Published in 1931, Игрушки Картошки is a Russian book of toys you can make out of potatoes (and matches, and the occasional stick). [more inside]
Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins is an animated children's show about 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins, who wants to be a doctor like her mother, and pretends to be a doctor to her toys. Doc McStuffins has done well as a TV show, but it's as a doll that Doc's success has been stratospheric, with over $500 million in sales last year. “'When little white girls embrace Doc McStuffins, for them Doc McStuffins is a girl, and Doc McStuffins is powerful,' Dr. [Margaret Beale] Spencer said. 'For a little black girl, it may be all of those things, but also that she’s black.'”
Every so often, ethnic dolls make the news, like this recent piece on Nigeria's Taofick Okoya who started his own line of Nigerian dolls after giving up his search in frustration. Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his "Queens of Africa" and "Naija Princesses" a month, and reckons he has 10-15 percent of a small but fast-growing market. But the history of dolls outside of 'mainstream culture' exemplified by blonde blue eyed Barbie has been rife with prejudice and stereotypes. As the African middle classes emerge, is this an opportunity that gives rise to domestic toy industries?
The Atlantic reports on the 2008 removal/"archiving" of the original three American Girl dolls, dolls whose arrival on the market in 1986 represented a "sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness." [more inside]
Meet Bebe Gloton, the Breastfeeding Doll who's coming to America. The NY Times opines, Facebook users can't agree on whether it's good or bad, but what does God think?
Doll Kind :: Dolls of the 20th Century - A Celebration in Pictures and Histories
Stalin's Secret Weapon - a Russian hobbyist's terminator-esque diorama painstakingly constructed from military action figures. (Via buzz
The Mattel toy company insists that their Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo dolls do not utter the phrase "Islam is the light." You be the judge.
Barbie vs Bratz: Mattel sues MGA, claiming the Bratz designs were created by a Mattel employee and smuggled to its rival.
Gobler Toys: The Fun We Can't Remember. A fictional toy company with an online collection of toys, dolls and games that only exist in the inventors' imaginations. Don't miss the hilarious Star Wars Toys That Never Were. (flash animation)
An official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and 'this thing', which tells time"
The most dangerous toys of all time. Lawn darts? Check. Cabbage Patch Dolls that chewed off your fingers? Check. Working radioactive U-238 Atomic Energy Lab? Check. To spark more memories of holidays past, peruse the 10 weirdest toy ads of all time, and don't forget the Cheap Toy Roundup if you don't have enough cash. Or you could always get a Talking Jesus from Toys for Tots.
Sure, Scarlett O'Hara Barbie is lovely, and yeah, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz Barbie is cute, but for my money, it's hard to beat Marge Simpson Barbie, Medusa Barbie, or Dominatrix Barbie. The full collection, located here, clearly owes a debt to Todd Haynes, and the Barbie Liberation Army, but is still worth a chuckle.
History of U.S. Armies in Uniform From His Majesty’s First Independent Company of American Rangers, Colonial America, 1747 to Special Operations, Tora Bora, Afghanistan, 2002. Although this site is very interesting from a historical perspective, I like it because it contains what must be the coolest Action Man collection in existence.
Proof that someone, somewhere will make an action figure out of anything: Porn star action figures (complete with dancer pole!), eminem action figures (complete with chainsaw?), and Jeffrey Dahmer. eek.
Heroes by James - James doesn't like the some of the action fugres he buys, so he modifies them to get what he wants. Check out the Hulk and Iron Man figures. Pretty nice.
Ken, of Barbie and Ken has turned 40. To mark the occasion, Mattel is releasing a hot, young, 20 year old secretary, that Ken is having an affair with, and a Porsche 911. (to complete the whole midlife crisis thing you see.)
Not that we need to give Mattel any more press, but I found gothic Barbie and Ken, Addams gig or no, to be très étrange. (Oh Tish! That's French! You know that drives me to further acts of kitschy assimilation!)
Another victim falls to the tyranny of Mattel. What's really strange about this is that, to my knowledge, Barbie is a name. If someone names their kid Barbie, will they too receive a C&D from Mattel? Hmm...
Well, if you want to read the C&D its here.
Well, if you want to read the C&D its here.