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  1. Texas Toddler Awakens from Coma, Celebrates Christmas in February Posted: Feb 13, 2017 10:33 AM CST TEMPLE, Texas (KWKT/KYLE) - A four-year-old girl, named Layla Annstout celebrated her Christmas Sunday at Baylor Scott and White McLane Childrens' Medical Center due to an illness that caused her to be in an induced coma during the holidays... To Read More, Click Here: Source
  2. Newport's Santa and Mrs. Claus lose their outfits to a thief by Hannah Fry, Contact Reporter, Los Angeles Times | Posted: 1-13-2017, 1:01 PM PST EXCERPT: NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA --- 'Twas Tuesday night and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not evern a mouse. But outside the house in the 100 block of Coral Avenue on Balboa Island, a thief was rifling through an unlocked car, parked in its usual carport. The bandit checked the glove box before grabbing a garment bag that was sitting neatly on the front seat. The thief then headed off into the night... To Read More Click Here: SOURCE
  3. Elf Without Jingles

    The man behind the red coat

    The man behind the red coat by Kathleen Guill, Frederick, Oklahoma Press-Leader | Posted: 1-19-2017 EXCERPT: FREDERICK, OKLAHOMA --- J.M. Cope is a well-known resident of Frederick. He's lived here in Tillman County for some 25 years but was born and raised in Manitou. If the name J.M. Cope doesn't sound familiar, maybe that's because he's better known around these parts as Santa Claus... To Read More Click Here: SOURCE
  4. In off-season, this banjo-building Santa learned kung fu From the Houston Chronicle, 1-14-2017 EXCERPT: HOUSTON, TEXAS --- Maybe not everybody was Kung Fu fighting, but one banjo-building Santa Claus certainly was. Chuck Lee, who plays Santa every Christmas, provides visitors to the North Texas Shaolin-Do an unusual sight: Santa actually kicking, punching and genuinely looking like a martial arts expert. Lee, with his real white beard and hair, is currently working on his Black Belt during what is otherwise St. Nick's off-season. To Read More Click Here: SOURCE
  5. Anna Kendrick in Talks to Play Female Santa Claus for Disney Movie The Hollywood Reporter January 11, 2016 EXCERPT: The 'Pitch Perfect' star was just seen opposite Ben Affleck in 'The Accountant.' Anna Kendrick is in negotiations to star in Disney's Nicole, a tale of a female Santa Claus. Marc Lawrence is attached to direct, while Suzanne Todd, who worked with the studio on Alice in Wonderland, is producing. Lawrence also wrote the script, whose details are being kept on ice. The twist, however, is that it is a holiday family adventure that centers on the coming of a female Santa. Disney has done well in the past with tales of old St. Nick, having a hit franchise with the Tim Allen-starring Santa Clause trilogy, which launched in 1994. Lawrence may be best known for writing and directing Music and Lyrics, a 2007 romantic comedy that starred Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. His other directing credits include The Rewrite and Did You Hear About the Morgans, both of which starred Grant as well. Lawrence got his start as a writer-producer on Family Ties. Todd is currently in production on Magic Camp, a family movie for Disney. Kendrick already appeared in a Disney movie when she starred as Cinderella in the film adaptation of the hit musical Into the Woods. The actress's musical stylings were most recently heard in the animated feature Trolls, and she is in production on Pitch Perfect 3. Sources say Nicole is not a musical, but Kendrick may end up indulging her musical side. SOURCE: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/anna-kendrick-play-female-santa-claus-disney-movie-963638
  6. German Catholic charity launches 'No Santa' initiative BBC.com 30 November 2016 EXCERPT: A Catholic charity has launched a "Father Christmas-free zone" in a German town as part of efforts to promote the more traditional figure of Saint Nicholas. Scores of children attended an event in the Bavarian town of Passau to mark the arrival of the saint and the setting-up of the Santa-free zone, the Bayerischer Rundfunk news website reports. The ceremony was also attended by talent show celebrities and the local bishop. Saint Nicholas's feast day is on 6 December and is celebrated in Germany with presents, but the Catholic Bonifatiuswerk charity fears he is being superseded by the more "Anglo-Saxon" Santa Claus in the hearts of young Germans. The red-suited newcomer is more associated with the commercial aspects of Christmas in Germany, and appears in the ubiquitous festive truck-based adverts for Coca-Cola much like he does elsewhere in the world. But according to Bonifatiuswerk, there's more to the feast of Saint Nicholas than the receiving of gifts, and their campaign exists as a "snappy" gesture against Santa Claus "underlining the importance of Christian traditions and values". That includes what the charity feels should fill the German equivalent of Christmas stockings: saint-shaped chocolates. "By using fairtrade chocolate bars... Saint Nicholas' boots won't be filled with ungodly Santas," it says. For those who may have already bought their Santa-shaped chocolates, there's a remedy. The charity's website offers a handy cut-out-and-keep Saint Nicholas outfit, designed to be placed over Santa chocolates to give them a more traditional look. SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-38147820?SThisFB
  7. Man Who Looks Like Santa Asked To Leave Six Flags CBS 11 December 12, 2016 By Andrea Lucia EXCERPT: BURLESON (CBS11) – A Burleson man resembling Santa Claus ended up on Six Flags’ naughty list on Saturday. Jerry Henderson got in trouble for looking like Santa and handing out candy to kids at the theme park. Jerry Henderson and his wife visit Six Flags Over Texas almost every weekend and walk the park for exercise. He told CBS11 his routine has been going on for three years and he’d never had a problem until now. “This ain’t a costume,” insisted Henderson, who for almost 20 years has maintained a resemblance to Santa. During the holiday season, Henderson wears the same Christmas-themed vest and hat every day. “I go to Walmart like this. This is me,” he said. “I enjoy making kids smile,” he said. Henderson got in trouble after he says a woman asked him to pose for a picture with her children. “Knelt down, put my arms around them, and afterward I reached in my wife’s walker, pulled out two candy canes, handed it to them,” recalled Henderson. He said he was then approached by park security. “’We’re gonna have to ask you to leave.’ I said, ‘For what reason?’ He said, ‘You look too much like Santa Claus.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” he recalled. “I do not approach kids. The parents come to me.” Six Flags released this statement on the matter: “We apologize that Mr. Henderson was inconvenienced, but the safety of our guests is always our highest priority. We cannot knowingly allow individuals who are not approved by the park to interact with small children in this capacity. Mr Henderson was handing out candy to our younger guests and was dressed up as Santa which is in violation of our No Costume policy. When asked to change he refused and at that point was asked to leave.” Henderson said he never approaches children, but responds to requests from their parents. He also said he offered to take off the hat and stop giving away candy, but he claims a park manager told him he’d have to lose the beard. “Not for you, Six Flags, or anybody else, am I shaving my beard off,” he said. Henderson requested a refund from Six Flags for his season pass, but has yet to hear back. SOURCE: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/12/12/man-who-looks-like-santa-asked-to-leave-six-flags/
