Thomas goes to Fisher-Price

the story about Fisher-Price entering into a global agreement with HIT Entertainment:

Under the terms of the agreement, Fisher-Price, a division of the world’s leading toy company, Mattel, Inc., will be bringing together some of Thomas & Friends’ core category rights and will begin using its world-wide distribution capability to enhance and grow the long term business for this iconic brand. The first line of products will be available in 2010 and will expand as existing licensees’ rights expire across key toy categories.

[...]

Jeff Dunn, CEO, HIT Entertainment, commented: “Aligning one of the world’s most successful and preeminent pre-school brands with the world’s largest toy company is both an exciting event and a natural evolution for HIT Entertainment. We are immensely proud of Thomas & Friends, a brand which continues healthy growth around the world and is today in 185 territories and in 45 languages around the world. We look forward to working closely with Fisher-Price in taking Thomas & Friends to the next level as we begin preparations for Thomas’ 65th Anniversary celebrations in 2010.”

In related news: How is it possible that Thomas has been around for nearly 65 years?? Time flies when you’re a talking train, apparently.

Start gearing up for back-to-school at Ty’s

It doesn’t seem possible that summer is nearly over, but for those of us who head back to school in early August, it’s a reality. Part of me weeps for the end of those halcyon days…

… and the other part of me realizes that I am remembering through rose-colored glasses that have quickly forgotten the cry of “Mom! We’re bored! What should we do?”

Ahem.

Anyway! Soon we’ll be back in the classroom; my little darlings will be learning important lessons, and I’ll be being hit up for Kleenex and hand sanitizer. It’s the circle of life! Or at least, the circle of public school!

Ty’s Toy Box understands that getting them there in the right mood is half the battle, so feel free to check out the new Back To School Store for all of your back-to-school needs. There’s enough backpacks in there to delight even the most hard-to-please kid, from Thomas the Tank Engine to Avatar to Dora to Hannah Montana.

(Funny, for some reason my daughter is still balking at my suggestion of the Little Miss Trouble bag. I cannot imagine why.)

Hey, I know summer flew by, but at least getting ready for back to school can be fun!

RIP, George Carlin

By now it’s old news that comedian George Carlin—best known for his irreverent and often profane stand-up routines—has died.

All over the web, tributes to Carlin are popping up; one person after another wants to recount what Carlin’s comedy meant to him or her. It’s mainly his more risque work that’s being discussed, too. But for those of us who are parents to little ones, it’s a little bit different*.

To us, George Carlin is better known as the voice behind Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. When I heard the new yesterday, I went straight to YouTube for the first episode my son ever saw. It’s unremarkable, I suppose, except that I had never before seen him stop everything and become utterly transfixed by the television, before. And really, how can you not enjoy Carlin earnestly reporting that Thomas was “a cheeky little engine?”

When I was nosing around for that, I also found this little tribute:

Yes, most people will remember him as the guy who talked about the seven words you couldn’t say on television, but I’ll mostly remember him as the voice of Thomas. And of Fillmore from Cars, too, I guess. But mostly Thomas.

*Sure, I went and saw George Carlin perform live, once, back when I was in college. I had really good tickets, too—my friend and I sat in the fifth row while he ran through a seemingly endless string of ranting about various things. What I remember most about that show is that he did a routine about names that no one uses for their kids these days, and he went from “Dorcas” and “Hortense” and the like—oh, we were laughing along with everyone else—down to my name. Yes, I once paid good money to listen to George Carlin heckle my name.

And if that wasn’t good enough, Cyber Monday’s up next

Wondering what Cyber Monday will hold here at Ty’s Toy Box? Wonder no more, as there’ll be a whole new crop of specials for one day only on Monday, November 26th, 2007.

Did you know that Cyber Monday began as a marketing campaign, and was—initially, anyway—a hoax? There was no evidence to suggest that people did any more online shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving than at any other time. But it has since become the very definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and now e-tailers everywhere gear up for a flurry of fingers shop-shop-shopping on this famous Monday.

Ready for a sneak peak at Monday’s deals? Read on to find out how planning ahead can score you some big bargain’s during Ty’s Cyber Monday Sale: Continue reading

How it all began for Thomas

I’ve talked about Thomas the Tank Engine and his pals here once before. They were a huge part of my family’s life for a long time, and although I perhaps don’t always feel the love, it’s clear that the appeal of these characters is magnetic when it comes to most small boys. (Yes, I know, girls like Thomas, too! But I’ve yet to meet the little girl who has converted as fully to the Cult of Thomas the way that nearly every preschool boy I’ve met has.)

So I got to wondering how it was that these stories evolved. I knew that the original stories had been written by Reverend Wilbert Awdry, but why? Was he a train buff? Was the ministry not paying enough? So I dug around a bit, and I found a pretty good summary of how Thomas and his friends came to be. It turns out that the Rev. Awdry invented these tales to entertain his son Christopher while the boy was recovering from scarlet fever.

(Hey, some of the greatest stories start with a yarn spun for a sick kid, y’know.)

Wikipedia further notes that “Many of the stories are based on events from Awdry’s personal experience.” Which… well, I don’t want to know. (“This one time, we were enjoying scones for breakfast and a train just crashed right through the wall. It was the darndest thing!”)

The first “Railway Series” books were published in 1945, and the rest—as they say—is history. It’s a short jump from that to stop-frame animation on PBS, apparently.

Do you have a Thomas fan on board? Check out the all-new Thomas & Friends Store at Ty’s. Perhaps you’ll be assisting Santa with his shopping this year…? (If Junior has been especially good, perhaps Santa will bring him this.)

Not shopping right now? No problem. You can still feed the need for Thomas. Check out the online Thomas activities and coloring pages here and here. Even if perhaps you’re tiring of your child’s Thomas obsession, listen—one day he will declare that Thomas is just for babies and you’ll wish for the days when you needed a crowbar to separate him from his train table. Trust me. So indulge him while you can, because he’ll be on to the next thing before you know it.