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Kenner’s place in the toy industry is rich with history, producing such classic toys as the Easy-Bake Oven, Spirograph, Star Wars Figures, GiJoe Figures, Play-Doh, and Nerf Guns just to name a few. Over the years from its conception in 1946 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by brothers Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner It would gained traction in 1958 developing toy commercials using puppet Mascots to sell toys. One such character the Kenner Goonie Bird Mascot was used in their company logo and TV ads. Legendary JIm Henson would even lend his talents producing a commercial creating a character called the Little Bird that would be the precursor to his creation of Sesame Street. The Little Bird would eventually be phased out in 1974.
The company was purchased by General Mills in 1967. In 1970, General Mills merged its Rainbow Crafts division into Kenner Products, bringing Play-Doh into the Kenner product line. In 1985, General Mills would spin-off both its Kenner and Parker Brothers toy divisions to form Kenner Parker Toys, Inc. The following year Kenner Parker sold off its Lionel Trains division.
Kenner Parker was acquired by Tonka in 1987. Under Tonka management, Kenner Products was reconstituted as a division. Tonka (including Kenner) was purchased by the toy company Hasbro in mid-1991. Hasbro closed the Cincinnati offices of Kenner in 2000, and Kenner's product lines were merged into Hasbro's.
Kenner will always hold a special place in my heart for introducing me and the world to the Star Wars figures based on the Movie in 1977’. But for all intents and purposes when referencing Kenner for this website we are talking mainly about the years 1995-99’ for the production of Star Wars, The Batman Animated, and Superman The Animated line of action figures. Founded in 1988 Montreal Quebec Canada under the toy company Charan. They produced games, toys and children's vehicles; dolls and stuffed toys for the most part of the 2000s. In 1998, it merged with Marvel Entertainment Group to form Marvel Enterprises, with Toy Biz becoming a subsidiary of the new company. The company began to use 'Marvel Toys' on some of its products in the mid-2000s, and gradually shifted away from the Toy Biz name. Marvel Toys struggled to remain stable throughout 2007 and Toy Biz took a controlling share to prevent bankruptcy. Marvel Entertainment Group proposed a merger with Toy Biz in 1997, and in June 1998, Toy Biz and Marvel Entertainment Group were merged to create Marvel Enterprises, to bring Marvel out of bankruptcy.
Toy Biz became a division of the new company. This company would stay afloat for the next several years powered by the popularity of figures based on WWE Wrestling, as well as Marvel Entertainment Animated shows such as X-Men and Spider-man. This would all change in 2005 with Marvel entering the cinematic world with the X-men and Spider-man. up until the acquisition by Hasbro in 2007 Toy Biz was on top of their game. Marvel Entertainment Group proposed a merger with Toy Biz in 1997, and in June 1998, Toy Biz and Marvel Entertainment Group were merged to create Marvel Enterprises, to bring Marvel out of bankruptcy. Toy Biz became a division of the new company.
Toy Biz was widely responsible for the beginning stages of my vast collection from the early 90’s right up to its end in 2007 they produced some great lines of action figures based on the Marvel Brand, Lord of The Rings, and Legendary Heroes that can be found in the pages of this site.