Fisher-Price(R) Little People(R) Brand Commemorates 50 Years of Play March 21 with Year-Long CelebrationMore Than 1.5 Billion Little People(R) Figures Inspire World of Discovery, Imagination
EAST AURORA, N.Y., Mar 19, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) — In 1959, Fisher-Price(R), the largest infant and preschool toy manufacturer and a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT), introduced the Safety School Bus and in turn gave birth to one of the longest running and most beloved iconic toy brands known today as the Little People(R) brand. Since then, more than one and a half billion Little People figures have delighted millions of children worldwide and have evolved from wooden figures into poseable figures that can sit, stand and even hold things in their hands. On the eve of the brand’s 50th birthday, officially marked on March 21, Fisher-Price is planning a year-long celebration including commemorative playsets, birthday parties, in-store demonstrations and even the first-ever traveling Little People(R) Live musical show.
"Parents and children alike have been playing with Little People toys for half a century," said Bruce Fox, Fisher-Price toy historian and author. "Toys with longevity that bridge the generational gap are rare these days. We’re very proud of the fact that the Little People brand has stood the test of time for 50 years and foresee that the brand will continue to inspire creative, imaginative play for generations to come."
It all began in 1950 when two of Herm Fisher’s key toy designers created the Looky Fire Truck, with three little round-headed wooden firemen permanently attached to the toy. Nine years later, the little wooden figures gained their independence with the introduction of the Safety School Bus; thus the Little People figures that we know and love today were born.
Throughout the past five decades, Little People figures have helped preschoolers discover a whole world of imagination and fun in a world that’s "just their size" – from timeless playsets like the farm, house and garage to DVDs, CDs, books, games and more!
In celebration of the 50th birthday of the Little People brand, Fisher-Price introduced special limited edition commemorative Little People playsets. The Little People 50th Birthday Play ‘n Go Farm and School were designed to reflect the classic look of the original farm and school introduced in 1968 and 1971, respectively. The playsets feature retro-styled Little People figures and nostalgic, collectible take-along tins.
This January, Fisher-Price and Somerset Entertainment Ltd. launched the limited-edition Little People(R) 50th Birthday album in celebration of the brand’s 50th birthday. This 2-CD set has quickly become the top selling Fisher-Price album, with its collection of the 50 best sing-along classics from the many albums developed for the Little People brand over the years.
To celebrate the iconic brand’s milestone birthday, Fisher-Price is planning the first-ever nationwide Little People Live Tour, presented by Fisher-Price and its friends at Toys"R"Us, debuting April 18 at the San Diego Zoo. The Little People Live Tour will feature Little People costumed characters performing a 40 minute show that engages children of all ages in solving a mystery before the birthday celebration can begin. In addition to live animals and an interactive performance that will get kids singing and dancing, little ones will also receive a very special birthday goody bag (while supplies last) that includes a Little People birthday themed activity booklet, commemorative DVD and a birthday crown. The fully orchestrated musical bed for the show was composed and arranged by on-staff audio engineers and musicians at Fisher-Price. In addition to the San Diego Zoo, the show will travel to national zoos across the country through June, including Zoo Atlanta, Brookfield Zoo, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Toledo Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo.
Below is the tour schedule:
Azul Hotels by Karisma – As part of the birthday fun, Azul Beach Hotel and Azul Sensatori Hotel, by Karisma, located in the Riviera Maya, Mexico, will host year-long, weekly birthday parties for little ones including pinatas, cake, birthday songs and games. Kids attending will receive a special Little People Birthday in a Box treat (with a cupcake, Fisher-Price Little People DVD, including five episodes plus three party songs, and a Little People activity booklet). www.azulhotel.com
Loews Hotels – Loews Hotels will celebrate the 50th birthday of the Little People brand with weekly birthday parties at all resort Kid’s Clubs this summer. The parties will include games, songs, arts and crafts and a special cupcake decorating project. Kids attending will receive a special Little People Birthday in a Box treat.
Participating resorts: Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Loews Don CeSar Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla., Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. __href="http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.loewshotels.com&esheet=5921354&lan=en_US&anchor=www.loewshotels.com&index=2">www.loewshotels.com
Royal Caribbean International – Starting in May, the Adventure Ocean youth staff onboard Royal Caribbean International will also be inviting children five and under to a Little People birthday playgroup. In addition to a full hour of games and activities, children will be treated to a traditional birthday celebration complete with a special Little People Birthday in a Box treat. Additionally, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the world’s most revolutionary cruise ship to join the fleet this November, will present the Little People Live show weekly in its Adventure Ocean Theater, located in the ship’s Youth Zone. www.royalcaribbean.com
On Saturday, March 21, 585 Toys"R"Us stores nationwide will help celebrate the anniversary of the Little People brand with birthday parties and product demonstrations. The birthday parties will include Story Time readings featuring Little People books, coloring and activities, plus goody bag giveaways that include a free Little People DVD. Little People product, including the Dance ‘n Twirl Palace(TM) and Spin ‘n Crash Raceway(TM) playsets, will also be demonstrated in-store. In addition, the Toys"R"Us Times Square location will feature appearances from Little People costumed characters with photo opportunities and complimentary photo frames for party guests.
For additional information about the 50th birthday celebration for the Little People brand, visit www.littlepeople.com/birthday.
Fisher-Price, Inc., a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT) located in East Aurora, N.Y., is the leading brand of infant and preschool toys in the world. The Company has a 78-year legacy of high quality toys that enhance early childhood development. Its often-emulated Play Laboratory was the first child research center of its kind in the toy industry, allowing researchers to observe the way children play and how play benefits their development. Some of the Company’s best-known "classic" brands include Little People(R), Power Wheels(R) and View-Master(R). Fisher-Price is also a leading developer of baby gear products (infant swings, bouncers, high chairs, nursery monitors), as well as a wide array of character-based toys inspired by high quality children’s programming such as Sesame Street(R), Dora the Explorer(TM) and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The Company’s web site, www.fisher-price.com, provides valuable information and resources to parents.
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