  8. Couple in deadly crash well-known as Mr. and Mrs. Claus The Des Moines Register Kelly McGowan December 20, 2016 EXCERPT: DES MOINES — Jack and Joyce Daniels visited Farmers & Merchants State Bank Saturday morning in Winterset as part of the yearly rounds the couple, both 79, made dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Just a week before Christmas Eve, right after their morning of listening to children's Christmas wishes, wintry roads caused a car accident that killed Joyce and severely injured Jack. The vehicle lost control, slipped off the road and rolled once before landing upside-down in a ditch around 11:30 a.m. CT Saturday on St. Charles Road about four miles outside of Winterset, according to the Iowa State Patrol and the Madison County Sheriff's Office. The longtime St. Charles residents were well-known and liked by the whole town, said Larry Daniels, Jack's younger brother who lives in Des Moines. They'd been making visits as Santa and Mrs. Claus for at least 15 years, he said. "They loved children and loved to make them happy," Larry Daniels said. "They'd give them small gifts, all out of their own pocket.” “They loved children and loved to make them happy. They'd give them small gifts, all out of their own pocket.” Larry Daniels He said Joyce was a generous person. "Everybody was her friend. … She would do anything for anybody," he said. Jack Daniels remains in the hospital, recovering from a broken shoulder blade and collarbone and other injuries, he said. Jack's younger brother, Claude Daniels, said the couple would brave winter weather to bring joy to local children. "A few weeks ago, it was cold out, but they went and they saw 148 kids," Claude Daniels said. On Saturday, Jennie Hargrove of Winterset brought her baby daughter, Reba, to the bank. “She was in awe,” Hargrove said. “She loved to see his beard and sit on his lap. She wasn’t afraid.” That approachability came from the years of experience as the Claus couple, Hargrove said. Though Hargrove didn’t know the Danielses personally, she said she was sure Joyce’s legacy would live on. Jack and Joyce Daniels sit together, dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, ready to hear Christmas wishes from children. Icy roads caused a car accident on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 that killed Joyce and injured Jack on their way from visiting children in Winterset. (Photo: Katie Beghtel/Special to the Register) “I hope that people remember that she spent the last hours of her life bringing joy to children,” Hargrove said. “It was a tragic ending, but she got to spend her last day doing something she loved.” The sad situation was magnified by being right before Christmas, said Jerry McDonald, who has been the couple's neighbor in St. Charles for more than 50 years. “They just were a couple that was always together," McDonald said. "They were always out in the community — didn’t have an enemy in the world." The Danielses had five children and a large extended family, he said. Joyce had been a stay-at-home mom, and before retirement, Jack had worked at a printing company on Des Moines' east side, McDonald said. "You couldn't ask for nicer neighbors … They would do anything they could for you," McDonald said. Former St. Charles Mayor Joan Brown said the couple was more active in the Santa and Mrs. Claus roles than anyone else she has seen. "Any place there were children who wanted to see Santa Claus, that’s where they’d be,” Brown said. “It’s really devastating.” Madison County Sheriff's Deputy Don Kinney said the roads were "terrible" that day, and that the loss is now being felt throughout the community. “They were very well-known for what they did (as) Santa and Mrs. Claus," Kinney said. "There were quite a few people who knew them. (Joyce) will be missed.” SOURCE: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/12/20/deady-crash-mr-and-mrs-claus/95643094/
  9. Istanbul nightclub 'Santa attack' kills 39 Attacker still on the run January 1, 2017 Bangkok Post EXCERPT: STANBUL - Thirty-nine people, including many foreigners, were killed Sunday when a gunman went on a rampage at an exclusive nightclub in Istanbul where revellers were celebrating the New Year. At least 35 people were killed and 40 wounded in a "terror attack" on an Istanbul nightclub on Sunday where people were celebrating the New Year, the city's governor said. As police launched a dragnet for the assailant, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the carnage sought to sow chaos and undermine peace, but Turkey would never bow to the threat. The attack on the waterside Reina nightclub began when 2017 in Turkey was just 75 minutes old, after a year of unprecedented bloodshed that saw hundreds die in strikes blamed on Kurdish militants and jihadists. The assailant shot dead a policeman and a civilian at the club entrance and then went on a shooting spree inside where up to 700 people were feting the New Year. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker had escaped and was now the target of a major manhunt, expressing hope the suspect "would be captured soon". He added that of 20 victims identified so far, 15 were foreigners and five were Turks. Another 65 people were being treated in hospital. "The attacker -- in the most brutal and merciless way -- targeted innocent people who had only come here to celebrate the New Year and have fun," Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said at the scene on the shores of the Bosphorus. Many revellers threw themselves into the water in panic and efforts were under way to rescue them, NTV television said. Dogan news agency said the gunman was dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, although this has yet to be confirmed. Soylu said the gunman had arrived with a gun concealed underneath an overcoat but subsequently exited the venue wearing a different garment. The nationalities of the victims have yet to be disclosed although Israel said one of its nationals was wounded and another missing and France said three of its nationals were wounded. Television pictures showed party-goers -- including men in suits and women in cocktail dresses -- emerging from the nightclub in a state of shock. Dogan reported that some witnesses claimed the assailants were "speaking Arabic" while NTV said special force police officers were still searching the club. ... SOURCE: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/1172597/istanbul-nightclub-santa-attack-kills-35 ##### So sad to see something like this. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/1172597/istanbul-nightclub-santa-attack-kills-35 How many of you are now being more alert to where you are and how you plan to get out of there quick?
  10. I am happy to announce that we just wrapped up our Special Christmas Eve Edition of the ClausNet Gazette! This is the biggest issue ever -- 20 pages. The December issue arrives in your inbox on Christmas Eve. The issue features original content including, interviews, articles, AND the announcement of this year's International Santa Claus Hall of Fame inductees.
  11. Michael Rielly

