Skipper Highlight Reel: Courtney, Skipper’s Best Friend

Courtney is my favorite of Skipper’s friends. Introduced in 1988 along with Teen Time Skipper, Courtney was Skipper’s first new female friend since Ginger came and went a few years earlier. Teen Time Courtney made a huge impact on the doll scene when she debuted as “Skipper’s best friend”.

Courtney Skipper dolls

Teen Time Skipper, who’s “school look changes for slumber party fun”, has a head of dark brown curls with a half ponytail. Unlike Skipper, Courtney has round brown eyes. (Courtney’s eyes would go between brown, green and blue throughout her releases.) Teen Time wears a striped white and red long sleeve shirt with a paint brush decal, a jean vest and a white skirt with red polka dots, which is really a nighty for when she and Skipper have their slumber party.

Courtney Skipper dolls

One of my favorite Courtney’s was 1989’s Cool Tops Courtney (center in photo above). Her mix and match outfit could be worked into 8 different looks. She had big, wavy dark brown hair with 4 half ponytails. This dolls look has always stood out to me. I love the bold red and yellow fabrics Mattel chose to bring this dolls outfit to life.

Courtney Skipper dolls

Courtney would be released pretty steadily through 2000, making it through the transition from the 90’s pre-teen anime eye face mold to the slightly older looking Pizza Party mold (seen below) and finally the more grown up Teen Skipper.

Courtney Skipper dolls

The final Courtney releases were unique to the rest, because Mattel decided to swap her dark brown hair with ginger. I don’t have any Teen Courtney’s from this era– yet! Unlike Skipper’s of this era, Courtney was only produced in the Caucasian skin tone.

Courtney Skipper dolls

If you’re looking to solely collect Courtney dolls, you’re in luck. It shouldn’t be too hard to find them all! Courtney was released in the following lines:

  • Teen Time Courtney (1988)
  • Cool Tops Courtney (1989)
  • Babysitting Courtney (1990)
  • Pet Pals Courtney (1991)
  • Cheerleading Courtney (1992)
  • Totally Hair Courtney (1992, Toys R Us exclusive)
  • Cool Crimp Courtney (1993)
  • Pizza Party Courtney (1994)
  • Phone Fun Courtney (1995)
  • Teen Courtney (1996)
  • Totally YoYo Courtney (1998)
  • Pajama Fun Courtney (1999)
  • Fashion Party Teen Skipper (2000)

Courtney Skipper dolls

In this Skipper Highlight Reel video, I go over all the Courtney’s in my collection so far in a little more detail!

Courtney will always be my favorite of Skipper’s friends. I just love her look! Do you have any fond memories of Skipper’s friend, Courtney? Which one(s) do you own? Do you have a favorite? Leave your thoughts in the comment area!

Advertisements

April 13, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Update: Toys R Us Liquidation (US Stores)/KayBee (KB) Toys Returning

Today, all 700+ Toys R Us stores in the United States were supposed to begin their liquidation sales. However, it looks like Friday, March 23rd, is the new date for liquidation sales to begin. This change could be due to a number of reasons, but I bet it has something to do with the most recent news that MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian has announced his plans to purchase some of the Toys R Us stores and essentially keep the brand alive. It’s important to note that Larian is using his own money, not MGA Entertainments. (He’s just that rich!) MGA Entertianment is known for Bratz and the current trend, LOL Surprise dolls.

Larian, along with unnamed investors, have $200 million dollars on the table and are currently crowd funding to reach $1 Billion dollars.  As this isn’t a charity donation, those who donate specific dollar amounts get fun incentives, assuming Larian reaches the $1 Billion dollar goal by May 28th, 2018. Some of the incentives are special edition Num-Nums, L.O.L Surprise, Little Tikes products, a factory tour and finally, for donations of $50,000.00 or more a block party, theme park stays, 5 years worth of toys from Toys R Us and more! Of course, there’s also smaller incentives, like shirts, bumper stickers, etc. Donating won’t make you a partner in the new Toys R Us brand, but is a way for dedicated shoppers to help keep the brand alive.

I, personally, am not 100% sure that crowd funding for this sort of cause is right, per say, but, I’d be lying if I wasn’t thinking about tossing in $5.00 to the campaign.

