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Archive for Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Old favorites stand test of time at toy fair

The 50th anniversary of Barbie is commemorated by a lineup of Barbie dolls from different eras, starting with the original Barbie in a black and white swimsuit, right, in a display by Mattel at Toy Fair 2009 at the Javits Center in New York.. The fair runs through Wednesday.

The 50th anniversary of Barbie is commemorated by a lineup of Barbie dolls from different eras, starting with the original Barbie in a black and white swimsuit, right, in a display by Mattel at Toy Fair 2009 at the Javits Center in New York.. The fair runs through Wednesday.

February 17, 2009

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— Barbie is turning 50, Legos are going digital and Razor is making girly pink scooters with tasseled handlebars.

From building blocks to computer imaging systems, new takes on toys are being displayed at the American International Toy Fair this week as manufacturers hope to appeal to budget-conscious consumers.

Legos, for example, are selling despite the economic downturn because parents like giving their children toys they played with themselves, said Karen Lynch, staffing the toy fair’s Lego display at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

“It’s something that has been generationally handed down,” she said.

Besides offering themed kits for building a pirate ship, a medieval castle or Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom, Lego will go retro in 2009 with a $29.99 box of 650 plastic bricks that can be used to make practically anything. A Web site with projects to build will be updated monthly.

The Billund, Denmark-based toy maker also is introducing a line of electronic gear, including a digital camera and a clock radio encased in the brand’s signature building blocks. The products, which will be available this fall, are made in conjunction with Digital Blue Inc., a maker of interactive electronics and software based in Marietta, Ga.

At the Barbie exhibit, El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel Inc. was celebrating the baby boomer icon’s 50th birthday with a line of nostalgic dolls from her early years.

The 1959 Barbie wore a striped swimsuit, mules and curly bangs that would look right at home on TV’s “I Love Lucy.”

Fast-forward 12 years to Malibu Barbie, deeply tanned and sporting long, straight hair.

Of more recent vintage is the Uglydoll, a line of quirky plush toys made by Pretty Ugly LLC that debuted in 2003. The dolls got a boost when 7-year-old Sasha Obama had one clipped to her backpack on her first day at Sidwell Friends School in suburban Maryland.

Spokeswoman Alita Friedman said Uglydolls are popular with kids who are too old for stuffed animals because each character comes with a humorous backstory.

New Uglydolls for 2009 will include Trunko, who “freaks out over everything,” and Turny Burny, who will “insist that it’s all just a misunderstanding, and that the trouble-making is all being done by their doppelgangers from an alternate dimension,” according Pretty Ugly, based in Edison, N.J.

Razor is expanding its popular roster of scooters by introducing a Sweet Pea line of pink products, “with a nod to today’s generation of stylish and sporty girls,” according to a release from the Cerritos, Calif.-based company.

The line updates the basic Razor scooter, introduced in 2000, with tassels and decals.

The toy fair continues through Wednesday and is open only to the industry.

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