The first in a series of features from The Rock Father™ celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels.
Since the launch of Mattel's Hot Wheels back in 1968, there have been hundreds (perhaps thousands) of playsets released, each providing an environment for generations of children to enjoy countless hours of high-octane imaginative play. At the center of that, the ever-updated range of garages has always been the pinnacle (we love our Ultimate Garage), but those were seldom portable - which is where the Sto & Go collection came in. Launched in 1979, the Hot Wheels Sto & Go Playsets perfectly reflected their name, packing big fun into a set that could quickly be flipped into a briefcase form that's ready to go wherever the family might be headed. Perhaps the most famous of the sets is the one that I had - the Hot Wheels Sto & Go Service Center, but there were several others, including the Sto & Go City, Construction Site, Car Wash & Service Station and lesser-known versions like the "Trucks & Trains" Railroad Freight Yard, Alpine Mountain Adventure military-themed "Action Command" Sto & Go Base. The line ran into the 90s before going dormant for a bit, but in 2016 it returned as part of the Hot Wheels Retro Style Series. Available exclusively at Target, the modern Hot Wheels Sto & Go Playset is not a direct copy of any of the vintage sets, but rather inspired by the best features of what came before it - largely pulling from the Service Center and City Sets. Check out the music video below to see this set in-action!
When I was a kid, it was always interesting to hear how much the grownups of the day referenced the 1950s, and to a lesser extent, the 1960s. As a parent of this generation, I find myself constantly referencing the 1980s, and I don't know if it's all a part of the "Back in my day..." cycle, or if that decade just really was perfect when it came to pop culture and toys. Joining the multitude of icons that have returned, Madballs are back for another round this year, relaunched and ready to win the masses with their gross-out fun.
One of my favorite toys of the 1980s was TEDDY RUXPIN - a toy I've often cited as a benchmark example of what a truly timeless tech toy could be. Now comes news that Wicked Cool Toys as teamed up with Alchemy II, Inc. to relaunch the Teddy Ruxpin brand and franchise globally "with toys, content and comprehensive licensed merchandising program." Set for release in 2017, this will be the fifth iteration of Teddy Ruxpin, and I personally hope that it recaptures the magic of the original Worlds of Wonder release back in 1985. While other companies have held the license and have tried their hands at bringing Ruxpin back, any push has been short-lived. Now, a decade since the last version, I have a feeling that Wicked Cool (who currently has Cabbage Patch Kids as well) could do good things with it.
When it was first revealed that the Netflix would be revisiting the world of ABC's FULL HOUSE, many didn't know how to react to the idea of reuniting with the Tanner family two decades later. Thing is, FULL HOUSE never went away, and new generations have discovered it through endless syndication. Then RIOT FEST made an attempt at getting John Stamos to reunite JESSE & THE RIPPERS - something that ended up happening, albeit with Jimmy Fallon instead. Could the reunion of this fictional FULL HOUSE band have been the real reason why we're getting FULLER HOUSE in 2016? Probably not, but the buzz for the first season debut of the latest Netflix Original Series is exciting. On February 26, the first 13-episode season will become streaming on Netflix, and today comes the first batch of official photos. Take a look.
It's no secret that KNIGHT RIDER is the greatest television series that the world has, or will ever know. Sure, it may only hold that acclaim here in my own home, but I love KNIGHT RIDER immensely, and hold its star, David Hasselhoff in exceptionally high regard. I've been obsessed with the series ever since its initial run from 1982-1986, and was saddened as a 10-year-old when it went off the air, unceremoniously - without a true send-off or finale (though "The Scent of Roses" should've been aired last, but was not). Various reboots have failed over the years, with none just giving the fans what they really want - Michael Knight and K.I.T.T. in a Pontiac Trans Am. Whenever a hint of something new comes forth, people get anxious - and that's what happened back in May of 2014 when news of something called KNIGHT RIDER HEROES started bubbling. Now, 19 months later, there's a trailer for KNIGHT RIDER HEROES, though we still don't know what it is. It's both exciting and concerning at the same time...
When it comes to Disney•Pixar's TOY STORY franchise, one of the smartest things they've done is keep the adventures fresh with spin-off TOY STORY TOONS and TV Specials. These stand-alone adventures have been perfect for introducing new characters and keeping Buzz, Woody and all of their friends current in the minds of what is now a couple generations - two decades past the 1995 debut of the first TOY STORY feature film. While they've all been big hits here, none has hit the mark more than TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT - a 22-minute short film that premiered on ABC ahead of Christmas 2014. Released now on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere, TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT is a featured pick in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine as a perfect stocking stuffer for TOY STORY-loving kids and grownups alike... especially ones that grew up in the 1980s (like me) and are raising kids right now.