The Licensing Blog

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

Not quite sure if this common truth extends to middle America, but here in New York the rent is too damn high and gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan possesses a certain part of the male anatomy to say so. McMillan, founder of The Rent Is 2 Damn High party (yes, the number two), has been making waves in the Empire State with his rants (akin to a mentally ill homeless man), muttonchops and skintight black gloves—Agent. Orange. Kills.

Now, the folks over at , a company specializing in custom and political action figures, have turned this crazed politician into a talking doll. For $49.99 people who collect kitschy things like this can display the pop culture hero on their mantel, coffee table or wherever else someone would put a kitschy thing like this. Spouting the famous phrase, “The rent is too damn high,” the doll is sure to be a conversation starter for those in the McMillan camp as well as his detractors. With a talking doll now under his belt and Saturday Night Live showing him the love, maybe McMillan has a fighting chance to win that coveted position in Albany.

Sex, Vomit and Other Halloween-Related Topics

Editor in Chief Bryan Joiner and I have continued our quest to bring you anything and everything related to Halloween. On our latest outing, we stopped at Ricky’s NYC (375 Broadway, New York; 212-925-5490) and Abracadabra (19 W. 21st St.; 212-627-7523).

If you want to be a sexy schoolgirl, sexy pirate, sexy monster—basically anything sexy, head to Ricky’s. I found a great pair of Wizard of Oz ruby red slippers, otherwise known as garish glittery red stripper platform pumps, which would be perfect for anyone’s raunchy Dorothy getup.

Also good to know: The two-floor store is open all year and could easily double as your local drugstore if you’re lazy or live in the area—a few Duane Reade-style aisles are stocked with shampoo and the like.

We. Loved. Abracadabra. This place simply rocks. Even if you are one of those people who, dare I say, hate Halloween you will still be amused by this quirky shop. From the get-go we were met by a fabulous life-size ghoulish mannequin vomiting in a bucket. Okay, we’re juvenile but don’t judge, we giggle at that sort of thing. The meat case full of body parts, also near the front of the store, was a nice touch.

If you want a realistic mask, life-size prop or glock, check out Abracadabra. Ok, let me explain the last part: The store also doubles as a place to buy movie props (you need to have credentials to rent any of the realistic weapons).

FYI: You can get costumes, but this isn’t necessarily the place to browse through aisles of sealed packages—the costumes are kept on hangers behind a counter and you should ask an employee for assistance.

Really, if nothing else, go for the vomit. We loved the vomit.

-Mackenzie Allison

Hitting “The Town” On Halloween

To prepare for this year’s edition of The Halloween Insider (send us your product info!), Associate Editor Mackenzie Allison and I trekked out to the Queens headquarters of Rubie’s Costume Co., in Richmond Hill. It wasn’t the first time I’d been there, but it was the first time in seven years, and my first since The Halloween Insider was founded.

The storefront takes up two levels on the train next Jamaica Avenue and is filled with vibrant and popular costumes. Once you enter, the costumes are all behind the counter and hanging above you, with dozens of people ready to help you. There are catalogs on each counter with a different set of getups: there are hundreds upon hundreds of costumes to choose from. The most expensive of these are the Halo and Storm Trooper full-body armor costumes, which run around $800. I asked a salesperson if he sold any of these and he said he had, to people trying to win a radio contest.

I then asked what the most popular costumes of the season were. The first, he said, was Avatar. No surprise there. The second was the surprise, and a tribute to the ingenuity that Halloween brings out. He said people wanted to dress like the bank robbers in The Town (above), with the nun outfits and masks, presumably because they saw it on the poster. Rubie’s didn’t have the masks, but they had the nun outfits, which had been flying off the shelves as people went elsewhere in search of the masks. Interesting stuff.

This isn’t the end of  TLB’s Halloween store-visit adventure. Let us know of any stores/sites to check out as we do research for this year’s Insider. Tough job, we know.

—Bryan Joiner

Warner Bros. announces Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows licensing program

Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has teamed up with global licensees to capture the magic of the feature film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 marks the first part in the final chapter of the film series, which has licensees worldwide gearing up to support the high-earning franchise.

In support of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, in theaters November 19, 2010, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, opening on July 15, 2011, an array of products will be available at retailers nationwide, including Hot Topic stores, as well as at

With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, LEGO will feature an array of LEGO Harry Potter construction sets from the world of Harry Potter, including Hogwarts castle, Freeing Dobby, Quidditch Match, Hagrid’s hut, The Burrow and Hogwarts Express.  Additional licensees include Mattel, with the Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set and Scene It? Harry Potter 2nd Edition DVD Game, as well as the Noble Collection, offering wands, chess sets and high-end sculpts.  Additional global licensees include: Tomy, Panini, DeAgostini, Hasbro, Rubie’s Costume Co., Artbox Entertainment, Gentle Giant, Giant Merchandising, Jibbitz, BioWorld Merchandising Inc., Hallmark, Andrews McMeel Publishing and Tonner Doll.  Additionally, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort offers a multiple Harry Potter-themed attractions, shops and a restaurant.