    The Song That Changed Christmas Forever

    The Song That Changed Christmas Forever Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ shaped the holiday and its music. By Will Friedwald WSJ Oct. 4, 2016 EXCERPT: Although both the classic 1942 movie musical and the new Broadway production of “Holiday Inn” (which opens on Oct. 6) are crammed with spectacular production numbers involving entire chorus lines and elaborate sets and costumes, the uncontested highlight is the quietest song in the score. Near the end of Act 1, the singer and songwriter portrayed by Bing Crosby in the film—and now by Bryce Pinkham on stage—sits down at the piano and plays his newest composition, “White Christmas,” for his leading lady. That brief moment in a Hollywood musical, released eight months into World War II, led to a sea-change in American culture. The modern celebration of Christmas scarcely existed at all before the war: There was only one classic Christmas song written in the 1930s (“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”) and only one major Hollywood Christmas movie (the 1938 adaptation of Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”). The prevailing showbiz wisdom was that it made little sense to invest money and energy in a product that was salable for only a very short window each year. Legend has it that composer Irving Berlin was in Hollywood working on a movie, and missing his family in New York, when he conceived of “White Christmas.” And the song’s verse, which Berlin himself later sought to suppress and removed from nearly all publications of the sheet music, tells of an easterner stuck in “Beverly Hills, L.A.,” where the shining sun and the swaying “orange and palm trees” make him nostalgic for a white Christmas, just like the ones he used to know. According to historian Jody Rosen in his authoritative “White Christmas: The Story of an American Song,” Berlin’s first idea was to write a comedy song, deriving laughs from the contrast between sunny California and a traditional Northeastern winter scene. He initially wanted to use it in a stage musical, but unlike the show about to open at Studio 54, this was to be a revue—the customary vehicle for witty songs and satirical sketches—rather than a modern “book” musical. But from the day that Berlin first brought “White Christmas” into his office in January 1940, it was clear that this was no novelty number. There’s an emotional resonance to the song not found in the likes of “Jingle Bells.” This bittersweet quality is likely connected, as Mr. Rosen notes, to the death of Berlin’s only son, Irving Jr., as an infant on Dec. 25, 1928. The composer’s new idea was to place the song in the middle of a movie about an inn that doubled as a nightclub and presented songs for each of the major holidays. At the start of the war, both the song and the film “Holiday Inn” were blockbusters. It’s no coincidence that Berlin perfectly captured the zeitgeist—the situation in Europe had long been on his mind by then—and the song’s first audience comprised soldiers and those on the home front, who embraced it as a prayer for peace. Yet, prescient as he was, Berlin couldn’t have predicted that his song would open the floodgates to Christmas music, a deluge that continues unabated. “White Christmas” arrived just in time for the development of the long-playing record and television, the two mediums that virtually invented Christmas as a commercial commodity. Bing Crosby’s record is still recognized as the most successful single of all time and, more importantly, changed the way we think about holidays. As Mr. Rosen notes, in its wake rabbis and Christian leaders alike began to encourage all Americans to celebrate this time of year as a secular holiday, one which members of all faiths could participate in. The song later got a movie of its own, the 1954 “White Christmas,” for which Paramount Pictures wisely brought back Crosby but otherwise trashed what worked so well in “Holiday Inn.” In the eponymous film, “White Christmas” is staged like a big gaudy production number in an exceptionally tacky TV special. Remarkably, the lyrics to “White Christmas” evoke neither Jesus nor Santa Claus, and promise neither salvation nor choo-choo trains. Rather, it created its own holiday mythology with itself at the center as a hymn for peace, love and family. Thankfully, the producers of the current “Holiday Inn,” unlike those of the 1954 “White Christmas,” are smart enough to trust that. SOURCE: http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-song-that-changed-christmas-forever-1475617510
  12. Michael Rielly

