June 2006 | Vol. V - No. 6
|“Little girls, like 6 to 8, want Dorothy because of the ruby slippers, and then the grandmothers will finish the whole series for them.” — Diane Sparks, Dollhouse Gallery|
“In the last year, I’d say 2 years old and up,” Marsha Johnson, general manager of The Name Dropper in Montgomery, Ala., commented about her typical customer for Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz dolls. “That’s new to me, that a 2-year-old would watch the ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie! … We have [the dolls] on the front counter, and when the children are at the counter, they recognize them. … It is our most popular series of Madame Alexander.”
“Dorothy seems to be the most popular one of all,” agreed Diane Sparks, owner of Dollhouse Gallery in Florence, Ala. “Little girls, like 6 to 8, want Dorothy because of the ruby slippers, and then the grandmothers will finish the whole series for them.”
Adult collectors buy up the Tonner Doll Company’s (ToyShow) updated rendition of The Wizard of Oz, which features a glamorous green witch and Glinda sans ballgown. Suzanne Corselli, owner of Not Just Dolls in Royce City, Texas, told TDmonthly, “I think it’s be because the collectors have known the movie since they were children.” Tonner also has a popular “Alice in Wonderland” series.
Anita Frazier, industry analyst at the NPD Group, probably wouldn’t be surprised at the strong reaction to such classic licenses. "Licensed toy sales accounted for 26 percent of total toy industry sales in the United States in 2005,” she told TDmonthly. “The percentage ranges from 24 to 28 percent most years, so it's a significant and stable part of the toy industry."
"Sales of licensed classical toys generally cycle," added Eugene Paraszczuk, director of marketing for licensed products at Russ Berrie and Company. "The classical toys have steady continuous sales, and with some type of media hype, the toy will come into very high demand.”
That’s what’s going on with Curious George, according to Mary Dondero, owner of Cheshire Cat Fine Toys in Ft. Myers, Fla. Since the release this year of the Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment film starring Will Ferrell, kids in her store are climbing the walls for monkey toys. And while she’s been selling plenty of Curious George puzzles and books, she hasn’t been able to get her hands on the plush by Russ Berrie.
“I guess they underestimated the demand,” she said, while awaiting the arrival of her order. Since the licensed George himself isn’t yet available in her store, kids have been picking up other plush chimps and making do.
Paraszczuk admitted that the major demand related to the opening of the movie has made it challenging to maintain inventory. He expects high demand next year for Spider-Man products with the release of the new Spider-Man movie. Rubies Costume Company (ToyDirectory), TOMY and Wikki Stix are among other companies offering licensed Curious George items.
Paramount’s film “The Wizard of Oz” was released in 1939, and the book “Curious George,” by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey, was first published by Houghton Mifflin six decades ago. Yet, both old-timers are newcomers when compared with Raggedy Ann, who celebrated her 90th last year.
“I’ve sold Raggedy Ann for the last 20 years and do pretty good with them,” said Corselli. “Always have.”
And who’s buying the red-headed ragdoll that’s never had a hit flick?
“The grandparents buy it,” answered Johnson. “My mother-in-law has asked me to get one for her great granddaughter … And she wanted a book to go along with it.”
“I got in Raggedy Ann by Applause — the 90th Anniversary edition … and have already sold several, so I think they’ll do real well,” affirmed Sparks.
Here are some classic licensed toys that retailers claim aren’t staying on the shelves long enough to gather dust:
Classic George with T-Shirt by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 16'' Curious George doll wears the character’s signature red and yellow colored T-shirt with "Curious George" in cursive writing. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $21.00; Age: All Ages)
Policeman George by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 12'' Curious George doll has on a navy police uniform complete with an officer hat and yellow badge. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $14.00; Age: All Ages)
Pajama George by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 12'' Curious George doll has on a striped button up and collar flannel pajamas outfit and is holding a little stuffed animal. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $14.00; Age: All Ages)
Fireman George by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 12'' Curious George doll has on a fireman's yellow overalls and knee length boots and is topped with a plastic red fireman's hat. He is holding a small Dalmatian puppy with a red collar. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $14.00; Age: All Ages)
Train Conductor George by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 12'' Curious George doll has a red handkerchief wrapped around his neck and is wearing jean overalls and a jean conductor hat. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $14.00; Age: All Ages)
Doctor George by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 12'' Curious George doll has on a doctor's white coat with a stethoscope and holds a black leather doctor's bag. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $14.00; Age: All Ages)
Baseball George by RUSS BERRIE
This cute plush 12'' Curious George doll has on a striped button-down baseball shirt and a baseball cap on top of his head and is ready for the big game with a baseball in hand. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $14.00; Age: All Ages)
Retractable Web Swinger by RUSS BERRIE
Spider-Man hangs on the rope. When you pull him down, he will automatically climb up it. A loop on top of the rope enables you to secure it to a fixture. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $12.00; Age: 8 and Up)
Glinda, the Good Witch of the North by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, wears a beautiful pink ball gown. Multiple layers of organza and charmeuse dotted with sparkling stars decorate the dress. Hand-applied details include rhinestone brooches. Glinda holds a magic wand in her delicate hands and a beautifully detailed crown sits atop her head. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $149.99; Age: 8 and Up)
The Wicked Witch of the West by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
The green-faced Wicked Witch of the West is dressed in a corseted black sheer dress with puffed sleeves and a long flowing cape. She holds her broom and, of course, a witch hat sits on her head. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $149.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Dorothy by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
Pretty sweet Dorothy is wearing a checkered pastel blue dress. Ribbons decorate her braids and a matching tablecloth covers the wicker picnic basket. Her dog, Toto, follows near as she leaves Munchkinland. And don't forget those famous Ruby slippers. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $79.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Alice by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
Alice, a black ribbon in her beautiful long hair, is dressed in an embroidered pinafore over patterned pastel blue cotton. She wears tights and black dress shoes. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $99.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Queen of Hearts Wonderland Stroll by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
The Queen of Hearts wears a red velveteen walking coat in black lace trim for her Wonderland strolls. The outfit includes a stunning feather hat, hosiery and black ankle boots. 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $79.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Raggedy Ann & Andy by RUSS BERRIE
These 30" Raggedy Ann and Andy plush dolls are timeless. Both have red yarn hair, button eyes and triangular noses and wear their traditional outfits: a white apron over a blue cotton shirt for Raggedy Ann and a flannel shirt, blue pants and a ribbon for Andy.
