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James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

Learn more here

Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.

As we approach the next "Force Friday" event on September 1, the folks at Hasbro have updated their official YouTube Channel tonight with a look at some of the new STAR WARS toys set for release ahead of Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI this December. The big one (literally) has already elicited a verbal "I want that!" from the youngest of The Rock Daughters™, along with a mental of "I want that..." from yours truly. Indeed, Hasbro is releasing a playset, and I honestly can't remember the last time that they did a proper 3.75" playset that wasn't just a fold-out vehicle. In this case, they're releasing a large BB-8 that opens up into a First Order Star Destroyer, complete with four levels of play and figures of Supreme Leader Snoke and an Elite Praetorian Guard. Take a look at the new commercial below!

Way back on February 2, I was the first to give you an early look at the Step2 McLaren 570S - the first toy created under a new partnership between McLaren Automotive and The Step2 Company. Now that ride has a street date, and the revolutionary 570S Step2 Push Sports Car will be rolling out to in September as an Amazon Exclusive before arriving at global retailers and Step2.com later this fall. 

This Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and The Walt Disney Company

I don't recall what I was doing on Friday, June 24, 1994, but chances are I was probably working my job as Assistant Dairy Manager of the local Hy-Vee grocery store in my then-home of Davenport, Iowa. I was a month or so past my high school graduation, and one of the summer's big movies was Walt Disney Animation Studios' THE LION KING. Aside from the buzz, I don't even remember what initially drew my attention to the film at the time, but I do remember taking a girl to see a matinee screening - not really a "date," but an afternoon adventure. It became one of my favorite films of that year, along with PULP FICTION, AIRHEADS, SPEED, NATURAL BORN KILLERS - and from the absolute opposite end of the cinematic spectrum, a tiny film called PCU, directed by the guy who played Ellis in DIE HARD. Now, with "The Circle of Life Edition" of THE LION KING being issued on Digital HD (out now for the first time) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (out 8/29) as part of The Walt Disney Signature Collection, my appreciation and love of the film burns brighter than ever after attending this summer's D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, where I was in the room for a special panel in celebration of this classic slice of Disney perfection.

The world of the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES has evolved numerous times throughout the past few decades, and through countless adventures that have sometimes jumped dimensions, the Turtles have occasionally crossed paths with a Ronin rabbit called Miyamoto Usagi, perhaps better-known as Usagi Yojimbo. Created in the 1980s by Stan Sakai, the character has appeared alongside the TMNT crew in several different versions, particularly becoming a cult favorite based on the original 1987 animated series. Now, in Nickelodeon's TALES OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Usagi is back, and a recent three-part story arc found the Ninja Turtles transported to an alternate dimension in which they fight as samurai alongside the mysterious Ronin rabbit. Of course, being back on the radar for a new generation means the right time to be reintroduced to the toy line, and Playmates has stepped-up with a fantastic Samurai-themed collection of new TMNT action figures, a sampling of which arrived here at Rock Father™ HQ for review.

This Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and The Walt Disney Company

There's a moment in the premiere episode of Disney XD's DuckTales in which Donald rolls up to the estate of Scrooge McDuck, his nephews along for the ride. From the back seat, Huey, Dewey and Louie can't believe where they're at - and have seemingly never met their great-uncle. In fact, to them, Scrooge seems to be a legend - a mythical figure whose status is not unlike that of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Just as Rey learned from Han Solo that the stories were true - "all of them," the boys soon realize that when it comes to Scrooge, the stories were also true - most of them. After taking a real-life leap into Scrooge's famed "money bin" at this summer's D23 Expo, I took an early look at the new series alongside Executive Producer Matt Youngberg and Co-Producer/Story Editor Francisco Angones. The sneak-preview prompted a few questions...

Tom Freund has been covering Pete Townshend's 1980 single "Let My Love Open the Door" as a part of his live shows since 2008. Now, with the help of friend and frequent collaborator, Ben Harper, the world has a studio version of this ukulele-driven cover to enjoy. "We’ve played it ‘live” in various corners of the world, from the Alps of Italy to the lower Manhattan subterranean," said Freund of the track, adding that "this year felt like the right time to lay it down in the studio." While a video is said to be in the works, you can check out a stream of the song below...

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