Hot Wheels are something that I've written about regularly here on The Rock Father™ Magazine for the better part of a decade. This year, Mattel's iconic diecast vehicles are celebrating a milestone - their 50th Anniversary - and we were able to take part. Earlier this month, a crew from NBC News paid a visit to Rock Father HQ not to meet with me... but to interview our girls, The Rock Daughters™. Addie and Finley have a Hot Wheels collection that far eclipses what i had as a kid, and little Finley is the proud owner of one of the rarest Hot Wheels products ever made - The Rock Daughter™ Edition Hot Wheels Bed, created three years ago in collaboration between Mattel, yours truly and The Step2 Company. On June 5, 2018, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt aired the Hot Wheels special feature as the NBC Nightly Snapshot. If you missed it, here's the video in its entirety...
Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Mattel
There’s several trends in toys for 2018, and Mattel has managed to tick the boxes on many of them with one new line - Pooparoos Surpriseroos, available only at Walmart. Coming out of Toy Fair back in February, the world knew that bathroom fun would be a big deal, and here we see that combined with squishy collectibles, micro-collectibles and the ever-popular element of both blind boxes and blind bags. Kids will love the unboxing experience that these provide, with each adorable toilet playset including one squishy Pooparoos character paired with three blind Surpriseroos. Check out our hands-on video to see five-year-old Finley (youngest of The Rock Daughters™) cracking some open!
Part of a series of features from The Rock Father™ celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels, Mattel is throwing things back to where it all began... to May of 1968 when a 1:64-scale Spectraflame blue Chevrolet Camaro first hit stores. Elliot Handler, who co-founded Mattel with his wife, Ruth, wanted to do something big. He wanted to create a toy car that was better than anything else out there at the time. It had to look cooler. It had to perform better. And, with a rocket scientist and the help of Harry Bentley Bradley, a designer plucked from General Motors, an icon was born. Famously stating "Those are some hot wheels!," the "fastest metal cars in the world" now had a name and 15 more would join that blue Camaro to become known as the original "Sweet 16." These rides have become highly sought-after, so for Hot Wheels official birthday (May 18), Mattel has unleashed the Hot Wheels 50th Originals Collection. The assortment includes replicas of five Hot Wheels from the Sweet 16, each presented with legacy graphics, detailed Spectraflame paint, Redline wheels, and just like the originals, they come with a collectible button packed alongside the car on reproduction blister packs that look just like they did back in 1968!
The first in a series of features from The Rock Father™ celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels.
Since the launch of Mattel's Hot Wheels back in 1968, there have been hundreds (perhaps thousands) of playsets released, each providing an environment for generations of children to enjoy countless hours of high-octane imaginative play. At the center of that, the ever-updated range of garages has always been the pinnacle (we love our Ultimate Garage), but those were seldom portable - which is where the Sto & Go collection came in. Launched in 1979, the Hot Wheels Sto & Go Playsets perfectly reflected their name, packing big fun into a set that could quickly be flipped into a briefcase form that's ready to go wherever the family might be headed. Perhaps the most famous of the sets is the one that I had - the Hot Wheels Sto & Go Service Center, but there were several others, including the Sto & Go City, Construction Site, Car Wash & Service Station and lesser-known versions like the "Trucks & Trains" Railroad Freight Yard, Alpine Mountain Adventure military-themed "Action Command" Sto & Go Base. The line ran into the 90s before going dormant for a bit, but in 2016 it returned as part of the Hot Wheels Retro Style Series. Available exclusively at Target, the modern Hot Wheels Sto & Go Playset is not a direct copy of any of the vintage sets, but rather inspired by the best features of what came before it - largely pulling from the Service Center and City Sets. Check out the music video below to see this set in-action!
I've been out in Los Angeles for the past few days, working with The Walt Disney Company on a few things, but most importantly to attend the World Premiere of Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War (film reviewed here). Today, however, I had an unexpected detour - a brief meeting with the folks at Disney Consumer Products & Interactive, specifically to check out the latest offerings from Marvel and Lucasfilm ahead of Avengers and Solo: A Star Wars Story. While many of the items have been seen before, there's some additional product in the pipeline, and I'm pleased to reveal a couple of new cars from Mattel's Hot Wheels Star Wars Character Cars Collection. I've been writing about that line for four years (see my checklist here), and with Solo there's new offerings, including Qi'Ra and the Imperial Range Trooper. These were photographed with permission in a private showroom this morning...
For the past few years, Mattel's American Girl subsidiary has been running into problems. Sales have been dropping by the double-digits as habits change (damn the devices!) and other companies' 18" dolls have started to catch up to them in terms of quality but at a lower price. Add in another unfortunate set of moves that were tied to the failing Toys "R" Us (TRU), and those problems have snowballed quickly. The launch of the lower-priced, 15" Wellie Wishers line never took off in the way that everyone hoped, and those dolls and their accessories were shipped heavily to TRU. Pair that with fact that about a year and a half ago (October 2016), American Girl opened store-within-a-store pop-up concepts in 97 Toys "R" Us locations, and that's an issue. Mattel is owed over $135M in the Toys "R" Us bankruptcy that they'll likely never see and the fallout has begun. They recently announced the closing of their New York City office (100 jobs lost), and today comes news that hits close to home - they're shutting down American Girl operations in Wilmot, Wisconsin, and The Mattel Toy Store is going along with it.