Why is Larian so interested in keeping Toys R Us alive? According to Larian, nearly 1 in every 5 sales of MGA Entertainment products is purchased at a Toys R Us store. Not to mention, Toys R Us is known for their variety of toys. Newer or smaller toy makers will have a much tougher time finding a physical store to carry their stock once Toys R Us is gone, which could mean even more jobs lost. (Think about the number of toy aisles in a Target or a Walmart vs a Toys R Us. These other big box stores just don’t have the space to ‘test’ out new toys just hitting the market.) Larger companies, like MGA Entertainment, Mattel or Hasbro, are not immune to the possibility of lay offs if Toys R Us leaves the retail market, either.

To read the court documents, many of which are from toy makers looking to get their stock back before liquidation begins, go here. For me, I’m keeping an eye on all the liquidation news and probably hitting up my local store a lot more often within the next few weeks. Toys R Us stores, for the most part, stopped receiving new stock two weeks ago and have an estimated closure date of early May 2018.

My advice to you is this: First, use up those giftcards now. Second, if you see something you like, grab it. Don’t wait until ‘next time’, because there may not be a ‘next time’. And most importantly, please be nice to all the employees. It’s not their fault that the toy you wanted is out of stock. It’s not their fault that the only toy store in 50 miles is closing. It’s not their fault that the lines wrap around the stores. Remember, the faithful employees you interact with while shopping at your liquidating Toys R Us are people who are losing their jobs– their livelihood. They’re not getting bonuses or severance checks. So, be nice to them. Because, in the grand scheme of things, you not finding the toy you wanted or standing in line longer than you might usually is way less agonizing than the stress, loss and emotional struggles the hard working Toys R Us crew at your local store will be going through once Toys R Us finally closes and they lose (possibly) their only means of survival.

Now, onto part two of this post– KayBee Toys (or KB Toys) may be making a return to retail! For those who don’t know, KB Toys was a mall staple from 1922 to 2009. Smaller than Toys R Us, it is still held in fond regard by those who walked around its aisles. Before it liquidated, KB Toys was the 2nd oldest operating toy retailer in North America (behind FAO Schwarz). Sadly, KB Toys fell victim to the same management problems as Toys R Us, when Bain Capital, the current owner of Toys R Us, saddled the mall toy store with a large amount of debt after acquiring the brand for $302 million, largely borrowed from creditors, in 2000. (This is exactly the same thing they did with Toys R Us.) This article talks a bit about the questionable management of Bain during the time it owned and liquidated KB Toys. The article is politically charged, but has some interesting information.

According to another article, “After buying KB Toys in 2000, Bain and its co-investors had the retailer borrow $85 million to pay the firm and its co-investors a dividend — a move that left the chain, which had been generating steady earnings, strapped for cash as deepening price cuts at Walmart lured more shoppers away from malls.” This lead the company to liquidating in 2009.

In 2017, a company called Strategic Marks, LLC acquired the KB Toys brand. They’ve been working on a plan to bring back the “Great American Toy Store”. With Toys R Us liquidating, their current goal is to support the toy companies by opening pop up shops set up under the KB Toys umbrella for the 2018 holiday season. Obviously, Strategic Marks is still developing their plan, but it seems like they’re on the right track.

In messages posted to LinkedIn by Ellia Kassoff, Founder of Strategic Marks, he says, “We’re in discussions with many of the toy manufactures, as we try to find out the best way to support them and the 20% loss of the US toy market due to the Toys R Us liquidation. We believe we will have the infrastructure in-place and [hopefully] save the toy industry.” In another post, he said, “Our umbrella, Strategic Marks, LLC has been very successful bringing back many of the most popular products and companies over the last ten years because we follow a very strict formula; [To bring back the experiences we loved as a child, just as you remembered them].” You can ‘follow Ellia on LinkedIn, where he seems to be posting short updates on the KB Toys re-launch.

So, that’s about it on Toys R Us and KB Toys– for now. News seems to be changing every day. I try to share news on my Facebook page, so subscribe to that for more news on this topic. What are your thoughts on KB coming back? Toys R Us’s possible return? Do you have found memories of either store? Share them in the comment area!

 

UPDATE: TMZ is reporting that the founder of Toys R Us, Charles Lazarus, passed away today at the age of  94.

March 22, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 14 comments.

Heads Up: World Doll Day Doll Drive

With Toys R Us liquidating their US and UK based stores, I wanted to give you all a heads up that I will be hosting a World Doll Day Doll Drive again with donations going to Marillac St. Vincent Family Service’s Christmas store.

