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Halloween 2014Yes, it's still technically summer, but as you may have heard me mention a time or two in the past, when it comes to Fall and/or Halloween, you can never be too early in talking about it - only too late.  With just a hair over two months until the big day, the Halloween news has begun flowing, and tonight I've got details on a cool little item from the Mattel Hot Wheels Monster Jam collection. For the first time ever, there is a Halloween Edition 1:64-scale diecast version of Grave Digger being offered, but it's exclusively available through Feld Motorsports' official Monster Jam Superstore. Check it out below, right here on THE ROCK FATHER...

THE ROCK FATHER is a Step2 Brand AmbassadorAfter working with Step2 for almost two years as a Test Driver and now, Brand Ambassador - I finally got the chance to visit Step2 HQ in Streetsboro, Ohio last week, where I got an inside look on all the hot new toys they've got headed for retail over the next year or so. One of them is rolling out (quite literally) right now, with the new 2-in-1 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT about to hit the streets. With the ability to turn from a parent-powered push buggy into a kid-powered ride-on toy, the Raptor looks to be a must-have for kids 18 months and up as we enter the Fall season. Check it out...

Before his untimely passing in 2002, Joe Strummer of THE CLASH was a noted car enthusiast. On September 9, 1987, Strummer scored a 1963 Ford Thunderbird - an original California double black-plate Bullet body style T-bird - for just $4,200. While the car has surfaced since his death a time or two (records of a 2003 auction still float around), those wishing to own the ride of a certified "Rock Father" now have the chance, as the car is in the hands of the Beverly Hills Car Club and has just been put up for auction on eBay, with the sale set to close on what would've been Strummer's 62nd birthday, August 21, 2014.

This adventure is brought to you by Walmart. THE ROCK FATHER is a Socialstars 2014 #WalmartAuto Ambassador. The Armor All products featured in this story are all available at your local store or at Walmart.com.

Ten years ago, SCION made it's debut here in the U.S., and I - deeply embedded in the entertainment world at the time - found myself enamored by the Scion XB, aka "The Box" after seeing it on the streets of California, where it arrived early. I ordered one brand-new, completely loaded and set to be delivered in June of 2004. In fact, I'm told it was the first black version to be delivered and sold in the state of Wisconsin (and imported to Illinois), but I've never been able to confirm that. I had it decked out with red LEDs to capture that KNIGHT RIDER vibe I dig so much, along with racing pedals, additional performance features, and the top-of-the-line Pioneer sound system. Upon arrival, I bestowed upon it a red Autobot insignia, displayed proudly on it's rear window... a throwback to the TRANSFORMERS debut in 1984. The car and I were ready for adventure, and many adventures were had. Now, in 2014 - I still have the Autobot in my driveway, but things are different. The bazooka tube is out of the trunk (room for a stroller), and in the back are a pair of car seats. 160,000 miles later, my Scion is still rockin', and it's Daddy and Addie that keep it that way.

Toy State Test DriverThe crew over at Toy State have really been rolling out some sweet new rides of late - many of which have emerged due to their partnership with Mattel to create vehicles based on the iconic HOT WHEELS brand. As a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, I've been able to try out many of these with my girls, right here at Rock Father HQ - and this week there's sort of a "Baja" theme, as we just reviewed one Baja from their Engine Power line - and here we have the Team Hot Wheels Baja Truck from the Energy Can R/C collection

Toy State Test DriverWhat exactly are "Skidders," you ask? Part of the Road Rippers line from Toy State, the Skidders are electronic vehicles that have lights, sound, music and motion - all working together to get the rides rockin' down the road before coming to a dramatic, fish-tailing stop or "skid." In other words, they're a kid-magnet, and while the line has been out for a few years now, as a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, the girls and I have been able to take the latest model for a spin, right here at Rock Father HQ. New for summer 2014, the Mini Cooper Countryman WRC joins the Dodge Ram Power Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang 5.0 in the Road Rippers Skidders fleet. Recommended for Ages 3+, check out Little Finn playing with hers...

Toy State Test DriverIt's always interesting to see what kids will latch onto, and when it comes to HOT WHEELS, Addie has particular affection for a model known as the BONE SHAKER. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I think it goes back to when we started reviewing Mega Bloks Hot Wheels sets here on the site a year or so ago. We did one set with Bone Shaker, and then did another - one in which we did our own custom rebuild to create a version of what's known as the "Baja Bone Shaker." At this point, whenever we come across a version of the car (the recent TEAM HOT WHEELS: THE ORIGIN OF AWESOME comes to mind), Addie is all over it... like when we were in Toys R Us a few months back and she just took it upon herself to drop a $39.99 Hot Wheels Engine Power R/C Baja Bone Shaker into our cart without asking. But Daddy happens to be a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, and guess who makes that one? Yep, Toy State in partnership with Mattel... so I told little Addie to hold off for a bit and see what THE ROCK FATHER could do. Fast-forward to June, and the beast had arrived here at Rock Father HQ among my latest items for testing. Rock and Roll!

Step2An extraordinarily simple, yet modern spin on a classic toy, the Step2 Crayola Crayon Rider arrived here at Rock Father HQ back in April as part of my gig as a Step2 Brand Ambassador.

It could be considered a very bold move to release a product and deem it "unbreakable." In fact, back in 1912 there was a little ship called TITANIC - one whose makers deemed it "unsinkable," and history knows how that turned out. Here we have a toy that arrived here at Rock Father HQ for testing in our state-of-the-art facility (our house), a toy that's technically been on the market for a couple of years now, the Hercules Unbreakable 3.2ch Radio Controlled Helicopter by World Tech Toys. Having a stable of licenses including DC Comics (a line including BATMAN and SUPERMAN has been released), the NBA (team-centric choppers), and most recently locking-in the folks at WWE (check out the John Cena helicopter), I was eager to dig in and get our Hercules ready for it's first flight. So how did it fare?

THE BOO HOO CREW are back again with the follow-up to last month's "Teddy Bear March." For June, this West Coast Kindie Crew is paying tribute to something a little more... rumbly. "Vroom!" is their sonic ode to muscle cars and American-made horsepower, and it's available on BandcampiTunes and Amazon right now. Stream the track below, right here on THE ROCK FATHER!

My friends and readers in the UK have hopefully been able to check out some of CARS THAT ROCK with BRIAN JOHNSON as it's been airing Thursdays at 9pm on Quest (Freeview 38, Sky 167, Virgin Media 172), in which the AC/DC frontman gets hands-on with some of the world's finest rides. While CARS THAT ROCK is not yet airing here in the 'States (hopefully it will later this year) the folks connected to the series have been sending me "After Hours" clips - each one focusing on the car line featured in the latest episode.  Tonight, viewers in the UK got a look at BENTLEY... and now we can all check out "After Hours." 

Back in March, I shared my thoughts on the Netflix Premiere of the 30-minute TEAM HOT WHEELS special.  Now comes some news that's a little on the short-notice side, but worth taking note of... This weekend - June 7 & 8 only - TEAM HOT WHEELS: THE ORIGIN OF AWESOME heads into theaters in a special big-screen presentation from Fathom Events and Mattel. Tickets are available now via Fandango and theater box offices, with screenings taking place both days at 11am local time in select theaters. Check out a preview and details below, right here on THE ROCK FATHER!

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