    ‘No doubt’ Iceland’s elves exist

    ‘No doubt’ Iceland’s elves exist: anthropologist certain the creatures live alongside regular folks Construction sites have been moved so as not to disturb the elves, and fishermen have refused to put out to sea because of their warnings: here in Iceland, these creatures are a part of everyday life South China Morning Post 14 May, 2016 EXCERPT: Since the beginning of time, elves have been the stuff of legend in Iceland, but locals here will earnestly tell you that elves appear regularly to those who know how to see them. Construction sites have been moved so as not to disturb the elves, and fishermen have refused to put out to sea because of their warnings: here in Iceland, these creatures are a part of everyday life. Watch: Iceland's elves, a force to be reckoned with But honestly, do they really exist? Anthropologist Magnus Skarphedinsson has spent decades collecting witness accounts, and he’s convinced the answer is yes. He now passes on his knowledge to curious crowds as the headmaster of Reykjavik’s Elf School. “There is no doubt that they exist!” exclaims the stout 60-year-old as he addresses his “students”, for the most part tourists fascinated by Icelanders’ belief in elves. What exactly is an elf? A well-intentioned being, smaller than a person, who lives outdoors and normally does not talk. They are not to be confused with Iceland’s “hidden people”, who resemble humans and almost all of whom speak Icelandic. To convince sceptics that this is not just a myth, Skarphedinsson relays two “witness accounts”, spinning the tales as an accomplished storyteller. The first tells of a woman who knew a fisherman who was able to see elves who would also go out to sea to fish. One morning in February 1921, he noticed they were not heading out to sea and he tried to convince the other fishermen not to go out either. But the boss would not let them stay on shore. That day, there was an unusually violent storm in the North Atlantic but the fishermen, who had heeded his warning and stayed closed to shore, all returned home safe and sound. Seven years later, in June 1928, the elves again did not put out to sea which was confusing because there had never been a fierce storm at sea at that time of year. Forced to head out, they sailed waters that were calm but caught very few fish. “The elves knew it,” the anthropologist claims. The other “witness” is a woman in her eighties, who in 2002 ran into a young teen who claimed to know her. Asking him where they had met, he gave her an address where she had lived 53 years ago where her daughter claimed she had played with an invisible boy. Most people tread lightly when entering into known elf territory Iceland Magazine “But Mum, it’s Maggi!” exclaimed the daughter when her mother described the teen. “He had aged fives times slower than a human being,” said Skarphedinsson. Surveys suggest about half of Icelanders believe in elves. “Most people say they heard [about them] from their grandparents when they were children,” said Michael Herdon, a 29-year-old American tourist attending Elf School. Iceland Magazine says ethnologists have noted it is rare for an Icelander to really truly believe in elves. But getting them to admit it is tricky. “Most people tread lightly when entering into known elf territory,” the English-language publication wrote in September. That’s also the case with construction projects. It may prompt sniggers, but respect for the elves’ habitat is a consideration every time a construction project is started in Iceland’s magnificent countryside, which is covered with lava fields and barren, windswept lowlands. Back in 1971, Skarphedinsson recalls how elves disrupted construction of a national highway from Reykjavik to the northeast. The project, he says, suffered repeated unusual technical difficulties because they didn’t want a big boulder that served as their home to be moved to make way for the new road. “They made an agreement in the end that the elves would leave the stone for a week, and they would move the stone 15 metres. This is probably the only country in the world whose government officially talked with elves,” Skarphedinsson says. But Iceland is not the only country that is home to elves, he says. It’s just that Icelanders are more receptive to accounts of their existence. “The real reason is that the Enlightenment came very late to Iceland. “In other countries, with western scientific arrogance [and] the denial of everything that they have not discovered themselves, they say that witnesses are subject to hallucinations.” SOURCE: http://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/1944583/no-doubt-icelands-elves-exist-anthropologist-certain-creatures
  13. Christmas in July—Inside a Santa Summer Camp National Geographic By Mary Meehan July 26, 2016 EXCERPT: It’s the middle of summer and the 10-story atrium at the Chateau on the Lake hotel is filled with Santas. They are slow-moving spots of cotton-topped crimson along the railings of the upper floors. They crowd the glass-walled elevators, rising and falling in rushes of red, white, and green. They are at the bar, by the pool, and in long lines for the buffet. A few are planning to meet later for milk and cookies near the spa. Outside, in 90-degree temperatures, Santas compete in tug-of-war and footraces. At night, they dance in their Santa casual cocktail outfits on a twilight steamboat cruise. And everywhere, there’s the sound of jingles. Not short, hard rings that might signal a passing sleigh, but the slow, rolling sound of bells on the shoes of old men walking carefully and heavily. Being Santa is not a young man’s game. The average age of a Mr. Claus at Discover Santa 2016 is 62.5. Billed as the World’s Largest Santa Convention, the five-day celebration and trade show has drawn 750 Santa Claus impersonators from all over the United States to Branson, Missouri, a town in the Ozark Mountains that’s essentially like Las Vegas but with country music in place of gambling. Here, between the stifling humidity of southern Missouri and the air-conditioning of hotels, the Santas meet with vendors to talk about makeup, beard care, marketing, websites, and North Pole workshop sets—anything that can make them the best Santas possible. Because the life of a professional Santa isn’t easy … and it doesn’t come cheap. The professional Santa industry is growing to outfit a larger, more organized community of aging baby boomers who are linked by the Internet and tasked with delivering increasingly cutting-edge performances. At Discover Santa, attendees are given an agenda book that reads like a Santa Sky Mall, packed with gear that includes the Santa Oath Belt Buckle, $55; a service that makes websites for practicing Santas, $369 and up; and Planet Santa Cooling Vests, $199 on sale. "Most of these guys are never going to get back what they spend," says Santa Mike Pulattie while watching a fashion show at the convention. A basic, quality Santa suit can run $600. Pulattie, a retired Texas high school coach who only does charity events, counts himself among those who won’t see a return on their yuletide investments. But he says there’s a magic moment when a kid looks at him and really sees the myth turned man, and that instant of innocence and awe is incentive enough for Pulattie to stick with the seasonal job. ... SOURCE: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/santa-claus-convention-branson-missouri-christmas-photos/
  14. BREAKING IBRBS NEWS Mrs. Claus invited to become members of the (IBRBS) International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas IBRBS President/CEO Santa Robert "Bob" Elkin announced today: "We expect to showcase this change in our membership status at the 10 year reunion of Discover Santa 2016 in Branson, Missouri, July 6th-10th, where approximately 1,000 Santas and Mrs. Clauses are expected to convene for the Kringle Family Reunion as they host the largest convention of Santa Clauses ever, anywhere in the world" "As the preeminent Santa organization in the world, with over 1,200 members, this is a major step forward to foster good will and support throughout the entire Christmas community" This change in membership status was overwhelming approved by the IBRBS members in a recent revision of the Bylaws vote to welcome Mrs. Claus and spouses of Santa members as full, voting members in the largest organization of Professional Santa Clauses in the world. PR 060116.pdf
  15. Santa Claus Land, the first theme park, opened 70 years ago It was Christmas every day at this Indiana amusement park, which opened in 1946. MeTV May 25, 2016 EXCERPT: In 1941, Louis Koch, a retired man living in Evansville, Indiana, took a road trip 50 miles east to the small town of Santa Claus. Having fathered nine children, Koch was disappointed to discover that the tiny enclave offered Santa Claus in name only. There was no Santa Claus, the man, to see there. What would kids think if they traveled there in hunt of the jolly fat man? Koch dreamt up a place where people could visit Santa Claus at any time of the year. Indiana only had one amusement park at the time, Indiana Beach, up the road a bit in Monticello. Thus, Santa Claus Land was born. The park opened its gates on August 3, 1946. It was the world's first amusement park to have an overriding theme. Visitors would not find roller coasters on day one. Instead, there was a House of Dolls, a choo choo, a restaurant and Santa Claus, of course. The first ride constructed was the Santa Claus Land Railroad, a one-eighth-scale train modeled after a Baltimore and Ohio locomotive. Eventually, a paddock for deer and peacocks, as well as a Jeep-go-round, were added. The House of Dolls was home to over 2,000 dolls, curated by Koch's sister, Helen Robb. (Take a look at the map below.) Admission was free until 1955. Over the years, the park added the Willie Bartley Water Ski Thrill Show, the Santa Claus Choir and more reindeer-themed rides Eventually, the park branched out to include other holidays — Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Since 1984, the amusement park has gone by the name of Holiday World. The train was eventually retired in 2012. SOURCE: http://metv.com/stories/santa-claus-land-the-first-theme-park-turns-70-this-summer
  16. Michael Rielly

