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|Toylines (chronological order)|
|1993||Amazon & Jungle Predators|
|1993||Clash Beast (?)|
|1994||Godzilla - King of the Monsters|
|1994||Shogun Cyber Warriors|
|1995||I Dream of Jeannie|
|1995||Tarzan: The Epic Adventures|
|1996||Godzilla Wars |
|1996||Gumby & Friends|
|1997||Godzilla Doom Island|
|1997||Super Space Gun|
|1998||Godzilla  (US Movie)|
|1998||Lost in Space (Classic)|
|1998||Lost in Space (The Movie)|
|1998||War Planets: Shadow Raiders|
|1999||Iron Giant, The|
|2000||C Pets (Robotic Animals)|
|2001||Talking Robot Alarm Clocks|
|2002||Powerpuff Girls, The|
Trendmasters Inc. is a vertically integrated, privately held toy boutique that creates, designs, manufactures and sells its products. The company is headquartered in St. Louis, has a showroom in New York City, and full production facilities in Hong Kong.
Trendmasters boasts exceptional boys' action figures and dramatically detailed girls' toys. Also featured are interactive plush toys, crafts and accessories as well as a wide range of seasonal home décor items.
Trendmasters has major licensing agreements with prominent licensors that represent high-profile properties such as Lost in Space, Godzilla, Dogz and Catz, ID4: Independence Day, Extreme Ghostbusters and Casper.
In December of 2002, Trendmasters sold its assets and products to Malibu, Calif.-based JAKKS Pacific Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
|□||Trendmasters acquires Innovative Time Corp - Jan 1999
The rapidly expanding toy company, known for creating licensing deals with movies such as "Godzilla" and "Independence Day," last month purchased Innovative Time Corp. of Carlsbad, Calif.
Innovative Time makes talking watches, a field Trendmaster entered last year -- developing watches under its own brand and under license with a range of moviemakers. As part of the deal, Trendmasters will relocate Innovative Time's 35 employees to St. Louis and plans to add an estimated 150,000 square feet of warehouse space to store merchandise, company co-founder Russell Hornsby said.
"This will put us firmly in the watch business," said Hornsby, who founded Trendmasters in 1989 with partner Leo Hauser.
He declined to disclose the purchase price but estimated the watches and other digital products would add $100 million in revenue to Trendmasters in the next 18 months. Hornsby said the company was developing a schedule for the move.
Mickey Novak, Innovative Time's president and founder, declined to comment. Trendmasters said Novak and Nick Gikas, Innovative Time's senior vice president, would continue in their respective roles.
The Walt Disney Co. recently assigned the licensing rights for the movie "Toy Story II," which is in production, to Innovative Time.
Trendmasters' revenue has been growing at a 20 percent annual pace since its launch nine years ago. That would place 1998 revenue at roughly $150 million.
Trendmasters has 170 employees at its headquarters in downtown St. Louis and another 30 in Hong Kong, its port of entry to China, where it manufactures most of its toys, games and other electronic gizmos.
Last March, Trendmasters entered the watch business with a series of electronic talking products it markets under the brand "C-Watch." Each of the watches has a chip that makes the watch "talk." Each watch can hold up to 72 seconds of voices, in addition to spieling off the time, said Chris Mouser, Trendmasters' director of multimedia and interactive games. The watches sell for $20 to $30 each, with the branded versions generally fetching higher prices, according to the company.
The C-Watches ranked 10th among the top-selling toys promoted on TV in December, according to Toy Book magazine, which follows the toy industry. Trendmasters' own C-watch characters include "Hot Head," "Go Girl" and others, usually with voices familiar to the cartoon set -- such as Rob Paulsen from "Pinky and the Brain" and Nancy Cartwright from "The Simpsons."
"We can capture every single, magical moment you've ever heard from a movie or a television show and put it on a watch," Hornsby said.
Hornsby said the Trendmaster time pieces appeal largely to teen-agers. But he said growth of the watch market has been flat for several years.
Trendmasters is introducing seven of its own watch characters this month, as well as shipping another dozen licensed models built on themes from Comedy Central's "South Park" TV show and from movies such as "Lost in Space" and "Austin Powers."
