDmonthly's Toy Sleuth (8/1/2006)
The search for the "new" is all-encompassing. TDmonthly Magazine scoured the globe for the latest and greatest.

On the Road With Asmodee (8/1/2006)
Asmodee Editions LLC is an established French company that’s been around for 15 years and takes in over 17 million Euro a year. Having conquered the Continent, they were getting a volume of requests for their product in the U.S.

From the Minds of Babes (8/1/2006)
In the 1880s, a teenager founded his own toy company based on a game he invented. Over 100 invented games later, George Parker and his company, Parker Brothers, were an institution.

Mi Casa Es Doll's Casa (8/1/2006)
Dollhouses date back at least 400 years, and although times may have changed and prices come down somewhat (the original dollhouses, according to the Hampshire Museum Services, could only be afforded by wealthy patrons, usually titled) the idea behind them has stayed the same. So what has changed?

Globe Warms to Environmentally Conscious Toys (8/1/2006)
The push for eco-consciousness is evident even in the toy industry.

Sit on It … Forever (8/1/2006)
Furniture may be the biggest toy kids have.

The CSI Guy Did It (8/1/2006)
Anthony Zuiker is best known as the creator and executive producer of the mega-hit television franchise CSI.

Look, Ma! Electrons! (7/1/2006)
What makes a good electronic toy more than just a couple of wires and a silicon chip? TDmonthly Magazine talked with manufacturers to find out what would be “electrifying” this holiday season and why.

Curiouser and Curiouser (7/1/2006)
What is the key to a good puzzle? Is it the difficulty? The inventiveness? That it looks cool? TDmonthly Magazine talked to manufacturers in order to take the puzzle out of puzzles.

Get Up and Go! (7/1/2006)
With the Christmas buying season in swing, how does a manufacturer of outdoor toys deal with the fourth quarter shelf-space melee?

The Science of Xmas (7/1/2006)
Science toys. Do the makers and purveyors have any scientific ideas about them? Were they “eggheads” themselves? Teachers?

Heavy Metal (7/1/2006)
Toys may come and toys may go, but die-cast is forever … always selling, regardless of trends, fads or the End of Days.

The Mathematics of a Successful Toy (7/1/2006)
Frank Armbruster, the man who is Colorado Bootstrap Inc., has worked out a mathematical equation for puzzles and toys that calculates which product will have the best chance of success.

Metal Detecting (7/1/2006)
There’s die-cast, and there’s Die-cast. TDmonthly Magazine talked with some of the expert’s experts in the die-cast collecting realm to find out what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s just scrap metal.

Licensed To Sell (6/1/2006)
Life has become one big licensed product.

TDmonthly’s Top 10 Most Wanted Boy Toys Ages 9 to 12 (6/1/2006)
TDmonthly Magazine editors and regional correspondents talked with over 30 retailers across the country to divine what the “young lions” were playing with and why.

Art For Crafts’ Sake (6/1/2006)
What makes a product artsy? Craftsy? Tastes change, as do technologies.

Lions and Tigers and Arks — Oh My! (6/1/2006)
The makers of non-licensed playsets have found that the way to sell without a big name character is by promoting recognizable scenes.

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