New Book Reveals Untold History of Iconic Toys and the City that Brought Them to Life
January 19, 2011

Toy Town Tells the Inside Story of Hong Kong’s Rise to Power asThe World’s Capital of Toy‐Making


New York – January 2011 – As the industry’s top toymakers get ready to present their newest creations at the highly‐anticipated International Toy Fair in New York City, a group of Hong Kong toy industry veterans are asking – can history repeat itself?

Reflecting on six decades of struggle and success, they are peeling back the curtain on one of the most fascinating stories in the history of toys – the rise of Hong Kong to an international toy‐making superpower, in conjunction with the US toy market and, now, the nostalgia of aging baby boomers who frequent web sites that auction classic toys.

With the foreword written by retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alan G. Hassenfeld of Hasbro Inc., and sponsored by the Toys Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, Toy Town: How a Hong Kong Industry Played a Global Game charts the 60‐year history of the toy industry in Hong Kong and southern China.  But this unusual industry biography goes much further, to tell previously untold anecdotes about iconic toys from trailblazers and insiders in the international toy industry. The outcome is a 312‐page book filled with humorous, sometimes sad and often touching stories. Many international experts give their views in the book on the future of toy manufacturing, including Toys “R” Us Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Storch. Angela Gardner, a prime contributor behind the Hong Kong toy industry’s book project, was born in Hong Kong when it was a British colony and learned the toy industry from her father Frank, a toy industry pioneer and the head of Plastic Manufacturing Corporation (PMC). Ms. Gardner was the first woman to sell toys on an international level, and founded her own toy manufacturing company in Hong Kong, Castlespring Enterprises LTD, servicing major US clients such as Hasbro, Lakeshore, Lansay France and Learning Resources to name a few.

While in the US she is helping to help launch Toy Town. According to Ms. Gardner, Hong Kong’s toy‐makers, with their international outlook and acquired ability in the 1950s and 60s to speak English, established a unique rapport with overseas buyers, especially in the US, which became the key factor in the industry’s success. “They were all entrepreneurs and risk‐takers together,” she added. “That’s still true today.”

Included in the book:

• How in the depths of the Cold War, a group of determined Chinese refugees turned the beleaguered British colony of Hong Kong into the world’s leading toy manufacturer

• How America’s “Toy King” Louis Marx discovered Hong Kong for toy manufacturing and how Mattel revolutionized the toy industry there with its state‐of‐the‐art production systems

• The inside Hong Kong story behind the production of mega hits such as the Barbie® doll, Matchbox cars®, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® and Cabbage Patch Kids®

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Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on,, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post,,,, Boing-Boing,, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




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