Book Review: Toy Wars by G. Wayne Miller

G.I. JOE AND BARBIE FIGHT IT OUT

Toy Wars Book 001

I love a good read. But I realize, after recommending many books to friends, that not everyone has the same taste in literature. My taste is so varied that I can’t always be assured of a good response when I gush about my latest greatest read!

This book however, printed in 1998, should appeal to a fairly wide cross-section of readers. It’s a historical account of two large U.S. companies. It’s a tale of family tragedy and triumph. It’s an educational thesis on corporate America and the share holder effect. Ultimately, one could say it’s a basic story of good versus evil. So, it should appeal to a few different types of people!

Toy Wars Book 002

Hasbro (the main company followed in this book) and its rival Mattel rise from small family companies to huge stock-driven toy giants, with both good and bad results. They gobble up just about every other main player in the toy and children’s entertainment markets with only one goal: To become the single biggest, if not the only, toy company on earth!

Some books like this, with such subject matter, are dry and hard to get through. But G. Wayne Miller manages to make it a page-turner by keeping the focus as much on the families who own the companies as he does on the companies themselves, with all of the toy development, successes and failures, brought on by a fickle group of consumers, the children of the world.

And my favorite part of this read was learning just how many of my childhood toys these two companies own the rights too! Here is a basic breakdown of the Hasbro line:

Hasbro Gaming

  • Monopoly
  • Twister
  • Scrabble
  • Yahtzee
  • Clue
  • All Hasbro Gaming

Girls

  • Nerf Rebelle
  • My Little Pony
  • My Little Pony Equestria Girls
  • Littlest Pet Shop
  • Furby
  • All Girl Brands

Boys

  • Nerf
  • Beyblade
  • Star Wars
  • B-Daman
  • Transformers
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • G. I. Joe

Preschool

  • Play-Doh
  • Playskool
  • Furreal Friends
  • Baby Alive
  • Elefun and Friends

Mattel also has many brands under its name. Both companies have bought up various companies to own beloved properties. Below is a partial list of Mattel’s line of products:

Barbie, Hotwheels, Monster and Ever After High, WWE, Disney, and too many more to list here. Please click the links to the official sites for more information and product lines.

Barbie Toy Line

Ever heard of any of these toys? Sure you have! But if you want to hear the stories behind their creation and marketing, you need to read this book. And again, you’ll be surprised at just how many of your childhood favorites came directly from these two bitter rivals.

I’d give this book a 4.5 stars out of 5. A must-read for any true toy fan or collector!

Cowgirl & Square Dance Jessie Dolls from Mattel

One of the stand-out characters from Toy Story 2 was Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl. It was amazing to see her introduce Woody to all of the vintage merchandise from his marionette TV show! Right from the first blush, I’ve wanted to add her to my toy collection.

The Roundup Gang 003

The Roundup Gang merchandise

But here’s the thing: Almost all of the dolls produced of Jessie look… freaky. The manufacturers seemed to pattern her expression off the scene where Woody first meets her and she is closing in on him. Remember?

The Roundup Gang 001

The Roundup Gang 002

“It’s you! It’s you! It’s you!” – Jessie

Since then, I’ve been able to buy one deluxe version (with real wool hair and normal expression) and now these two great dolls from Mattel:

Jesse Cowgirl Fr     Jesse Cowgirl Bk

Jesse Cowgirl Tp

COWGIRL JESSIE

Jesse Square Dance Fr     Jesse Square Dance Bk

Jesse Square Dance Tp

SQUARE DANCE JESSIE

There’s a Lots of Looks Jessie but the vendor only had these two of the set. I was able to get them for $10 US each plus tax, which I thought was quite reasonable. Both go for over $30 US on eBay, plus shipping. He had three of the Square Dance Jessie doll and two of the Cowgirl Jessie doll. This was good as I was able to take the ones in the best condition.

Mattel marketed these in 2001 as part of the Toy Story and Beyond! line. This opened up the merchandising of the movie to feature costumes and props that weren’t in the original movies but were merely inspired by them.

Well, I reckon it’s time for this cowpoke to two-step out of here, so git along little bloggers!

This post was brought to you by: COWBOY CRUNCHIES