Rubie’s partners with WWE for costumes

Rubie’s Costume Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of Halloween costumes and accessories, has partnered with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to produce officially licensed Halloween costumes for children and adults.

These costumes are currently available at and at various retailers nationwide including Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Party City.  The costumes will feature WWE Superstars and Legends such as John Cena, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rowdy Roddy Piper.  Rubies has implemented muscle chest technology to create realistic costumes that fans of any age can enjoy wearing during the holiday.

“Rubie’s is excited to partner with WWE on this new line of Halloween costumes which utilize our patent technology. We are proud to offer authentic WWE Superstar costumes this season,” said Howard Beige, Executive Vice President of Rubie’s.

TKO appoints Stone America as licensing agent

Stone America Licensing announced today it has been appointed as the exclusive licensing agent by Technical Knockout Inc. known as TKO, a world leader in fitness, strength and boxing equipment.

“TKO is one of the most  authentic and genuine fitness/ boxing brand in America.  “With an iconic  name and universal brand recognition from product placement on many high  profile television shows, we are confident TKO will become a licensing success  across numerous categories,” said Rob Stone, president of Stone America  Licensing.

The TKO brand has been seen  nationally on television shows to include, but not limited to: Entourage, Friends, Scrubs, CSI: NY, Friday Night Lights, Parks and Recreation,  The Biggest Loser, Dexter, Two and a Half Men, and The OC.

Garry Kurtz,  President/CEO of Technical Knockout, Inc. commented, “Our partnership with  Stone America Licensing will allow us to extend our trusted brand into product  categories that will offer our customers additional opportunities to enjoy the  TKO experience. We look forward to growing and transforming TKO into a  lifestyle brand.”

Next Top Model Goes Global

America’s Next Top Model? How about the world?

Some of the beauty industry’s biggest names are lining up to bring Next Top Model to international retailers through a slate of new promotional agreements with CBS Consumer Products. Cover Girl, Nivea, Tresemme and Revlon are just a few who will walk down the runway with the brand in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom.  The campaigns will coincide with the broadcast windows of localized versions for the series.

Next Top Model is in fashion all across the globe and we are privileged to team up with these world class brands,” said Liz Kalodner, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Consumer Products. “These promotions augment licensed product in expanding our retail presence.”

CBS Consumer Products has lined up five licensees in the United Kingdom for promotional campaigns utilizing the Next Top Model brand including Revlon, Casio, Galaxy Ripple, and Isklar. The campaigns will comprise both in-store promotional materials and online support.

Eric Stoltz as the original Marty McFly (video)

Along the lines of “Will Smith originally cast as Neo in The Matrix,” but with video:

Michelle Obama Immortalized as Doll

People haven’t gotten it this bad for a First Lady since Jackie O. Although today doesn’t quite resemble the angelic times of Camelot, the people seem to have found their American princess yet again in the form of Michelle Obama. Some folks might have their beef with her hubby, but it seems the statuesque First Lady, with a penchant for pearls and pencil skirts, can do no wrong. The Franklin Mint, a company specializing in heirloom dolls, commemorative coins and the like, has taken it upon themselves to immortalize Mrs. Obama in the form of a doll. Inspiration for the figurine was taken from the First Lady’s official White House portrait. Clad in a black sheath dress and simple string of pearls, the limited-edition dolls are now on sale. A whole string of outfits from her visits to Mexico City and Buckingham Palace could soon follow.

Turn iPod Into External Storage Device? Say Wha?!?

In a relatively short time—well, nine years—but short for tech neophytes, aka me—iPhones, the iPod Touch and now iPads have come leaps and bounds. I remember getting my first iPod back in 2004, long before the click wheel and fancy color display. Although I have gone through a few iPods since then, I consider myself cool for still possessing my “vintage” second-generation device. Well, now, the iPod and its offspring are capable of yet another feat—acting as an external storage device. Mediafour Corporation has launched Ready, Aim, Drop! Not exactly a telling title, basically, the new thingamajig makes it easier to transfer files.

How it works: With Ready, Aim, Drop! installed on your Windows computer (it’s true, not everyone owns a Mac—ha, in your face Justin Long!!!), a “target” icon is created on the desktop, drag files onto the target icon and they are transferred. If multiple devices are attached, Ready, Aim, Drop! allows you to copy files to each specific device.

Ready, Aim, Drop! requires Windows 7, Vista or XP and is $9.99 for two licenses and $14.99 for five licenses

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