    Cumberbatch to Voice the Grinch in Remake

    Cumberbatch to Voice the Grinch in Remake MyMerryChristmas.com April 14, 2016 EXCERPT: Famed British actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been tapped to voice the Grinch in an animated remake of Dr. Seuss’ classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, set to be released later next year. The last remake of the Grinch was met with mixed critical reviews and has failed to generate year-after-year loyalty viewing of the original made-for-television animated special. Producers of the new version hope to avoid disappointing fans. ““For me, in reading what Geisel wrote, I view it more from a character perspective. I think that the essence of this film is the notion of this cynicism comedically expressed in the Grinch and this absolute innocence represented in Cindy Lou, on a collision course with one another through the course of this movie.” producer Chris Meledandri said. “It’s the simple question of whether or not innocence can transform cynicism. The beauty of that simplicity for me is what’s at the heart of the movie. In the experience of the movie I love the sort of wicked comedic aspect of this character the Grinch and I think that what you’ll see is from the very, very early animation tests, very raw, you’ll see that there’s an undeniable appeal in the character in spite of that kind of wicked persona, and I find that very, very, appealing and attractive.” Like the 2000 remake directed by Ron Howard and featuring Jim Carrey, this new animated version will be a full length feature film. That has some skeptical, especially with Meledrandri saying things like “We look forward to a global Christmas celebration with a movie that is both modern and classic”, which is code for Hollywood’s watered-down emphasis on the moral of the story replaced with something else. Don’t forget, this is the same production company that brought about the heavy handed moralizing of Lorax, an off-putting production based on a Seuss tale that some feel ended up being more of a message vehicle for the Earth First crowd. Cumberbatch, however, is an inspired casting choice and should excel in the role. His voice is instantly recognizable to millions of fans who likely have never seen the 1966 original Grinch voiced by Boris Karloff. SOURCE: http://mymerrychristmas.com/cumberbatch-to-voice-the-grinch-in-remake/
  17. Southeast Texas 'Santa Claus' convicted of distributing child pornography ice.gov May 2, 2016 EXCERPT: A Corpus Christi man, who worked as a long-time Santa Claus during the Christmas holidays, pleaded guilty Monday to distributing child pornography. This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). "Removing sexual predators like Mr. Ramirez from our communities and bringing them to justice is a top priority for HSI,” said Sean McElroy, acting special agent in charge of HSI Houston. Reynaldo Ramirez, 38, was arrested on a criminal complaint Dec. 24, 2015. The May 2 court heard that the case began when a CCPD detective was able to successfully download various files containing child pornography from an Internet Protocol address that was associated with Ramirez. HSI was contacted to assist in this investigation. In December 2015, authorities executed a search warrant at Ramirez’s residence, where several digital devices were seized. While conducting the search, authorities located a Santa Claus costume in Ramirez’s residence. When questioned about the outfit, Ramirez stated he had performed as Santa Claus for the past 15 years throughout the South Texas area. Ramirez admitted that he had been viewing child pornography for about six years. He told authorities he had downloaded more than 1,000 images of child pornography ranging in ages from toddlers to pre-teens. Ramirez also admitted to sexually assaulting a 4-year-old child. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos accepted Ramirez’s guilty plea and set his sentencing for Aug. 10. At that time, Ramirez faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years in federal prison, and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. After he completes any prison term imposed, Ramirez also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which time the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit him using the Internet. Ramirez has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending his sentencing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case. This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued. SOURCE: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/southeast-texas-santa-claus-convicted-distributing-child-pornography
  18. Emma Thompson attacks young actors who 'can’t act' and only get cast due to social media following The Telegraph 6 May 2016 EXCERPT: Actress Emma Thompson has said she thinks the trend of movie studios hiring young stars because of their social media following is a "disaster". She was speaking after greeting the Prince of Wales at a royal reception for British Academy Award winners. The event, hosted by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at St James's Palace, saw Thompson sing: "It's you! You look gorgeous." She said that one of the things that "really worries" her about social media is "we're casting actors who have big followings so the studios can use their followings to sell their movie". She added: "The actors are becoming attached in the sort of business way to their social media profiles, and I think that's a disaster." The 57-year-old actress has picked up two Oscars - a best actress gong for Howards End and best adapted screenplay for Sense And Sensibility. Meanwhile, Dame Judi expressed concern about the lack of funds available to train young actors. She said: "I think it's worrying that training is so expensive. I must have, I don't know how many letters a week from young actors wanting to get to drama school and not having the money to get them through." Despite seven nominations, Dame Judi has only won one Academy Award - she was named best supporting actress for her eight-minute role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love. She said she thought the event was "wonderful", adding that when she won her Oscar she did not have the chance to meet the other winners in the same year. Asked about the secret to her success and that of other British talent, she joked: "It's called good luck. "We have good training and we've got incredible young people who are trained in everything, they can dance and sing and act on the stage." Sir Michael also raised concerns about the generation of young actors coming through the ranks. He said: "These days they just say I'm going to be an actor because I want to be rich and famous. And then they do a little part on television and everyone knows who they are. They can't really act. "I knew I wasn't going to be rich, I knew I wasn't going to be famous, I knew I wasn't going to be a movie star, I just wanted to be a good actor, that's all." SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/05/emma-thompson-attacks-young-actors-who-cant-act-and-only-get-cas/
  19. The Five Greatest Moms of Christmas Movie History My Merry Christmas May 2, 2016 EXCERPT: Our countdown to Christmas reaches another milestone with the passage of Mother’s Day. The celebration of Mother’s Day cannot bypass the great Moms of Christmas, can it? They seem to be central to every story – whether in good or bad ways. But who are the best? After extensive review and exhaustive polling, here are the greatest Moms of Christmas movies: Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street She’s stylish, she’s modern, she’s hip, responsible and sensible. She is also a woman of the 1940s in what was surely a groundbreaking role for the time. Doris Walker, the pragmatic but stung-by-love Mom of Miracle on 34th Street, is played by Maureen O’Hara. Doris lives in a NYC apartment with her little girl, Susan, and works by day as a manager for Macy’s, where the story of Miracle takes place. Spurned by Susan’s father – whose complete story we never learn – Doris has to balance her role as mother while tempering her bitterness over her situation. She is determined not to let her daughter grow up in a world of fantasy where women dream of becoming princesses and men are their knights in shiny armor. Fortunately for us, we get to see all sides of Doris’ world especially when she falls in love again and comes to love a figure she cannot possibly believe is real: Santa Claus. Mrs. Cratchit in A Muppet Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol is not filled with a lot of warm fuzzies from a motherly character. In fact, there are few precious moments where a mother role is even included in the story. The Muppets changed that in their unlikely version of the Dickens classic. Miss Piggy plays Mrs. Bob Cratchit…and herself. She is at once the Victorian English mother and the take-no-prisoners Miss Piggy all at the same time. While the Muppets do a great job managing the dark elements of A Christmas Carol the role of Miss Piggy isn’t one of them. Miss Piggy is as she always is – impulsive, reactive and, in a word, human. I’ve often wondered what Charles Dickens would think of the Muppet’s version of A Christmas Carol. If he is anything like the rest of us, he would be charmed and entertained. Mary Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life Mary Bailey gets a long look from us as the story of It’s a Wonderful Life unfolds. She is seen as a little girl, as a teen, as a bride and ultimately as a wife and mother. She is the perfect match for George. She radiates hope while she cheerfully douses his wanderlust. Mrs. George Bailey is no trophy wife though, and for the role of mother she seems ideally suited. We only see Mary in this role for bits and pieces towards the end of the film. But she’s the one who makes the miracle happen. Mom in A Christmas Story Melinda Dillon plays Ralphie’s mother in A Christmas Story and she may be the most relatable character in the entire film. Whose mother didn’t try the soap when none of her kids were looking? From “You’ll shoot your eye out!” to “Oh, Ralphie” we’ve all heard those tones and remember those little nuances that make Mom memorable – and funny. Of course, the lamp controversy is not without note. We all know she did it. Heck, if they were being realistic they would have shown her throwing it into the street. It would not have been out of character. Marmee in Little Women If ever there was a picture of perfection in motherhood it comes in the character of Marmee, the name the girls of Little Women call their mother, Mrs. March. She’s principled, disciplined, refined and nurturing. Some are inclined to say this isn’t a Christmas movie and that’s a point well taken. But Christmas is a serious backdrop to this tale and Marmee is the heartbeat of Little Women. She would never fit in a Dickens tale, though the story is set nearly at the same time frame. Marmee is something of a maverick for a 19th century woman. She doesn’t believe her daughters should marry for money, even though the family is poor. She believes the migrant family in need that she somehow finds time to tend to has as much to contribute to the world as anyone else. And she values education for her girls and demands they accept no excuses for their condition. She is not only a mother of girls – she is a model for women in a timeless sense. SOURCE: http://mymerrychristmas.com/the-five-greatest-moms-of-christmas-movie-history/
  20. Michael Rielly