World Doll Day Logo

A PO Box will be set up in April for donations (and fan mail, b/c why not?). Keep this in the back of your mind when you’re shopping for deals at Toys R Us or your favorite toy store. Maybe you’ll find a great doll at an even better price to donate to the drive! And, of course, I’ll be sharing more details as we get closer to the drive, which will begin as soon as I get the PO Box open and run through June!

 

March 15, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Walking the Toy Aisles/Toys R Us Rumors

Toys R Us is rumored to be closing all their US-based toy stores following their financial struggles that left the company in debt for $5.2 billion dollars, stemming from an untimely leveraged buyout in 2005, right before the US’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. After a slow holiday season in 2017 and mounting debt, Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September of 2017. Early into the new year, they announced that they’d be closing hundreds of under performing stores, most of which were Babies R Us, in my area, at least. With insiders saying, “Hopes are fading that a buyer will emerge to keep some of the business operating, or that lenders will agree on terms of a debt restructuring”, it looks like the rumors will most likely become reality. Stores in the UK market have already gone into something called “insolvency administration”, which sounds a lot like a company wide liquidation to me, and seems to be a grim premonition of what we’ll shortly be seeing here in the United States. The final court case is Thursday, so we’ll see what happens…

If (when) Toys R Us announces a company wide liquidation, it will literally be the end of an era. There are no other big box toy stores. There are ‘mom and pop’ toy stores, sure, but Toys R Us is the only large chain toy store. Stores like Walmart and Target sell toys, but don’t have the selection you can find at a well stocked Toys R Us. There’s a variety to Toys R Us that I fear won’t be available in any brick and mortar stores, if (when) they shutter the doors for the last time.

I feel sorry for the generation of children who won’t be able to walk into a Toys R Us, gift card in hand, and have such a huge variety of toys on the shelves, just waiting to be taken home and played with. Seeing a toy in person is such a better gauge of quality than just seeing it on Amazon and hoping the promo photos and reviews are accurate. Yes, children nowadays are drawn to digital entertainment, but there will be a time where traditional play comes back in style. Without a Toys R Us to shop at, with such variety, half the fun of toy shopping will be gone.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

My mom and I went to our local Toys R Us Sunday to look around. It’s not on the closing list, as of right now. Even so, it was kind of sad looking. The shelves were not getting stocked. There were huge gaps on shelves with brands that usually are well stocked all the time. There was even an empty display with literally nothing on it. Interestingly, it was the busiest we’ve seen Toys R Us to be in a while. There were so many families in the store shopping, even a birthday girl wandering around. The line of customers waiting to check out was long, winding back to at least three or four aisles into the store. It was quite surprisingly to see such a crowd. It made me wonder if people with gift cards or membership rewards were using them ‘just in case’ the stores closed this week, leaving gift cards and membership rewards useless.

I’ll miss Toys R Us a lot if (when) it goes into liquidation. True, the prices were always a little bit higher than other stores and they refuse to go down on prices until years past a products popularity, but they are the only big box toy store around and one of the few fun stores to wander around.

So, after that long winded lead in, here’s Walking the Toy Aisle! There, honestly, weren’t a lot of dolls on the shelves at any of our usual haunts. Coupled with the disappointing showing of dolls at New York Toy Fair, I don’t think we’ll have a doll filled 2018, unfortunately.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I’m not a fan of the new “Barbie and the Rockers”, but these are kind of cute. The idea of having a Kelly/Tommy sized piano is tempting.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Our stores pretty much stopped stocking Monster High, except for a lone few dolls. Frankie’s little sister is one of them they did decide to stock. Of all the new siblings Mattel has released, Frankie’s is probably the cutest. The un-articulated body is sad, but the face on Frankie’s kid sister is cute!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I thought these superhero mini figures were kind of fun. They’d definitely fit in with any of the Little Kingdom figures you may have gathered over the years.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

We found this Elizabeth Taylor doll at the Mattel outlet. They did a great job on her, I think! She looks a lot like I’d expect Elizabeth Taylor to look.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Also seen at the Mattel outlet, this is a super cute retro Barbie! I love the pig tails!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

