marcrobots@gmail.com
Creative Design Services

Toys

TOYS

LUCASTOYS 1991 – 1993

LucasToys was Kendall Nishimine’s idea. He was a model maker at ILM. his idea was to use the great and powerful reputation of ILM to attract toy manufacturers in a shared venture with Lucas film whereby the toy manufacturer would advance money for toy inventions and then the toy manufacturer would manufacture the toys and LucasFilm would receive royalties after the toy company recouped it’s advance.

It was brilliant. Lucas film could enter the toy invention business with no financial risk and a huge potential for gain.

The toy company would be able to tap into the huge creative and technical
abilities that ILM was famous for delivering in movie after movie.

Kendall proposed this to Doug Norby who was then president of LucasFilm and Doug turned it over to Howard Roffman who was in charge of LucasFilm licensing.

Howard made Kendall jump through some hoops before he was convinced that Kendall was up for the management task. There were company meetings where the issues were discussed . I stood up and used the black stallion movie as an example of what Lucasfilm’s should do. .. They should let the kid ride the horse!

Kendall appreciated my support. Also I was one of the most versatile people in the model shop and we got along very well.

So they let the kid ride the horse but not without the addition of a seasoned manager from the toy industry who really understood the toy industry.

So tall Paul who had worked at Mattel toys for 12 years and was the marketing energy behind huge toy lines at Mattel was hired as a consultant . He and Kendall hired me as senior toy designer. Paul was almost 7 ft tall.

So called high tech Mr. potato head was the second concept I worked on. the first was a pregnancy doll. Kendall and Paul came up with those concepts.

The updated Mr. potato head would have head and facial features that were interchangeable like the original toy except that this one would have features that would move and it would talk. For instance you could put a mouth where an eye is an it would say, “Now I see what you are saying.”

The prototype facial features were big in order to make them moveable and interchangeable. Each feature was about the size of half a tennis ball. The whole assembly was when crated for transport the maximum size for a seat on the plane we took down to LA to present it to Mattel.

I set up the prototype and we waited for Jill Barad. She had made Barbie a line that was hugely successful. She came in with an aura of power I had never encountered before or since. She was as feminine as can be and as strong as can be at the same time. I found her to be extremely attractive and just as intimidating.

We did our presentation and she was very impressed saying it was wonderful.

It was a wild roller coaster business ride and a crash course in marketing, design, business , and sales that I would soak up in my many meetings with
powerful executives from all the major toy manufactures and LucasFilm as well including on a few occasions, George himself. Generally George liked what we had come up with but Mattel could not keep their eye on the ball so to speak with respect to our concept and designs which were to have the Lucas brand attached.

So George opted out when the contract expired in 1994.

Stupid Fun Club

Lucastoys

Ant Farm New Mr. Potato Head
Wall Racers Sponge Gun
Wallscape Water Bomb
Hugging Bear Crash And Splash
Tentacle Toy Suck Face
Inchie Disc Darts
Slats Dam Burst