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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.

Sunday, November 19 2017 19:06

THE TOY BOX Crowns a Second Season Winner...

The second season of THE TOY BOX has come to a close on ABC, and now we know which new toy the judges have crowned champion. For the past eight weeks, the kid judges have come face-to-face with hopeful toy inventors, each competing for a shot at having their creation mass-produced by Mattel and made available for sale exclusively at Toys "R" Us. The winner this time around? Hydroshield aka Water Dodger! But that's not all, as Toys "R" Us chose Eardorables as a runner-up, and host Eric Stonestreet's personal favorite,  Wobb-Ball (seen as Flexxball) s a reality as well. See the winning toys below...

In doing what I do, I've been fortunate to see a lot of great toys cross my path over the past few years. For 2017, there's certainly been some highlights, but one of the best new toys was a late entry, and one that had escaped me until its makers hit me up earlier this fall and sent over one for review. When it comes to playsets, I grew up in an era that had a bunch of them - iconic sets from Star Wars, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe, to name a few. While there's no doubt that kids want the biggest and best, the grownup mentality is that there's a real problem with those awesome playsets... storage. Our girls have some incredible sets here, ranging from the Barbie Dream House to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair. They're massively fun, but also massive in size... big, bulky plastic sets that aren't easy to store in-between adventures. Now, the makers of ReadySetz have emerged with their first playset - one that both provides a fun environment for imaginative play and solves the space problem. It's one of 2017's coolest new toys, and one you've likely never heard of.

There's been a fantastic trend over the past couple of years where the doll aisle has been receiving some action-packed upgrades. The recent successes of Mattel's DC Super Hero Girls and Hasbro's Star Wars: Forces of Destiny have fueled that, and now we have the WWE Fashion Superstars line. Also from Mattel, we have the same two-pronged approach that they've taken with the DC line - a collection of articulated 11-12" action dolls, along with a collection of 6" action figures. An assortment of these dolls recently arrived at Rock Father HQ, where they became an easy choice for a top pick in my annual Holiday Wish Guide™. Check out the video and review below...

Monster High is in a little bit of a lull right now. If you've visited your favorite toy retailer this fall, you might've noticed that the shelf space dedicated to Mattel's ghoulish crew has shrunk a bit, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some great new toys to check out. As Monster High continues to evolve, there's an awesome new playset out this season (The Monster High Deluxe Bus), along with some new dolls including the Monster Family collection. Now, the parents and siblings are getting into the action (Dracula!), and our most recent addition came to us for review from the folks at Mattel. Here we have Clawdeen Wolf along with her brother, Barker Wolf and baby sister, Weredith - all in their pjs and ready for bedtime fun! Actually, let's just take a cue from Ozzy Osbourne and say that they're ready to "bark at the moon!" Check out the video below...

I'm a little bummed. Back in July, one of the many highlights of Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim was an early look at footage from Disney•Pixar's INCREDIBLES 2 during the animation panel. In it, we got a glimpse at a few things, one of which I can certainly relate to - Mr. Incredible as an at-home dad, and what happens when he falls asleep and the kids start to play. That footage has never been seen outside of Hall D23, and with the release of the first public teaser for INCREDIBLES 2, you're still not getting to see it... at least not yet. Ahead of its theatrical debut alongside COCO later this week, take a look at the INCREDIBLES 2 teaser below!

Funko POP! Vinyls have become an incredible phenomenon in recent years, allowing kids and collectors to amass huge collections of their favorite pop culture characters. For those who want something smaller, the Pocket Pops! have been a great option, and one that's recently spun off into the keychain realm. In reality, these collectible, tradeable miniatures are simply Pocket Pops! with a keychain screwed into the top, so you can easily unscrew the keychain to play with the figures by themselves. My friends at Entertainment Earth recently sent us an entire factory-fresh display case of the new Funko Disney Series 1 Pocket Pop! Keychains, so Finley and I entered The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ to tackle these blind bags head-on in an episode of UNBOXED! Check out our full unboxing video below for your first look at this awesome new assortment...

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