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, has contributed to The Toy Book and regularly 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.
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 PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, 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 the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.
On this week's episode of the Power Kid Podcast, the featured guest is a familiar one... me. Each week, toy industry veteran Phil Albritton interviews amazing people making amazing things for kids. Toys, games, books, media - he covers it all in the only podcast dedicated to the modern children's entertainment industry. Phil and I had connected over on LinkedIn, and one big question he had was how my career trajectory took me from covering horror movies and entertainment for FANGORIA to penning columns for Sprout Channel's late Sprout Parents site. On the show I explain how all that happened, and discuss a bit of my backstory, from working in retail 20 years ago to entering the world of film & tv to winding up here, covering toys and pop culture for the likes of The Toy Insider, Toy Book and The Pop Insider. We also discuss my deep-dive into the collapse of Toys "R" Us, and close things out with some words about raising kids and parenting in the "gig economy" - where success today is still staring-down an uncertain tomorrow. Check it out on Stitcher, iTunes or in the player below!
As the remains of Toys "R" Us continue to be sold off for scrap here in the U.S., our neighbors to the north have a much brighter picture... the sale of Toys "R" Us Canada to Fairfax Holdings Limited. The sale keeps the iconic Toys "R" Us brand alive in Canada, along with Geoffrey the Giraffe and Babies "R" Us. TRU Canada is now an entirely Canadian-owned and operated business employing more than 4,000 Canadians as the only exclusive coast-to-coast business with over 80 locations dedicated to kids and babies.
The Hess Toy Truck has been a holiday tradition since 1964, but in 1998 the vehicles spawned something... smaller. 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Hess Toy Truck Mini Collection, launched in 1998 as a way to pay tribute to the holiday Hess Toy Trucks from the past. Of course, the Hess Toy Truck isn't always a "truck," but sometimes a different type of vehicle or a hauler of some type. To celebrate two decades of the minis, the 2018 Mini Collection is a limited-production set of three highly detailed, small-scale versions of classic holiday Hess Toy Trucks – the 1970 Hess Toy Fire Truck, the 1977 Hess Fuel Oil Tanker, and the 1988 Hess Toy Truck and Racer. Thanks to the folks at the Hess Corporation, we got our hands on a set early to have some play time and a photo shoot here at Rock Father HQ. Let's take a look...
As the saying goes, it's good to be bad... right? This fall, families will have a chance to do just that as they step into some villainous shoes in LEGO DC Super-Villains. The game will be available October 16, 2018 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC from WB Games (pre-order from GameStop - an affiliate), and now we've got the official announcement trailer and a look inside a world where the Justice League does not exist! Take a look...
It’s been nearly a year since I started The xB Mission - an idea that I could take what had been becoming an “old” car and start to reverse the process as its age begins inching toward “classic.” I special-ordered this car new, and I took delivery in June of 2004. 14 years and 160,000+ miles later, my Scion xB and I have a special relationship… like Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, Michael Knight and K.I.T.T., The Lone Ranger and Silver. This ride and I have been through a lot together, and this year there will be more. What you can’t see in the picture above is that the whole family is there. My wife is snapping the photo, while our daughters are behind tinted glass in the back seat. While I’ve driven many vehicles over the years, it was my wife who once said “you’re synonymous with that car,” and in many ways that was the deciding factor to keep it rolling. Another thing that I’m known for? My beverage of choice: Mountain Dew Voltage. I’ve enjoyed thousands of them, and one of my favorites exclusive at Circle K on fountain is - Voltage Polar Pop® cup!
The Emmy-nominated Splash and Bubbles has been captivating audiences on PBS Kids, and now, ahead of World Oceans Day the music of the popular series is coming home! The Jim Henson Company, Herschend Studios, and Music.Film Recordings are making a “Splash” to kick-off summer with the release of Splash and Bubbles: Rhythm of the Reef (Songs from Season One). Available on CD and digital June 1, the soundtrack album features 16 fan-favorite songs, along with 6 bonus tracks from the interstitial series “Get Your Feet Wet.” Now, the folks behind the series have partnered with The Rock Father™ for the exclusive premiere of the "Reeftown Rangers" music video, so gather the kids and crank it up!