    ClausNet Gazette - May 2016

    The May 2016 issue of the ClausNet Gazette is now online! view online
  21. Zap! Pow! Yikes! City Council Corrals Costumed Characters NYC Community Media By Jackson Chen April 27, 2016 EXCERPT: The City Council has voted to give the Department of Transportation (DOT) authority over the many pedestrian plazas that have popped up in recent years, leading the costumed characters of Times Square, who worry about the new law’s impact on their activities, to look to legal action to protect their civil rights and livelihoods. And at least one prominent faux superhero has vowed defiance. On April 7, 42 of the Council’s 51 members voted to approve the pedestrian plaza bill introduced by Corey Johnson and Dan Garodnick, whose districts converge in Times Square. “We need to bring some order out of the chaos in Times Square,” Garodnick said. “The costumed characters have become a black eye for New York City, and we need to crack down on the bad actors who ruin the edgy and exciting vibe that makes Times Square unique. Following the council vote, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the pedestrian plaza bill into law on April 21. “Our pedestrian plazas are popular among tourists and New Yorkers alike,” de Blasio said. “They attract business for the surrounding establishments and create a safe space where people don’t have to worry about oncoming traffic.” The new law grants the DOT power to create regulations for the city’s 53 pedestrian plazas, including the heavily trafficked Times Square. A draw for locals, tourists, and costumed characters, the area will now include three kinds of zones to regulate conduct and traffic flow through the Crossroads of the World, the DOT said. In their presentation before the Council’s Transportation Committee on March 30, department officials outlined a draft proposal that created pedestrian flow zones where foot traffic could pass through unimpeded, general use areas for events and sightseers, and “designated activity zones” where all commercial activities — including the photo-taking that costumed characters conduct with tourists in exchange for tips — would take place. “We are putting into place, what we believe are constitutional safeguards to ensure that commercial activity can take place and pedestrians and tourists can move freely on these plazas,” Johnson said. Not all councilmembers were pleased with the proposal, as five of those on hand formally abstained and one voted against the bill. Brooklyn Councilmember Robert Cornegy, the naysayer, argued that the costumed characters help make for a more vibrant New York City. Critical of previous attempts to regulate costumed characters, Cornegy said this time around he is still “not convinced it will do no harm.” He added, “I feel strongly that we should not regulate or police any New Yorkers out of harmless activity that they rely on to keep money in their pockets and put food on the table. Don’t knock the hustle.” But facing an overwhelming majority in favor of the new regulation, the Spider-Man of Broadway and W. 45th St. vehemently voiced his opposition and his determination to carry out civil disobedience. “I’m not going to follow these rules, to be in the box,” said Abdelamine El-Khezzani, Spidey’s alter ego. “It gives me limitations to move around. What if I just want to walk around in my costume? El-Khezzani said being corralled into the designated commercial zones would cut into his livelihood because he often approaches tourists. If contained in a zone, he said, many of the costumed characters and ticket sellers would be ignored. The inevitable result, he predicted, would be more hostility and tension in the area. “They want to shove us like a box of oranges, like sardines,” El-Khezzani said. “They just want us to starve that way.” Robert Burck, whose professional outfit is quite nearly his birthday suit, was equally concerned about the type of environment the zones would create. “If you had 30 people in the box, it’d be like piranhas,” said Burck, better known as the Naked Cowboy. Despite some hesitation, Burck said he plans to cooperate with the DOT’s regulations. But, the costumed characters fuming about the vote have their eyes set on legal action against the Council. “I’m prepared to sue the city… other characters with me are ready to sue the city,” said El-Khezzani. “They can pass this law if they want. I’ll be the first one to get arrested… I’m going to fight until the last minute.” SOURCE: http://chelseanow.com/2016/04/zap-pow-yikes-city-council-corrals-costumed-characters/
  22. Michael Rielly

