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NEWS
November 21, 2013 | By Susan Rohwer, guest blogger, This post has been corrected as noted below.
If you haven't seen it, check out the commercial for GoldieBlox that's sweeping the Internet. It's an ad for a set of interactive toys and books that encourages girls to build their own castles rather than wait for princes to come do it for them. In an age when girls' toys painfully adhere to gender stereotypes, the message in this commercial is clear: Girls want more than princess toys for Christmas. The commercial opens with three girls watching TV and looking unimpressed with what they're seeing: other little girls in precious party dresses dancing around a tea set. They switch on their record player, grab their hard hats and tool belts and get to work on a Rube Goldberg apparatus assembled with household items and typical girls' toys (everything from a tea set to a tiara and a baby doll cradle)
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NATIONAL
April 25, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard
A woman was videotaped over Easter weekend removing a large stuffed yellow duck from the grave of an Ohio child. Now, Frieda Kay Shade, 54, has been charged with theft. Ontario, Ohio, police set up a surveillance camera near the grave site of Hayden Cole Sheridan, nicknamed Tank, in July 2012 because the child's parents said items left there were continually disappearing, Detective Jon Sigler told the Los Angeles Times. It took two years, but now Scott and Jaclyn Sheridan believe they've caught a thief.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 1997
I am so grateful to every single person involved with donating toys to the children of Boyle Heights ("Response to Theft Turns Giveaway Into 'Miracle on 1st St.' " Dec. 22) and can't thank them enough for their kindness and generosity to these people. When I came to this country many years ago from Chihuahua, Mexico, I was the youngest of five children with a single parent and we were very poor. We lived in a garage with no electricity, heat or indoor plumbing and when Christmas arrived my mother barely had enough money for us to live on, not to mention anything left over for Christmas items.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 13, 2014 | By David Colker
Talking toys have been around since at least 1960, when pull-the-string Chatty Cathy debuted. But Teddy Ruxpin, a cuddly teddy bear that hit stores in late 1985, marked a technological leap forward. Created by then-Granada Hills resident Ken Forsse, the talking Teddy moved his mouth in sync, making him seem much more lifelike. The effect was both delightful and a bit creepy, and kids loved him. "1986 and 1987 were insane; you could hardly find Teddy Ruxpin in stores, it was so popular," said toy expert Jim Silver.
BUSINESS
January 23, 2012 | By Shan Li
After a bad holiday season, shares of Jakks Pacific Inc. rose on rumors that the toy maker will receive another takeover bid from Oaktree Capital Management after rejecting an earlier offer from the Los Angeles investment company. Oaktree had previously offered to take the Malibu toy company private last October in a $670-million hostile bid that offered shareholders $20 a share in cash. At the time, analysts speculated that the offer was too low. But after a poor fourth quarter, Jakks recently slashed its full-year outlook to earnings of 37 to 40 cents a share on annual sales of about $660 million.