— "Raggedy Ann" was among the popular licensed products mentioned by Holly Reay, owner of Kid’s Corner in Indianapolis, Ind.
— "Raggedy Ann & Andy" was also cited as a licensed-toy winner by Melodie Ingwersen, owner of Creative Kids in Columbia, S.C.
— Almost no toy could be more classic than Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle's sweet-natured and moral character from the series of books he wrote for young children in 1918. Supposedly based on a rehabbed rag doll Gruelle created for his daughter, Marcella, Raggedy Ann captured the hearts of a nation. Raggedy Andy joined her advenures in 1920. These 30" versions of Gruelle's characters are a fourth-quarter staple, specialty toy store owners told TDmonthly Magazine, and so have earned a TDmonthly Classic Toy 2007 award. ( Watch Video) 4/14/2006 (MSRP: $59.95; Age: 8 and Up)
Raggedy Ann and Andy Premiere Edition by R. JOHN WRIGHT DOLLS INC.
These 17” custom-made wool felt dolls are designed with leather-covered button eyes and wool yarn hair. A rotating joint at the neck, floppy arms and gusset joints at the hips and knees allow these dolls to be posed. True to the original Gruelle illustrations, this limited-edition set is advertised as the most authentic Raggedy Ann and Andy ever made (except, of course, for the first dolls made by the Gruelle family themselves). 2/1/2006 (MSRP: $595.00; Age: 12 and Up)
The Adventures of Raggedy Ann & Andy by NEW VIDEO GROUP INC. / A&E HOME VIDEO
The release of these two films coincides with the 90th anniversary of the classic Ann and Andy dolls. In “The Mabbit Adventure and Other Exciting Tales” and “The Pixling Adventure and Other Exciting Tales” Ann and Andy take lighthearted journeys that will enthrall children from beginning to end. Each DVD ($12.95) AND VHS ($9.95) comes with three 30-minute episodes. 9/19/2005
Raggedy Ann by APPLAUSE LLC.
This favored toy dates back to 1915 when Johnny Gruelle invented pictures and stories to entertain his daughter during a childhood illness. Raggedy Ann, along with her counterpart Raggedy Andy, has been the subject of numerous stories in the generations since. This particular plush toy, part of the Applause Dakin Signature Collection, stands roughly 12” high, has button eyes, a blue dress and a white apron bearing the doll’s name embroidered in red. Raggedy Ann is a lovable, huggable addition to any plush toy collection. 5/19/2005
The Wizard of Oz Collection — Lady Ozmopolitan by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
From The Wizard of Oz Collection, Robert Tonner introduces a new character for 2006 to add to the glamorous Witches of Oz Collection. It includes a new Fashion Lady of Oz — Lady Ozmopolitan — who comes dressed in an outfit inspired by the film’s Emerald City Hairdresser’s costume by designer, Adrian. Other costumes, also inspired by Adrian’s Emerald City costumes, will be available. The limited-edition doll will be sold at doll and toy specialty retailers nationwide. Stand and dress are included. Separately available outfits range from $59.99 to $99.99. 11/30/2005 (MSRP: $124.99; Age: 8 and Up)
The Alice in Wonderland Collection — Queen of Hearts Coronation by TONNER DOLL COMPANY
From the Alice in Wonderland Collection, Tonner’s 16” Queen of Hearts is a monarch of style at her coronation, wearing a faux-fur trimmed red and black velvet gown. Other Victorian/fantasy-themed costumes will be available. The limited-edition doll will be sold at doll and toy specialty retailers nationwide and comes with a custom stand. Separately available outfits range in price from $59.99 to $99.99. 11/30/2005 (MSRP: $169.99; Age: 8 and Up)
Plush Travel Play Set by RUSS BERRIE
With a successful movie under his belt, a DVD in the works, and a soon-to-be-released new television series, Curious George continues to capture the imagination of children and adults. New to the Curious George line from RUSS is the Plush Travel Play Set. Designed as a take-along toy, George's house consists of an open textured flap, transparent windows and a mirror. Included in the house are George (who squeals when squeezed), a bed and his famous red wagon. The play set hits stores in June.
— "We sell lot of Curious George. The movie came and went, but it’s still very popular. It’s also on PBS — anything on there is popular. A lot of it is TV-driven," observed Nellie Fais, owner of Toy Magic in Bethlehem, Pa.
— When asked to give TDmonthly a sales figure for Curious George, Fais said, "We sell very few licensed toys — probably about 12 per month."
— Two of 39 other retailers agreed in spring 2007 that Curious George is a best-selling licensed brand with their customers. 4/24/2006 (MSRP: $29.99)
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