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Sunday, November 19 2017 19:06

THE TOY BOX Crowns a Second Season Winner...

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The second season of THE TOY BOX has come to a close on ABC, and now we know which new toy the judges have crowned champion. For the past eight weeks, the kid judges have come face-to-face with hopeful toy inventors, each competing for a shot at having their creation mass-produced by Mattel and made available for sale exclusively at Toys "R" Us. The winner this time around? Hydroshield aka Water Dodger! But that's not all, as Toys "R" Us chose Eardorables as a runner-up, and host Eric Stonestreet's personal favorite,  Wobb-Ball (seen as Flexxball) s a reality as well. See the winning toys below...

In doing what I do, I've been fortunate to see a lot of great toys cross my path over the past few years. For 2017, there's certainly been some highlights, but one of the best new toys was a late entry, and one that had escaped me until its makers hit me up earlier this fall and sent over one for review. When it comes to playsets, I grew up in an era that had a bunch of them - iconic sets from Star Wars, G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe, to name a few. While there's no doubt that kids want the biggest and best, the grownup mentality is that there's a real problem with those awesome playsets... storage. Our girls have some incredible sets here, ranging from the Barbie Dream House to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair. They're massively fun, but also massive in size... big, bulky plastic sets that aren't easy to store in-between adventures. Now, the makers of ReadySetz have emerged with their first playset - one that both provides a fun environment for imaginative play and solves the space problem. It's one of 2017's coolest new toys, and one you've likely never heard of.

Saturday, November 18 2017 17:01

Toy Review: Mattel's WWE Fashion Superstars Dolls

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There's been a fantastic trend over the past couple of years where the doll aisle has been receiving some action-packed upgrades. The recent successes of Mattel's DC Super Hero Girls and Hasbro's Star Wars: Forces of Destiny have fueled that, and now we have the WWE Fashion Superstars line. Also from Mattel, we have the same two-pronged approach that they've taken with the DC line - a collection of articulated 11-12" action dolls, along with a collection of 6" action figures. An assortment of these dolls recently arrived at Rock Father HQ, where they became an easy choice for a top pick in my annual Holiday Wish Guide™. Check out the video and review below...

Monster High is in a little bit of a lull right now. If you've visited your favorite toy retailer this fall, you might've noticed that the shelf space dedicated to Mattel's ghoulish crew has shrunk a bit, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some great new toys to check out. As Monster High continues to evolve, there's an awesome new playset out this season (The Monster High Deluxe Bus), along with some new dolls including the Monster Family collection. Now, the parents and siblings are getting into the action (Dracula!), and our most recent addition came to us for review from the folks at Mattel. Here we have Clawdeen Wolf along with her brother, Barker Wolf and baby sister, Weredith - all in their pjs and ready for bedtime fun! Actually, let's just take a cue from Ozzy Osbourne and say that they're ready to "bark at the moon!" Check out the video below...

I'm a little bummed. Back in July, one of the many highlights of Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim was an early look at footage from Disney•Pixar's INCREDIBLES 2 during the animation panel. In it, we got a glimpse at a few things, one of which I can certainly relate to - Mr. Incredible as an at-home dad, and what happens when he falls asleep and the kids start to play. That footage has never been seen outside of Hall D23, and with the release of the first public teaser for INCREDIBLES 2, you're still not getting to see it... at least not yet. Ahead of its theatrical debut alongside COCO later this week, take a look at the INCREDIBLES 2 teaser below!

Funko POP! Vinyls have become an incredible phenomenon in recent years, allowing kids and collectors to amass huge collections of their favorite pop culture characters. For those who want something smaller, the Pocket Pops! have been a great option, and one that's recently spun off into the keychain realm. In reality, these collectible, tradeable miniatures are simply Pocket Pops! with a keychain screwed into the top, so you can easily unscrew the keychain to play with the figures by themselves. My friends at Entertainment Earth recently sent us an entire factory-fresh display case of the new Funko Disney Series 1 Pocket Pop! Keychains, so Finley and I entered The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ to tackle these blind bags head-on in an episode of UNBOXED! Check out our full unboxing video below for your first look at this awesome new assortment...

I'm all about recognizing those that are doing good, and while I work on my own, hyper-local Rock Father Santa Holiday Toy Delivery Program during the Holiday season, it's always great to see what the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is accomplishing nationwide. Sadly, I've heard that their donations have been light the past few years (something I ran into here last year), but this year they're getting a big boost, and it comes from the good folks at Hasbro. For 2017, Hasbro has unveiled a new holiday matching campaign that will bring joy to even more children in need. For every new, unwrapped toy or game donated by individuals to any Toys for Tots local campaign through the 2017 holiday season, Hasbro will also donate a new toy or game as part of its BE FEARLESS BE KIND philanthropic initiative, up to one million gifts!

