This is a sandbox page to help us figure out the complicated history of Sesame toy licensees.

All of the companies and subsidiaries listed on this page eventually merged into two companies -- Hasbro and Mattel.

Hasbro: owns Milton Bradley, Playskool, Amsco (as of 1984), and CBS Toys, Questor, Child Guidance, Gabriel, Ideal Toys (as of 1985). Some of the toys produced by CBS Toys/Child Guidance were re-released under the Playskool label.

Mattel: owns Fisher-Price (as of 1993), Tyco (as of 1997). (Illco was purchased by Tyco in 1992.) Some of the toy lines produced by Tyco are now under the Fisher-Price label (notably the Tickle Me Elmo line and the die-cast cars).

Timeline

1971

  • Topper Corp. contracts with CTW under the subsidiary Educational Toys, Inc.[1] Products include: Hand puppets, finger puppets, Walking Letters, Spell-a-Phone. Topper had trouble keeping up with the demand; Walking Letter sets were delayed until December.[2]

1972

  • Topper: Contract ends during the summer, possibly as the result of Topper's financial problems.[3] Topper's products are distributed for the second half of 1972 by Gabriel Toys.
  • Questor Education Products Company contracts with CTW to produce Electric Company products.

1973

  • Colorforms contracts with CTW.[4]
  • Milton Bradley contracts with CTW, under the Playskool division.[6] The first toys produced were twelve tray puzzles.[7]
  • Questor contracts with CTW to produce Sesame toys, under a newly-created subsidiary, Child Horizons, Inc.[8] Questor produces the toys under the Child Guidance label.[9] Questor continues Topper's line of finger puppets, adding three more characters. Questor also produces Sesame hand puppets, giant floor puzzles, and a Marble Computer.

1974

  • Questor/Child Guidance: Stacking toys.

1975

  • Colorforms: New sets.
  • Fisher-Price: Play Family Sesame Street.
  • Knickerbocker Toy Company contracts with CTW.[10] First products: Rag dolls, Soft car toy, plush dolls.
  • Milton Bradley: Puzzles and blocks (as Playskool), playhouses (as Amsco), four Lotto games under their own name.
  • Questor/Child Guidance: Magnetic chalk board, more stacking toys, Muppet Miniatures.

1976

  • Concept 2000 contracts with CTW. Cookie Monster's Electronic Blackboard, five character radios, Sesame St phonograph.
  • Fisher-Price: More Play Family characters.
  • Knickerbocker: Sesame Street Express Train, playsets, Big Bird's Mystery Bank, more plush dolls.
  • Milton Bradley: Two giant puzzles (as Playskool), eight box puzzles, Mystery Match-Up Game, Sesame Street Fair game.
  • Questor/Child Guidance: More hand puppets, Cookie Monster toy piano, Big Bird jack-in-the-box.

1977

  • Colorforms: More sets.
  • Concept 2000: Clock radios, tape recorders.
  • Fisher-Price: Play Family Clubhouse set, Oscar pull toy.
  • Knickerbocker: Bean bags, Cookie Monster telephone, talking Count, rag dolls, Cookie Monster clock and bank, Sesame Street Driving School.
  • Milton Bradley: American Brick Sesame Street (as Playskool), Big Bird's Nesticks.
  • Questor/Child Guidance: Ride-on toy, Big Bird hand puppet, dolls, Cookie Monster floor puzzle.

1978

  • Gabriel Toys acquires Questor/Child Guidance.[11] Is Gabriel already part of CBS Toys???

CBS Toys

CBS Toys had a number of subsidiaries -- Child Guidance, Gabriel, Gym Dandy, Wonder and Ideal.[12]

CBS Toys released a number of toys under the Child Guidance label from 1973 to 1983, swingsets under the Gabriel/Gym Dandy name from 1980 to 1984, and "soft radios" under the Ideal label in 1983.

In 1983, they produced toys under the CBS Toys name as well, starting with a Big Bird Xylophone, a Cookie Monster Puzzle Clock, and a Big Bird Bingo game.[13]

CBS Toys produced Sesame toys until at least 1984, including the 1-2-3 Sesame Street Playset formerly released under the Child Guidance label.[14]

Hasbro purchased CBS Toys/Child Guidance in 1985.

