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Dragon Heart: “Game of Thrones” sets sci-fi geeks’ (and their moms’) imaginations afire!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

On Sunday nights, even on Mother’s Day, I leave behind the mundane matters of being a working mom and a busy blogger. For an hour on the weekend, I’m transported to a world where there is certainly a lot of strife and stress, but it’s of an epic, grandiose nature.

Sure, I might be upset that my kitchen renovation is taking three times longer than I had been led to believe, but what’s that compared to ritual beheadings, avalanches, sword and sorcery, and soaring dragons? My worries seem minuscule when compared to the travails of “Game of Thrones.”

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Party Girl: Madame Alexander’s legacy turns 90 years old, and still going strong!
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

After hearing mounds of bad news over the past few weeks, it’s gratifying when a piece of cheerful information flits over the transom or, in more modern terms, arrives in one’s e-mail in-box. Such was the case when I received notification of Madame Alexander’s 90th anniversary celebration.

No, the esteemed Beatrice Alexander isn’t turning 90—the company’s founder passed away in 1990, at age 95. If she were still alive today, she’d be looking at 118 candles on her birthday cake.

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Perfectly Perky: Shirley Temple turns 85, and her dolls continue to delight collectors.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

One of the benefits of working in the doll world is the fact that I got to rub shoulders with some really sweet, really good-natured famous folk. Many of the women and men I had the chance to meet in person or chat with over the phone would be defined as America’s sweethearts. From Margaret O’Brien to Marie Osmond, Annette Funicello to Marla Maples Trump, all of these ladies were polite, courteous, and cheerful when it came to talking about their affinity and affection for dolls—dolls of their own likenesses and dolls that they owned as children on movie and TV soundstages or in junior beauty pageant competitions.

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Frankly Speaking: Anne Frank’s words inspire doll artists and give strength in these “crazy times.”
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

On April 15, 2013, terrorism reared its ugly head once more. Like all other Americans—and, really, TV viewers from around the globe—I watched in horror and amazement as reports of the Boston bombing consumed the airwaves. As a person who was in New York City, working, on 9/11, I immediately felt a flashback to those surreal hours when I, along with my fellow New Yorkers, were stranded in the streets of Manhattan for many, many hours as police and first responders shut the city down, and stopped all points of entry and exit. It was a horrendous day—which spawned a month of constant (fake) bomb threats being called into my employer, Random House. The whole work force learned to drop everything and take to the stairwells to exit the building. This was the new reality—it was the new normal. Terrorist threats became as common a part of my life as my morning coffee and muffin were.

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The Cat’s Meow: Zelda &Scott, the Great Gatsby and fashion fads, are part of doll culture.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

The other day I was watching a DVD and a trailer for “The Great Gatsby” exploded on my TV screen. Now, I’m a real devotee of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have visited his college of choice, Princeton University—he dropped out in 1917—and have gotten real shivers down my spine knowing that I might be treading in his footsteps. Yes, to borrow a phrase from Noël Coward, “I’m mad about the boy.”

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Spring Awakening: Bunnies, baskets, babies, and divinely inspired dolls—including the pope—define Easter.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

I imagine it’s a sign of the times that even the Easter Bunny has grown more health-conscious. The altruistic rabbit isn’t as fretful and haranguing as New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, but there is definitely an emphasis on “goods” rather than “goodies” this holiday season.

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On Your Toes: Madame Alexander keeps dance fans cheering with their ballet beauties and cuties.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

When I was a very young girl, I loved the ballet. My family, which was not very big on the notion of formal extracurricular activities, knew that I loved to dance, but they didn’t mentor that drive. I vividly remember showing off my self-invented twirls and “en pointe” pirouettes in my home’s garage. Warning to all kids at home: don’t attempt several quick, tiptoed spins on a concrete-slab surface! I lost my balance, was dizzy from the twirling, and fell face-first onto the garage floor. I was bruised and battered, and I knew in my eight-year-old soul that this wouldn’t have happened if I had had a barre to hold on to.

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Return to Oz: More wizardly and magical dolls crop up along the collectible brick road.
In the Spotlight
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   

Well, I have to admit, I was caught up in the cyclone juggernaut that is “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” My family caught a Sunday matinee (in 3D) and we were transported to a land of enchantment, excitement, good humor, and incredible special effects. It’s interesting that the critics have gotten out their pointy sticks and are jabbing at this Disney vehicle. If the Wizard were truly departing Kansas courtesy of a hot-air balloon, the newspaper, television, and Internet scribes would have deflated his escape plan. They really hate this eye-popping, eye-candy two-hour confection.

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