Back in the late 1980s - right around '88'-'89 or so, I spent a good deal of time trying to escape the "Co-Ops" in the town I was living in at the time, an armpit of America known as Park Forest, Illinois. As part of that escape, I would often walk across the street to the notoriously-troubled outdoor mall to visit the Aladdin's Castle arcade - a bright spot from a then-recent attempt at revitalizing the failing shopping center. It was significantly smaller than the location at the neighboring Lincoln Mall (also a memory), but they had some great games, and one I played often was RAMPAGE. In that game, players could take control of a giant ape, lizard or wolf, climbing buildings, eating people, and just creating general chaos. These creatures were formerly-human, mutated by some bad 80s stuff and hunted by the military. Fast forward three decades, and you wouldn't think they could've made a serious movie out of RAMPAGE, but that's what Warner Bros. just did... and it looks cool. Appropriately, the creatures are also loose in Chicago and throwing down to the music of the Smashing Pumpkins. Check this out...

A little while back, Entertainment Earth sent us a full factory display case of Cartoon Network "Cartoon! Cartoon!" Vinyl Figure Blind Boxes from TITAN Merchandise. Digging the 3" vinyl figures and knowing how much my little ones do as well, we opted to do an unboxing as opposed to a straight-up review. Thing is, as we filmed our video, I figured a bunch of diehard Cartoon Network fans were probably gonna beat me up about this. With few exceptions (Over the Garden Wall, for one), I haven't seen any of the shows represented in this assortment. Still, the figures are cool, and there's some chase options available. What did we get? Watch the video to find out, and to get your own TITANS in either display cases or single packs, visit my friends at Entertainment Earth!

More than 20 years into the game, and Pokémon seems bigger than ever... but now they're getting small! Micro-collectibles are one of the hottest trends in play today, and now Pokémon is in on the action thanks to a new line of toys from TOMY. The Pokémon Petite Pals are an all-new collection of micro-figures, and kids can create a complete world filled with colorful playsets and accessories. We recently received the Pokémon Petite Pals Escape in the Forest Playset for review, and it's a lot of fun. Let's take a look...

This Holiday Wish Guide™ Giveaway is brought to you by Gillette.

The members of the JUSTICE LEAGUE have a unique set of shaving and grooming needs. For example, how would razor burn feel for the Flash, a man who can approach speeds around Mach 25? Or how about Diana Prince, who tends to look perfect at all times, including in battle as Wonder Woman? Or then we have Arthur Curry (Aquaman), who has some unique needs when it comes to hydration. And those are just a few members of the team. I distinctly recall reading my favorite era of Superman comics - John Byrne's MAN OF STEEL, which DC Comics published back in 1986, in which Clark's shaving routine was famously documented. Yes, he was using his own heat vision, reflected from a mirror to clip his super-tough hair. Shouldn't it be easier? That's what Gillette has in mind, and having already developed a variety of products that are precision engineered to be “The Best a Man Can Get,” Gillette taken on the highly regarded challenge of uncovering what constitutes “The Best a Super Hero Can Get." Now, THE ROCK FATHER™ & Gillette have teamed-up for a Holiday Wish Guide Giveaway in which one lucky reader will receive a complete set of JUSTICE LEAGUE Limited Edition Gift Packs, perfect for holiday giving!

This Holiday Wish Guide™ feature is brought to you by The Salvation Army Chicago

The holiday season is an important time here at Rock Father HQ. I often write about holiday traditions, activities and of course, my annual Holiday Wish Guide™. For many families, their wish is simple - to have a roof over their heads and food on the table. The Salvation Army Chicago can help with that - serving communities in Chicago, Northern Illinois, and Lake County, Indiana by providing emergency financial assistance, grocery assistance through local food pantries; educational and recreational programs for children, adults and seniors; in addition to leadership training and character development programs for youth. One thing we make very clear to our daughters is that the season is one of giving, and whenever we see the familiar Red Kettle, The Rock Daughters™ drop some coins and often get a chance to ring the bell.

The past decade or so has been a rough one for STONE TEMPLE PILOTS. Guitarist Dean DeLeo, Bassist Robert DeLeo and Drummer Eric Kretz dealt with the increasingly erratic behavior of legendary frontman Scott Weiland, only to part ways and team-up with Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington. Then, all hopes for an original lineup reunion were crushed when Weiland died on tour with his solo band, with STP embarking on a search for a new frontman. Then Bennington died earlier this year, putting a particularly dark lineage on the vocal spot in the STP lineup. Now, after reviewing thousands of submissions and conducting in-person auditions, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS has emerged with a new singer... one from an unlikely place: Michigan. After making their refreshed live debut in Los Angeles this week, STP's first new music with frontman Jeff Gutt has arrived. Listen to "Meadow" below, and see if you agree with me that it's capturing the classic STP vibe while charging into a new era...

On June 1, 2018, Ryan Reynolds will return to the big screen, once again starring as Wade Wilson in 20th Century Fox's DEADPOOL 2. Now, ahead of Thanksgiving, the first official teaser has arrived in all of its Bob Ross glory. Nothing wrong with fresh powder and making friends with happy little trees, but you're gonna want to keep this one from the kids as language is an issue, and stuff does blow up good. Check it out... and beat this teaser like it owes you money.

Phil Vassar and Kellie Pickler are hitting the road this season for a Christmas Tour, and before they head out, they're making sure that they're both on "The Naughty List." For the new holiday single, the duo has released a music video with a classic look taking inspiration from those old USO Christmas shows. The clip made its debut on Yahoo Music, and is now available for all to enjoy. Check out the video and tour dates below, and be sure to check out The Rock Father™ Magazine's Ultimate Guide to 2017's Holiday Music & Movies right here!

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