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Beanie Babies

ENTERTAINMENT
February 5, 1998 | RICHARD KAHLENBERG, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Last year at this time, Melinda Madrigal, owner of a doll store called Cookieland Express in Camarillo, had a good stock of Beanie Babies on hand. The only problem was, "I couldn't sell a one," she said. Last April, however, "Sales started going crazy in our area. Beanie Babies became a craze here, as it had been back East for five years," she said.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 31, 1998 | BONNIE HAYES, TIMES STAFF WRITER
There are levels of madness when it comes to Beanie Babies. There are die-hard collectors, folks who wait hours to pay big bucks for a bean-filled animal they will plunk into a clear plastic container and never, ever touch. And there are the profit seekers, who know every detail about all 146 Beanie Baby models and who have stepped into the toy industry's hottest phenomenon to make enough, they hope, to help pay their children's college tuition.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 10, 1998 | IRENE GARCIA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
What do these three things have in common? Mayhem at toy stores violent crimes thousands of dollars in purchases. Give up? They're all connected to the growing obsession with Beanie Babies, those cute little animals stuffed with beans. And we're talking about actions by adults, not crazed kids or fanatic adolescents. When the fuzzy animals first came out in 1994, they retailed for $5.99 and had obvious appeal for children.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 1998 | MEGAN GARVEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Most of the time, J.P. Pochron, homeless and often hungry, couldn't care less about Beanie Babies--teenie or otherwise. But Friday was different. Thanks to the bean bag-like stuffed animals that have reigned near the top of the toy world for the last three years, Pochron ate like a king Friday. "I'm down on my luck right now," said Pochron, surrounded by other people's unwanted Happy Meals outside the McDonald's on Parthenia Street. "So I'm happy to have the food."
BUSINESS
September 2, 1999 | ABIGAIL GOLDMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The toy industry is infamous for rationing products to stir demand, but few are as adept at it as Beanie Babies maker Ty Inc., which raised the stakes once again by announcing on its Web site this week that "all Beanies will be retired" at the end of this year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 1998 | YUNG KIM, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Carol Garcia sold Beanie Babies at her Santa Ana store, but the toys were more than just stock to her. She collected the palm-size beanbag dolls, promoted Beanie Baby events and used them to raise money for charities. All that changed Thursday after two men robbed Sergio's Accessories, the warehouse and storefront in Santa Ana that she owns with her husband, Sergio, 36. The robbers clubbed the Garcias in the head with metal pipes and took a box full of the dolls, along with $1,000 in cash.
BUSINESS
December 11, 1999 | ABIGAIL GOLDMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Long-suffering fans of Beanie Babies stuffed animals were grieving for real Friday. Beanie maker Ty Inc. announced on its Web site that it will cease production of the toys Dec. 31. The company had said previously that the Beanies would be "retired." "There will be no new ones as of Dec. 31," said Ty spokeswoman Anne Nickels. "They will all retire." That seemed to seal the fate of the toys, a demise that some industry watchers and hand-wringing collectors had not expected.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 26, 1998 | T. CHRISTIAN MILLER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
At least one group of Los Angeles firefighters marked Memorial Day on Monday by recognizing one of the living. The honoree was Tim Holmes, a 12-year-old Santa Clarita boy, who gave up one of his prized Beanie Babies to raise money for the families of several firefighters recently killed in the line of duty. Tim donated his rare Princess Diana Beanie Baby to a raffle of the collectible stuffed animals held last month.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 13, 1998 | GEOFF BOUCHER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
For a few tense moments, it appeared Sunday that another near-riot might be added to the growing pattern of mania and mayhem attributed to that plushest of toy treasures, the Beanie Baby. When more than 5,000 people showed up at the Disneyland Pacific Hotel in Anaheim for a Beanie Baby convention, harried hotel officials and event organizers cited fire codes and began to turn the toy collectors away.
NEWS
May 31, 1997 | DENISE GELLENE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Fred Kort's downtown Los Angeles factory churns out thousands of plastic Frisb--almost slipped!--flying disks. His showroom brims with the vaguely familiar: There are teeny bouncers (think Super Balls) and cosmetics in pink packages (recall Tinkerbell). A phony license plate nailed to the wall of his wood-paneled office captures the spirit: SO SUE ME.
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