BUSINESS
October 27, 2009 | Associated Press
Toys R Us Inc. will open FAO Schwarz boutiques in 585 of the retailing giant's stores in time for the holidays. The company, which bought FAO Schwarz in May, also is relaunching the high-end brand's website. FAO Schwarz has two stand-alone stores, one each in New York and Las Vegas. The boutiques, which are to open starting Sunday, will offer toys ranging in price from $2.99 to $64.99, including FAO Schwarz's annual holiday ornament and collectible stuffed teddy bear. Privately held Toys R Us also is publishing FAO Schwarz's holiday catalog, featuring such exclusive toys as a Steiff Karl Lagerfeld Teddy Bear, which wears designer clothing, for $1,499.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 14, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
Mysterious British street artist Banksy, infiltrating New York with "Better Out Than In," on Friday introduced "Sirens of the Lambs. " It's art in motion. A slaughterhouse delivery truck is filled with plush animal toys, squeaking through the slatted boards of the truck.  This display on wheels will be "touring the meatpacking district and then citywide for the next two weeks," according to the Banksy website . The "Sirens" video was pushing toward 3-million views on YouTube as of Monday morning.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 6, 2012 | By Sheri Linden
The stop-motion action is nonstop and deliriously bent in "Toys in the Attic," a 2009 Czech feature that has been retrofitted with an English-language voice cast led by Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack and Cary Elwes. Jiri Barta's blend of live action and handmade and computer effects puts a "Toy Story" slant on "The Perils of Pauline" by way of "1984" and any number of dystopian nightmares. But the plot is the least of it in a film whose transporting aesthetic is a tattered brocade of industrial grunge and oldfangled whimsy.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2013 | Michelle Maltais
LAS VEGAS -- Fisher-Price is saying "game on" for kids exploring the nexus between virtual and physical play as it furthers its entry into that golden in-between space. Running from about $20 to $50, its new age-appropriate line of Apptivity products for kids from infant to preschoolers include, essentially, Otterbox-infused cases that are both kid-proof and kid-friendly and related activity apps. Although calling them cases really doesn't quite do them justice. FULL COVERAGE: CES 2013 For the tiny techie, there are six new interactive nursery rhyme apps that can be used in conjunction with the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Storybook Reader -- a sturdy hard-case, book-shaped cover that will turn the pages of the nursery rhyme app when opened.
BUSINESS
November 8, 2011 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
This holiday season, Sears and Kmart are testing virtual shopping walls at malls to empower smartphone owners to buy toys on the go. The walls, which feature pictures of toys for sale from Sears and Kmart along with bar codes attached to each item, will be placed temporarily at select malls, bus shelters, subway stations, airports and movie theaters around the country. While waiting for a bus or browsing the mall this season, shoppers can scan a code with their smartphones to buy a particular toy right on their device.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2014 | By Alene Tchekmedyian
The Burbank City Council on Tuesday honored a Burbank couple who saved a 3-year-old boy - using a box spring and some quick thinking - when he plunged out a third-story window last month. Jennifer and Konrad Lightner were moving out of their Burbank apartment March 16 to have it remodeled, the Burbank Leader reported , and had just returned home from their first trip to a storage unit. Shortly before 5 p.m., the couple were carrying their box spring to the U-Haul when they noticed a cluster of children's toys on the ground: a princess pillow, blankets and other plush toys.
BUSINESS
April 1, 2014 | By Andrea Chang
Mobile games developer Industrial Toys has raised $5 million in a round of funding led by Accel Partners. As part of the financing, the Pasadena company is also announcing the launch of its first title, "Midnight Star," which will be available this summer in beta. Industrial Toys is an independent studio that designs mobile games for serious gamers. It was founded by Alex Seropian, who also founded Bungie Studios, the team behind the hit "Halo" franchise. "We're huge fans of mobile gaming, but we think there aren't enough great mobile games for core gamers and we're committed to changing that," the company says on its website . "We'll be mobile to the core, with games that let you have an immersive session at home that blows your mind apart as well as a 30-second experience that still moves you forward while you're waiting for the bus. " PHOTOS: Comparing the HTC One (M8)
NATIONAL
March 6, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
Cleaners at a vacant home in Tucson found the skeletal remains of a 3-year-old boy in a backyard toy chest, leading to the arrest of the toddler's parents this week. Martin Raymond Barreras, 45, and Raquel Marcela Barreras, 39, were both charged with child abuse and the mother faces a first-degree murder charge. They were being held in Pima County Jail.   The couple recently had been evicted from the house where the remains were found, Tucson police said . The landlords were cleaning up the messy backyard on Tuesday afternoon when they found the remains of a small child in a blue toy chest, police said.
