Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Toons in Toyland

Did your parents buy you stuff featuring your favourite animated cartoon characters? Considering how huge the cartoon merchandising business is, the answer must surely be “yes.” And as we’ve shown in a number of posts over the years, there was no end of stuff pumped out under license by Hanna-Barbera—games, toys, comics, colouring books, records, and more.

No one’s really documented all this cartoon merchandise and collated it into one place—until now. Tim Hollis is out with a book called Toons In Toyland, published by University Press of Mississippi. I’m amazed at the sheer amount of research that had to go into writing it, and bowled over by the number of delightful photos of toys, records, and so on. There’s at least one picture on almost every page. You’ll see stuff that if you didn’t have it as a kid, you may want it now. The book is worth it just for the pictures alone.

The Hanna-Barbera studio got started in 1957 with financial help of the family that owned Columbia Pictures. As a result, Columbia/Screen Gems had all kinds of marketing rights to the first Hanna-Barbera characters, all managed out of New York City by a chap named “Honest” Ed Justin. Tim will tell you a bit about him. You’ll learn about the start of the Jellystone theme parks (with exclusive pictures), Yogi Bear Honey Fried Chicken restaurants, and how H-B characters came to be in comic books, on records, and in vitamin bottles.

And, no, the book doesn’t focus only on Hanna-Barbera. You can see and read about putting the Peanuts gang, Popeye, Bullwinkle, Woody Woodpecker, Mr. Magoo and many others in the merchandising game. The book is worth your while if you want to know more about a lucrative sidelight of your favourite animated characters. There’s even a picture of little old Yowp (okay, it’s small, and I’m with other characters, but it’s still something).

Go to the University Press of Mississippi’s web site to read more about it. Here’s a link to Amazon (no, I do not get paid for this).

P.S.: After writing this short post, I noticed Tim has pointed to this blog in his bibliography. Thanks, Tim.


  1. Thanks Yowp, This book will be added to my collection, soon. Love just about everything Tim does.

  2. This is a fantastic book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

  3. Agreed, Errol! I have his Disney Records book Mouse Tracks!@SC