    Exploring the significance of Santa Claus

    Exploring the significance of Santa Claus The Daily News April 28, 2016 EXCERPT: Over the past 50 years or so, commercial interests have, to a considerable extent, hijacked Santa Claus in the interest of selling “things.” Prior to the ‘40s and ‘50s, Santa Claus, aka “St. Nicholas,” remained more spiritually significant. One of the more memorable and instructive images of legendary Albion native Charles W. Howard shows him — as Santa — kneeling beside a cross. Though Mr. Howard tried his hand at toy-making, the image suggests that Charles Howard may have viewed Santa Claus much differently than he is often thought of now. Before he was used to promote Coca Cola and Mercedes Benz, Santa Claus was more often viewed as representative of a much more altruistic message and a force for good. It was clear during last year’s Santa Convention in Albion that it was not primarily an interest in selling tin soldiers, Lincoln Logs, and video games that captured the imagination of Mr. Howard and the hundreds of Santas who revere him. Rather, it is that Santa Claus embodies, in terms understandable to a 3-year-old, principles with religious significance. Santa Claus and Christmas are inseparable. In one of the best known Christmas songs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the assertion is that, “He sees you when you’re sleeping; He knows when you’re awake; He knows if you’ve been bad, or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!” The “He” seems to refer to Santa Claus. But isn’t the concept of Santa Claus as ever-present, all-knowing and just curiously familiar to those for whom God represents the same qualities? St. Nicholas was a Christian Saint. For those being introduced to Christianity as children, hasn’t it always been useful to introduce the idea that virtuous conduct is rewarded? As children, one of the first Christmas messages we received is that an omniscient One knows what we are doing whether any mortal sees us or not. One of the things that are likely developed through our early experiences with Christmas — and Santa — is a conscience. As children, we learn that it may be useful to behave in order to avoid displeasing Santa. Hopefully, the concept evolves as we mature. Note that the lyrics from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” cited above, end with “...for goodness’ sake,” rather than, “...so you get some toys.” The song title is, of course, misleading in one important way. It states, “Santa Claus is coming to town,” when in truth it implies he is always “in town” making note of how deserving we are. On the 50th anniversary of his passing, it might be well to reflect that Charles Howard — and Santa Claus — were traditionally less about selling “things” and more about selling virtue SOURCE: http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/bdn06/exploring-the-significance-of-santa-claus-20160428
  23. Ronald McDonald Is So Busy, But Just How Does He Do It? As Chain Beefs Up His Role, The Mascot Is Keeping Mum The Wall Street Journal By Shirley Leung and Suzanne Vranica May 29, 2003 11:26 a.m. ET EXCERPT: When it comes to Ronald McDonald, McDonald's doesn't clown around. It won't even admit that there is more than one Ronald. For four months now, McDonald's Corp. executives have been meeting at headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., trying to decide just how to script a Ronald revival. The Golden Arches is mostly mum on the matter, saying only that the 40-year-old character will start showing up more -- and in unexpected places. Maybe he'll even perform his new dance "Do the Ronald." The careful choreography of this clown's every step shows the McDonald's machine in high gear. No detail is too small. In 1999, McDonald's ad agency Leo Burnett hired a Los Angeles stylist to refashion Ronald's wavy red hair, and it spent months studying whether to increase the width of the red stripes on his socks. So protective is McDonald's of the character's mystique that men who play Ronald are never to admit that they do. Ronalds in costume aren't to say who they are in civilian life. That rather annoyed Craig A. Oatten, a police chief in Michigan, when a Ronald, in full red-and-yellow regalia, got into a fender bender near Saginaw a few years ago. Asked several times, the Ronald steadfastly refused to give his name for the police report. "If we get someone who refuses to identify themselves, we'll take them to the local jail," says Chief Oatten. But, because there were no injuries involved, he says, he spared the clown a trip downtown. McDonald's keeps a roster of about 250 Ronalds world-wide, according to marketing experts familiar with the program, and franchisees, with some support from the company, pay for Ronalds as an advertising expense. Each major market in the U.S. has at least one Ronald, with large cities employing several. Ronalds often have schedulers, chauffeurs and bodyguards. Thanks to McDonald's franchisees, a Ronald in Nevada got a motor home so he could travel more easily. Bodyguards? "Kids would throw rocks from the parking lot. Sometimes you would get protesters," explains Jeff McMullen, a former Ronald, of Appleton, Wis. "Ronald can't handle that." Typically actors, or ex-Ringling Bros. clowns or teachers, Ronalds make about $40,000 a year on average. A Ronald busy handling 400 shows a year can make close to $100,000, while the highest-paying Ronald, who appears in national commercials, earns more than $300,000, according to former Ronalds. Asked about Ronald's salary, McDonald's ducks the question. "Ronald doesn't go out to work," says Amy Murray, a director in U.S. marketing. "He goes out to have fun." McDonald's trains and recruits many Ronalds through a Clayton, Calif., company, CW & Co. Productions. One of its methods is to place ads in clown magazines. One reads: "Clowns Wanted! We are looking for clowns to fit high profile, permanent positions. Must be willing to relocate." Many amateur clowns covet the gig. "To be a Ronald is a lifelong career," says Janet Tucker, past president of the World Clown Association. To preserve the illusion that there is only one Ronald, the chain forbids two Ronalds from ever appearing together except at a secret biennial convention McDonald's holds -- but won't talk about -- in which Ronalds brush up on their skills. ... Asked about that, Larry Light, McDonald's global chief marketing officer, stands pat. "There is only one," he says. After repeated grilling on the multi-Ronald question, McDonald's officials released a statement, attributable, they said, to Ronald: "If I told you all my secrets, they wouldn't be secrets anymore. Let's just say that between you, me and Santa, it's magic." In the beginning, Ronald was so tightly controlled that McDonald's wouldn't even let him take the costume home with him. He had to change clothes at an advertising agency. When McDonald's first introduced Ronald in 1963, he visited many restaurants. Now he may appear at a restaurant twice a year and spend the rest of the time on the road visiting schools, hospitals and nursing homes. He's often booked a year in advance. Franchisee Luther Mack, who owns 10 restaurants in Nevada, says he routinely uses Ronald more than his allotment and pays out-of-pocket ($400 to $600 for each appearance) to get more face time. But not too much. "We make sure he's not overused," says Mr. Mack, a 30-year franchisee. Ronald McDonald was the brain-clown of two people: Washington advertising executive Barry Klein and renowned Ringling Bros. clown Michael "Coco" Polakovs. At the time, Mr. Klein's clients included a McDonald's franchisee and a local "Bozo the Clown" television show. Mr. Klein persuaded the franchisee to run commercials on the Bozo show to reach out to children. After the kiddie show was canceled in 1963, Mr. Klein regrouped with Bozo, then played by Willard Scott, who gave the McDonald's clown his name: Ronald McDonald. Mr. Scott, the longtime weatherman for NBC's "Today" show, donned the first Ronald get-up that year, using a paper cup as a nose and a cardboard tray as a hat. When McDonald's executives wanted to launch Ronald nationally in commercials, they hired Mr. Polakovs to give Ronald a makeover. He designed the white-face clown features and, to represent the Golden Arches, chose a canary-yellow jumpsuit. The red shoes and striped socks reflected the colors of the restaurant. And that fire-engine-red hair? "It was a ladies wig, actually," recalls the 80-year-old Mr. Polakovs, who pulled it off a mannequin in a women's clothing store. When McDonald's decided to make Ronald a national figure in 1966, the company dumped Mr. Scott, fearing it would be hard to find people in each market with Mr. Scott's big build, recalls Mr. Klein. "That was a heartbreaker," says NBC's Mr. Scott. "I was too fat." To mass-produce Ronald like its burgers and fries, McDonald's created a guide in 1972 called "Ronald and How." The book, by longtime McDonald's hands Roy Bergold and Aye Jaye, details everything from how to apply makeup to how to behave around children. According to someone close to the company, the book advises Ronalds "never to initiate a hug" with a child. Instead, Ronalds are to turn slightly to the left and pat the child on the back. Ronald trainers enforce the rules. At the Ronald conventions, sometimes held in Oak Brook, they inspect Ronalds, say people who have been in attendance. "You had to pass, and, if you didn't, you would go home without a job," says Earl Chaney of Las Vegas, who played the clown for 20 years. Some simply got Ronald probation. McDonald's conducts extensive background checks on Ronald candidates, but that hasn't always prevented mishaps. One former Ronald is a vegetarian who has since joined forces with animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to chide the chain. "I feel badly about what I've done with young people," says Geoffrey Giuliano, who played Ronald in Canada in the early 1980s. "I was the happy face on something that was horrendous." Joe Maggard, another former Ronald, pleaded guilty in 1998 to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon in New Hanover County, N.C., and the next year was convicted in county court of making harassing phone calls posing as a Ronald. The judge ordered him to take anger-management classes. "I'm one of the bad-boy Ronalds," says Mr. Maggard, an actor who portrayed Ronald in the mid-'90s. "Am I a bad guy? No, I'm not a bad guy. Did Ronald get in a little trouble down there? Yes." SOURCE: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB105417428331974100
  24. Michael Rielly