OPINION
February 28, 2014 | By Charlotte Allen
There's a war against Legos. I know what you're thinking: How could anyone have a beef with those colorful, plastic toy bricks with which you can build cities, stage your own Bible stories or reenact the Trojan War, the Civil War or Star Wars? And hasn't "The Lego Movie" been No. 1 at the box office for three straight weeks? But here's Lego's problem: The main market for the $4 billion company's traditional plastic bricks and mini-figures is boys. Certainly some girls enjoy making castles or skyscrapers out of the bricks, just like their brothers, but in 2011, Lego's market research boys found that 90% of Lego users were boys.
HOME & GARDEN
February 22, 2014 | Amy Paturel, Amy Paturel is a freelance writer in Temecula
When I met my husband, Brandon, online, we covered most of the essentials over email. I knew he lived in Murrieta, 53 miles from my Seal Beach home. I knew he was a widower. I also knew he had a freezer stocked with microwaveable pocket sandwiches -- meaning he didn't cook. Hardly the perfect catch, I mused. But I was still drawn to him. Then I got this: "There's something else you should know," he wrote. "I have a unique hobby. " I prepped myself for a collection of Civil War guns, a lifetime membership in the official Disney fan club, even a fascination with vampires.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 19, 2014 | By Steve Zeitchik
Of the many unexpected moments in Phil Lord and Chris Miller's breakout hit "The Lego Movie," perhaps none is as surprising as the film's ending, which is daring even by the standards of this unconventional film. So daring, in fact, that even its filmmakers weren't sure they could get away with it. "We were terrified," said Miller. "We didn't know if you would care about the universe once you understood how the universe worked," alluding to how the movie turns itself inside-out at the end. PHOTOS: Images from 'The Lego Movie' In a season in which the typically tricky art of the movie ending has largely satisfied - witness the well-regarded twist in "American Hustle," the Quaalude-enabled piece de resistance of "The Wolf of Wall Street" and the return-to-Earth redemption of "Gravity" - the finale of "Lego" may top them all. Warner Bros., which financed and released "The Lego Movie," was also unsure about the finale and for a time pushed the filmmakers to consider a more conventional path.
NEWS
December 15, 1989 | RICK OSTROW, Rick Ostrow is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.
So here you sit. The Shopping-Days-Left-Till-Christmas countdown has reached single digits, and your list is still littered with blanks and question marks. And that's just the adults. You haven't even thought about all those kids yet, and you hate elbowing your way through those crowded toy store aisles. So here's the good news: Relax. No need to panic. It's not one of those years where there's one must-have toy. No Teddy Ruxpin. No ET. No Transformers. No Rubik's Cube.
BUSINESS
April 6, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
About 122,000 Rock N Ride plush rocker toys, manufactured in China by Tek Nek Toys International, were recalled because the rocking base can be unstable, according to the Texas-based company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. For more information, call (888) 686-2728.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Early in the development of "The Lego Movie," Jill Wilfert, the executive who oversees Lego's licensing efforts in Southern California, had a question for her bosses at company headquarters in Denmark: Can we have a character die? "It wasn't something we ever had to really think about before," Wilfert said. "But we had to think about it now. " Their conclusion was yes, and it became one of a number of freedoms the company allowed Warner Bros., producer Dan Lin and writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller in creating the most freewheeling and reference-packed picture to come out of film's branded-movie era. PHOTOS: Actors who've been turned down for famous roles "Lego"--which as of Thursday had garnered a rare 100% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and was expected to open upward of $50 million this weekend--is a rare Big Hollywood entertainment with a playful subversiveness, the world's first postmodern toy film.
BUSINESS
January 31, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
If there was a winner among the piles of gifts given to children this Christmas, Barbie certainly wasn't it. The fashion doll - possibly the best-known player in Mattel Inc.'s stable of products - endured a 13% sales slide during the company's fourth quarter. "We just didn't sell enough Barbie dolls," Mattel Chief Executive Bryan G. Stockton said Friday in a conference call with analysts. Several other brands from the El Segundo toy maker also fared poorly. Fisher-Price, whose lineup focuses on infants and young children, also suffered a 13% revenue plunge.
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