|Narnia No More: Is there a chance of the C.S. Lewis dolls making a return trip?|
Since my life has become inundated with the needs and desires of two grammar-school siblings, a 6- and an 8-year-old, I’ve designed stay-at-home movie nights. One of the things I’ve noticed is how many movies I’m currently discovering are “old hat” for doll designers. (Certainly, the Harry Potter “sorting hat” and all of its accoutrements have been tackled by Robert Tonner for years and years by now.)
But what about the brave, noble, and virtuous characters from Narnia? Those dolls are now as rare as the centaurs, satyrs, and Minotaurs that frolicked and stalked across the films’ landscapes. The vinyl heroes and heroines of C. S. Lewis’s epic fantasy franchise have vanished from shop windows like the dodo bird and the T-rex. Why are there no tie-ins on toy shelves for the three movies that are still big hits to rent, download, and buy?
That’s why I’m proposing the DVD line of collectibles. Call it creativity; call it necessity. Either way, I think dolls from past movie hits can have extended existences if they are re-released as DVD companions. Especially with Christmas looming before us, these well-known characters would certainly have an evergreen staying power.
If you’re not familiar with Narnia, it’s the mythical locale that a family of British schoolchildren stumble upon during World War II. The youngest of the brood, little Lucy, seeks shelter in an armoire during a spirited game of hide-and-seek. As she pushes through the hats, scarves, and coats to reach the back wall, she discovers more than she imagined: namely, “the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”
This was the first installment of the trio of films, and was released in 2005 (the second is “Prince Caspian,” 2008, and the third is “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” 2010). They were certifiable money-makers—turning a large profit here in the States and abroad—but their receipts didn’t measure up to the Potter portfolio. Hence, the lack of Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan figures.
But the DVD and Blu-ray releases have breathed new life into this children’s series. With more and more movies only masquerading as kid-friendly—too many double entendres and sly winks at the adult chaperones—the Lewis-inspired flicks are wholesome, inspirational, and adventuresome. I know a PTA’s worth of parents who are presently screening these films on a routine basis. Why, then, the dearth of dolls?
Back in 2005, the Alexander Doll Company fashioned adorable interpretations of the characters—their tiny Lucy in a flowing fur coat was precious!—and Robert Tonner, likewise, brought his usual meticulous and painstaking attention to detail to crafting dolls that could have passed for studio stand-ins.
These dolls, however, are gone with the wind. (Oh, wait a minute! That’s another movie blockbuster that never goes out of style.)
Are any of these Alexander dolls languishing in warehouses? Or are there Tonner creations that are archived and crated away, sort of like the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” booty at the end of the first outing?
Can these dolls be re-released as Blu-ray buddies or DVD darlings? Why do these characters, which are beloved by millions of readers, fare so shabbily in the collectible realm? It’s sad that they are perennials on bookshelves, but are one-hit wonders on toy shelves. True, Potter’s Lord Voldemort is a horrible, heinous arch villain—ugly in appearance and behavior. But Narnia’s White Witch, who appears so lovely and caring, hides a heart of darkness beneath her pure, snowy robes. She is icy and malevolent, making Snow White’s stepmother seem simply misunderstood. Her Alexander rendering was quite sultry and scary.
I know that the licensing and the copyrighting and the marketing of movie memorabilia could inspire its own documentary—“The Lying Corporate Shark, the Agent, and the Publicity Flack”—but can’t doll artists sidestep the issues by some clever name-changing and sleight of hand?
I think it would be fantastic to be able to buy “Valiant Little Sister,” “Brave Big Brother,” “Strong and Sincere Older Sister,” and “Confused Middle Child.” (Poor Edmund, there really is no flattering way to describe him in that first film.) Dressed in circa-1941 outfits, or in their splendid coronation robes, and accompanied by their talking animal friends and magical weapons, these Robert Tonner creations would attract a new generation of owners and fans.
Yep, necessity is not always the mother of invention.In this case, childhood desire is.
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The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2009 no award presented
2010 Helen Kish
2011 no award presented
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.