    ClausNet Gazette - April 2016

    The April 2016 issue of the ClausNet Gazette is now online! view online
  25. Michael Rielly

    All the Coolest Stuff From Toy Fair 2016

    All the Coolest Stuff From Toy Fair 2016 Toyland.Gizmodo.com Andrew Liszewski 2/16/16 If January’s CES is the main course when it comes to trade shows, February’s New York Toy Fair is the dessert you can’t wait to dig into afterwards. The world’s biggest toymakers converge on the Big Apple to reveal everything that kids—and collectors—will be dying to buy for the rest of the year. This year we layered up to face a sub-zero New York City and meticulously combed the halls of Toy Fair 2016 to track down the standout playthings. Here’s the best of what we found. Spin Master BB-8 Not since R2-D2 has a Star Wars character spawned as many tie-in products as The Force Awakens’ BB-8. But there’s still room in our hearts—and on our shelves—for another BB-8 toy, especially since Spin Master’s near life-size replica talks, rolls, follows, blinks, understands voice commands, and even comes when it’s called. At just $180 it’s priced similar to other BB-8 toys that have already sold millions. ... Simon Air Go dig up your parent’s or grandparent’s original Simon toy and you’ll probably find its four colored pads covered in years worth of grimy fingerprints. Gross. That will never happen with the latest version of the memory-testing game, Simon Air, because motion sensors mean players never actually have to touch it while recreating complex patterns. Simon Air also introduces new actions and gameplay challenges, so there’s good reason to upgrade. Hasbro’s Role Play Accessories The amount of time and materials needed to make your own half-decent looking superhero costume is staggering. And that’s time that could be better spent impressing other geeks at comic conventions. At just $100 each, Hasbro’s new role play accessories are money well spent. Let’s be honest here, they’ll certainly look a lot better than your Bondo, duct tape, and Testors paint hack job. SOURCE: http://toyland.gizmodo.com/all-the-coolest-stuff-from-toy-fair-2016-1759253744
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