There were a lot of the larger Ever After High sets at the Mattel outlet– should have been the first sign that Mattel was losing interest in the line. At Toys R Us, the line was on clearance. Some stores have stopped stocking it all together.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I don’t know what to think about these mini Shibajuku Girls, the Shiba-Cuties. I think I prefer the normal sized dolls. These are nice, but their faces are a little weird.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I like the vibe of Tokidoki, though I don’t own much (if any) merchandise from them. Donutella and Chocotella are adorable! Barbee0913 is a fan. I may have to pick them up and save them for Christmas.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Flipkins are the smaller friends of Flip Zee Girls. Surprisingly, the Flip Zee Girls review on my channel did really well. If you missed it, click here!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Barbie’s had some out there looks lately– Camping Fun Barbie is cute! Her face, her outfit– I like it!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I also like that Mattel is releasing furniture and outfits. The furniture is great, because you could use it in any doll house, not just the Dreamhouse. And the clothing? I love it! The Saturday morning cartoon fan in me is happy with the Carebears and Sanrio themed outfits!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I don’t collect Shopkins, but these new Wild Style animals are fun. They’d make good birthday presents, I think!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

My mom and I had to pick up a Molang surprise toy– and it was so much fun. As you push each layer (like a Push Pop), a new toy is unveiled. The toys are small, but cute.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I found the My Little Pony movie to be good, but not great. The toys are adorable, though! I ran out of room for most of my ponies, but I definitely will be adding a Sea Pony to my collection eventually!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Christmas must be over– Fingerlings are back. And they have the Sloth (now sold everywhere, not just Walmart). Apparently, the sloth moves slower than the regular monkey.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Hello 1980’s! Colorforms are back– for a limited time.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

There were so few dolls at Toys R Us that this was my favorite thing from this particular visit. The cover felt so nice and, really, you can’t go wrong with a Pokeball on the cover of your trading card binder. My idea is to use this to hold art cards, since I’ve run out of wall space! (Hopefully, Toys R Us still has this, since I haven’t bought it yet.)

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Were I shopping for a baby shower gift, these would be in my cart! I love these teethers!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

It’s a cat in a banana. I have no idea why the cat lives in the banana, but how cute is Bananya?! On a side note, it’s really weird seeing all these anime inspired products at Toys R Us! (Even weirder seeing them at Barnes and Noble!)

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Walkin the Toy Aisle

I really like what Mattel is doing with the Barbie and Crayola partnership!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Tomb Raider Barbie is pretty awesome. The face is pretty unique. I like her determined expression.

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Throwback to 1985 with Day to Night Barbie! I had this doll as a kid (and still do as an adult)!

Walkin the Toy Aisle

Ken cosplays as– Emma Swan (from Once Upon a Time)? The red jacket throws me off, but the rest is pretty neat.

What have you seen on your walks through the toy aisles? Let us know in the comment area!

March 13, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Katherine Johnson and More!

In honor of International Women’s Day, Mattel inducted 14 new inspirational women into their ‘Sheroes’ series: Patty Jenkins (director of Wonder Woman), Chloe Kim (Olympic snowboarder), Nicola Adams OBE (boxing champion), Bindi Irwin (conservationist), Hui Ruoqi (vollyball champion), Hélène Darroze (chef), Sara Gama (soccer player), Martyna Wojciechowska (journalist), Xiaotong Guan (actor/philanthropist), Yuan Yuan Tan (ballerina), Vicky Martin Berrocal (designer/entrepreneur), Cagla Kubat (windsurfer), Lorena Ochoa (golfer) and Leyla Piedayesh (designer/entrepreneur). Like past ‘Sheroes’ releases, these are one-offs and won’t be sold in stores.

Internationa Women's Day Sheroes

As disappointing as it may be that we aren’t getting wide releases of the inspiring women listed above, Mattel also announced the “Inspiring Women” line, which includes Amelia Earhart (aviator), Frida Kahlo (artist) and Katherine Johnson (NASA mathematician). These dolls are on articulated bodies, judging from Mattel’s promotional photos. (Thank you, Mattel!) Of the three, my favorite is Amelia Earhart. I’ve always been intrigued with Amelia Earhart’s story and the mystery surrounding her death. Mattel did a great job, in my opinion, of re-creating her in doll form. Also, her outfit is awesome!

Internationa Women's Day Sheroes

Internationa Women's Day Sheroes

Internationa Women's Day Sheroes

What ‘Sheroes’ would you like to see mass produced? Who should Mattel create next? Will you be buying any of the Inspirational Women line? Let me know in the comment area!

March 8, 2018. Tags: . Uncategorized. 24 comments.

« Previous PageNext Page »

%d bloggers like this: