Children’s TV Shows
The longest running British children’s TV show is Blue Peter. Since 1958, generations have grown up with the familiar format of information, education and entertainment. Topics have included sports, hobbies, adventure and how to make things. The program is also famous for its appeals over the years. These are to raise money for a cause and the ongoing appeal for lifeboats for sea rescues resulted in 25 new ones for the service. Along with the presenters, there has been a series of pets in the studio. Children can write in for a Blue Peter Badge achievement award. A time capsule was buried in the Blue Peter Garden in 2000, to be opened in 2009.
Some shows achieve cult status and one of the more unusual ones is The Magic Roundabout. The stop motion animation series appealed to adults as well as children. This children’s TV show began in France and then was adapted for a UK audience with Eric Thompson (father of actress Emma Thompson) as narrator. Thompson also wrote the English scripts and the BBC broadcast ran from 1965 until 1977. The characters included the operator of the carousel, Mr. Rusty and a group of friends who used the Magic Roundabout. Dougal was the lovable dog, Zebedee was a jack-in-the-box, Brian was a snail, Ermintrude was a cow, and Dylan was a hippie rabbit. The other human presence was a girl called Florence.
The longest running TV show for children in the US is Sesame Street. From 1969, kids have learned about the alphabet and been entertained with a series of great characters. The mixture of live actors, puppets and animation has led to dozens of Emmy Awards. It has also been a successful export and is shown in 20 different countries. It was on this show that puppet master Jim Henson developed his famous Muppet characters, including Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, the Cookie Monster, Kermit the Frog and the double act of Bert and Ernie.
Animals are always a big draw and families love to sit down together and watch their favorites. Flipper, the story of a Bottlenose Dolphin, ran from 1964 until 1967. He soon became a star. The show had been adapted from the 1963 movie, starring Chuck Conners. This children’s television series was set in Florida and centered round the Ricks family, Flipper, and also their pet pelican called Pete. Porter Ricks was Chief Warden at a marine conservation area and his two sons, Sandy and Bud grew up on the water. Flipper would help the family in several adventures.
Lassie was another animal star, familiar to moviegoers and TV audiences. The rough collie was loved around the world and even featured in a Japanese animation. There were seven American TV series in total and the original Lassie ran between 1954 and 1973. Some of these episodes are available on DVD and VHS. There are only three animals to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Lassie is one of them.
Hasbro toys are some of the hottest must have items because they reach out to a diverse consumer audience, which makes sense considering that Hasbro is internationally one of the biggest toy companies in the market, competing with other big toy companies like Mattel, the creator of the Barbie brand. Hasbro produces toys and games for all ages from toddler to even adult. There are many products you might not have known came from Hasbro—board games like Clue and toys like Mr. Potato Head, for instance. In truth many of these products are owned by other companies, but they are subsidiaries of Hasbro, which means that Hasbro controls their operations and owns all of their products. So when we talk about Milton and Bradley games, Playskool, Tonka, and Tiger Electronics toys, we’re really talking about Hasbro toys and games.
Hasbro headquarters is located in Rhode Island, but today most Hasbro toys are manufactured overseas in China. In its beginnings, Hasbro came up with Mr. Potato Head and GI Joe, and later on My Little Pony. As it subsidized more companies, Hasbro became responsible for Transformers action figures, Candy Land, Jenga, Wizards of the Coast, Star Wars, Twister, Chutes and Ladders, Care Bears, Yahtzee, Play Doh, Pokemon, Zoids, Cabbage Patch Kids, Tinkertoys, Easy Bake Oven, Cranium, Dungeons and Dragons, Scrabble, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and you get the idea. It’s practically a monopoly, and they own Monopoly too. Go figure.
So there’s no way that Hasbro is going to miss out on this season, and some of the most sought after Hasbro toys are the Hasbro Playskool Step Start Walk n Ride, Bop It, the Hasbro Games Monopoly Deal Card Game, the Hasbro Playskool Busy Ball Popper, the Transformers Movie 2 Leader Optimus Prime action figure, the Nerf n Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS 35 Dart Blaster, and the Hasbro Nerf n Strike Maverick. All of these are currently on the leading sellers list at Amazon along with other toys produced by Cepia, LeapFrog, Melissa & Doug, Fisher Price and Mattel. Giving Hasbro some competition are the Zhu Zhu Hamster Pets, Twilight Barbies, the Slice and Bake Cookie Set, the LeapFrog Scribble and Write, and the Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks. All of these products will be highly sought after, but Hasbro is bound to have a strong performance in the market and will likely continue to for years to come.