Trendmasters also has licensed talking watches with "Winnie the Pooh" and "Bambi" characters.
|□||Trendmasters founded in late 80s by Russell Horns and Leo Hauser
Russell Horns, a former Mattel designer, and Leo Hauser came together a decade ago when both worked for a now-defunct St. Louis giftmaker. Hornsby was head of the creative group, Hauser in charge of sales. Both were making about $300,000 a year, yet unfulfilled. "We were just feeling hemmed in," Hornsby recalled. "There wasn't any voice in the company."
They started Trendmasters out of Hornsby's basement, hitting it big at first with Loony Heads -- faces that burped or screamed on command. They've also found success with a line of realistic-looking Halloween pumpkins, which have sold 4 million, and the Star Castle line for girls, with sales of more than 16 million toys.
Trendmasters now operates out of a nondescript, gray building in a rundown section of downtown. But inside is a hip, red-bricked office buzzing with mostly 20-something workers. The company does everything here except make the toys. In one room, a handful of video technicians put the finishing touches on TV commercials. In another, workers develop CD-ROM games. Designers and sculptors work over prototypes that won't be released until well into 1999. "We are a nonformula-based company," Hornsby said. "Our job is to give the kids magic."
|□||Trendmasters specializes in buying up rights to the "abused properties" of Hollywood - Feb 1998
Some smart maneuvering from Trendmasters' founders Leo Hauser and Russell Hornsby helped the 9-year-old toymaker win rights to "Godzilla" and "Lost in Space," which are due out this spring. When no one was thinking of "Godzilla" in the early 1990s, Trendmasters was awarded its licensing. Now, as the city-stomping beast comes to theaters nationwide in a $90 million special-effects thriller by Sony, toys by Trendmasters will hit store shelves. Same was true with "Lost in Space," a remake of the campy '60s television show. Among the toys linked to the movie will be the nearly human, bubble-headed, dryer-vent-armed robot, known from the frantic warnings to his young adventurer friend, "Danger, Will Robinson!"
"Part of being in the toy business is looking down the highway," said Hornsby. "We were in the right place at the right time." It's no accident. Since Hauser and Hornsby founded Trendmasters, the company has specialized in buying up rights to "the abused properties of Hollywood," Hornsby said. "Our job is to take them and dress them up and give them a beautiful face again."
Timing is everything for small toymakers like privately held Trendmasters, which had sales of $137 million in 1997. Industry giants like Mattel and Hasbro tend to get first dibs on the hot licenses. Trendmasters has scored by buying up properties others didn't want -- "Gumby," "Tarzan," "I Dream of Jeannie." Hauser and Hornsby took a chance on "Independence Day" at a time when the movie was considered a risk. It turned out to be a hit, and so were the toys.
The company will unveil its lineup of toys for "Godzilla" and "Lost in Space" at the American International Toy Fair in New York, which begins Monday. Among the toys will be action figures, fighter vehicles and robots. Despite lots of hype for the movies, industry observers warn that big-budget, high-expectation productions sometimes fail to live up to their image.
"If the movie bombs there's no way the toy can overcome that," Reysen said. But that doesn't discourage Hauser or Hornsby, a former Mattel designer. They are willing to experiment and look for licenses to movies that might flop.
|□||Trendmasters gets Cartoon Network license - July 1999
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has awarded Trendmasters, Inc., a toy designer and manufacturer, the master toy license for Cartoon Network's animated series including THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, DEXTER'S LABORATORY and COW & CHICKEN. In addition, Trendmasters has also secured the master toy rights for Cartoon Network's classic characters including Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Trendmasters, Inc. has the rights to produce toy related merchandise including toy figurines, play sets, detailed plush items, gift-boxed collectibles and crafts as well as a wide variety of toy fashion accessories including bags, purses, hairpieces, sunglasses and makeup with carrying cases. The deal also includes electronic items such as key rings and walkie-talkies. Founded in 1989 by Co-CEOs, J. Russell Hornsby and Leo J. Hauser, Trendmasters, Inc., major toy licensees, in addition to Cartoon Network, include Godzilla, Lost In Space, Austin Powers, Coca- Cola, M&M's, Teletubbies, South Park, Voltron, and Iron Giant.
official website for Trendmasters
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|The Action Figure Archive - Tuesday, July 16, 2019|