As someone who writes about toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff. It's also very common for toymakers to send me pitches either for feedback, or in hopes that I will review them or cover their crowdfunding efforts. Tonight marks the second time that something once pitched to me shows up on ABC's THE TOY BOX, with Emotiplush (emailed to me during a crowdfunding run in 2014) vying for the attention of the judges in hopes of being crowned champion. At the end of the 8-week series, the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Check out all of the week three toys below...
Last week, ABC's newest unscripted series, THE TOY BOX, made it's debut, and I gave you the inside scoop (read it here). It's week two for the 8-week first season, and Friday night will see another round of hopeful toy inventors make their way in front of the mentors with hopes of making it into The Toy Box, and ultimately to the final round in which one lucky winner will see their toy produced by Mattel, and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Since many of you loved The Toy Box in its premiere, ABC and The Rock Father™ are giving you a sneak-peek at this week's episode in this shared exclusive clip that's premiering on select site as part of the recent #ABCTVEvent and #Cars3Event. See the "Piñata Backpack Chase" and get the details on this weeks toys below!
Mattel's ever-expanding line of Star Wars-inspired toys has been a big favorite here at Rock Father HQ, both with our family and readers of the site alike. Leading the charge has been the Star Wars Hot Wheels Character Cars (checklist here), and as promised last year, the 2017 Star Wars Celebration Orlando will be the place to get the exclusive Biggs Darklighter car - the winner of a fan's choice poll. As I'm not attending Celebration in-person, this one might be tough to get (I missed out on the previous Celebration-exclusive Boba Fett as well), but it's definitely something to see. Check out the image below, as debuted by Yahoo! this morning.
Despite the fact that most American homes have toys in them (even those that are sans-kids), the general public still seems to know fairly little about the toy industry and how it works. Each year, thousands of toys hit the market, and for every one that makes it from development to production, there's dozens more that have been pitched and failed. While most toymakers have in-house development teams, a good portion of new toys are developed by independent inventors or design studios who turn around and either sell or license their creations to one of the major companies. As a toy reviewer myself, I see a ton of toys come into The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ™ each year, and I'm always on the lookout for current and upcoming trends in play (I'm also on the Parent Advisory Panel for The Toy Insider and have served as a Play Influencer for the Chicago Toy & Game Fair). That said, when ABC invited me to take an early look at their new competition series, THE TOY BOX (premiering TONIGHT, FRIDAY, APRIL 7 from 8:00–9:00 p.m. EDT on ABC), I was intrigued - especially since I was able to see it in the screening room at Pixar Animation Studios with Jen Tan, Creative Director of Consumer Products for Pixar - a mentor on the show. The premise: Toy inventors present their concepts to a group of mentors and a panel of judges (kids!) with an ultimate goal of making it to the finals, where the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us immediately following the season finale.
The Rock Father™ is collaborating with Disney Pixar for the #Cars3Event
Over the course of four decades, I've had some adventures. In fact, some have been so unique, that I fully expect to one day become that white-haired old grandpa, who sits and spins tales so elaborate that younger generations don't know whether to believe them or not. As a grown-up, I've explored many career paths, my interests casting a wide net, quite possibly inspired by my own lineage. Even as a child, there were some uncommon experiences, and those adventures helped shape who I am today, though certain interests have gone dormant at times, only to be reignited somewhere later down the road. A love of cars and racing is a prime example, something once fueled by my dad's 70's/80's gig as a track announcer for UARA and World of Outlaw Midgets, and later doing NASCAR at the legendary (and sadly, closed) Santa Fe Speedway. As my adult life veered me toward exploits in music, television, film and writing, it was the birth of our daughters that brought all-things automotive back to the forefront. What we think really did it was Disney•Pixar's Cars... specifically, 2011's Cars 2. Addie was absolutely enamored by Lightning McQueen and Holley Shiftwell, and that ignited an octane-obsession that led to an impressive collection of Hot Wheels. I thought she loved cars... but her little sister has a passion that's even bigger. Those girls are responsible for "Rock Father Rides" even existing, and it's completely exciting how everything has all come together. Next week, I'll be at Pixar Animation Studios, stepping into the world of Cars 3! Indeed, The Rock Daughters™ are bummed that they can't come with for this one.
We have a tradition here at Rock Father HQ that every Spring, the Easter Bunny leaves the girls the new collection of Easter Hot Wheels - a set available in super-limited quantities at Walmart every year. While the Bunny has yet to find the 2017 set (I've spoken to him, and he's actively hunting), this year there's something else that Mattel has for the season, and it comes from the ever-growing world of Disney•Pixar's Cars. Available for a limited time, the Easter Cars assortment features vehicles and coordinating baskets that are based on the 2012 book, Mater and the Easter Buggy. Easter Lightning McQueen, Easter Mater, Easter Ramone, and yes, The Easter Buggy are all hopping into town... but the real trick is gonna be finding them.