By 1986, CBS Toys products were being released under the Playskool label -- including the Cookie Monster Puzzle Clock and the 1-2-3 Sesame Street Playset.

Fisher-Price

Fisher-Price was founded as an independent company in 1930. The company was sold to the Quaker Oats Company in 1969.

CTW contracted with Fisher-Price in 1973. The first Sesame product was the Sesame Street Movie Viewer, which was released in fall 1974.[15]

Fisher-Price toys included Sesame Little People (1974-1977), Muppet dolls and beanbags (1977-1982), and Talk-To-Me Books (1978-1979).

Fisher-Price became independent again in 1991, and was then sold to Mattel in 1993.

Mattel bought Tyco in 1997, and made "Fisher-Price" the overall brand name for infant and preschool products.

As a division of Mattel, Fisher-Price now makes all of the Sesame and Elmo's World toys.

Gabriel Toys

Gabriel is part of CBS Toys as of 1982.

Gabriel was a subsidiary of CBS Toys, also known as "Gabriel Industries" and "Gym Dandy". Their first Sesame products were a "Gym-Dandy" (7-leg Sesame swing/slide/mini-whirl), and a playhouse.[16]

Gabriel produced Sesame products at least until 1984, when they released a Big Bird Flyer Gym and a Big Bird Swing Set.[17]

Hasbro acquired CBS Toys in 1985.

Hasbro

CTW first contracted with Hasbro in 1981; the first products were a set of six die-cast metal vehicles.[18]

Hasbro expanded the line in 1982, producing another set of die-cast vehicles, a Big Bird Talking Phone, Sesame Street Weebles, Big Bird's Sink, the Cookie Monster pull toy, and a Cookie Monster Shape Muncher.[19]

Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley/Playskool in 1984.

Hasbro acquired CBS Toys/Child Guidance in 1985.

Hasbro acquired Kenner and Parker Brothers in 1991.

Ideal

Ideal Toys was a division of CBS Toys.

In 1983, Ideal produced a "WKID Soft Radio", featuring Big Bird and Bert/Ernie.

Hasbro acquired CBS Toys/Ideal in 1985.

In (1985 or 1986), Ideal released a new line of Sesame toys, including Big Bird StoryMagic.[20]

Milton Bradley

Milton Bradley had three divisions -- Milton Bradley, Playskool and Amsco.

Playskool began producing Sesame products in 1973.[21] Amsco produced two cardboard Sesame playhouses in 1975.[22]

The first Sesame products with the Milton Bradley label were four Lotto games.[23]

Milton Bradley was bought by Hasbro in 1984, and is still retained as one of Hasbro's brands.

Milton Bradley continued to produce Sesame puzzles until at least 1995, and probably later. Recent games include Sesame Street Memory Game (1991) and Chutes and Ladders (2004).

Parker Brothers

Parker Brothers was founded in 1883. In the 1930s, successful games included Monopoly, Clue, Risk and Sorry!. The company was family-owned until 1968, when General Mills bought the company.

Also: Rainbow Crafts had the license for Play-Doh in the 1950s. In 1965, General Mills purchased Rainbow Crafts. When General Mills purchased Parker Brothers in 1968, Play-Doh became part of the Parker Brothers line.

1970s (as part of General Mills): Created Nerf balls. In the UK, Parker Brothers was the games division of Palitoy, which was also owned by General Mills.

In 1985, General Mills merged Parker Brothers with their subsidiary Kenner Toys; the merge was called Kenner Parker Toys. Kenner was acquired by Tonka in 1987.

Hasbro acquired Tonka / Parker Brothers / Play-Doh / Kenner in 1991.

Playskool

Playskool was a division of Milton Bradley.[24]

CTW contracted with Playskool in 1973. The first toys produced were twelve tray puzzles.[25]

Hasbro acquired Milton Bradley/Playskool in 1984.

Hasbro also acquired CBS Toys/Child Guidance in 1985.

By 1986, Playskool was listed as the manufacturer of toys previously produced by CBS Toys (Cookie Monster Puzzle Clock, 1-2-3 Sesame Street Playset) and by Child Guidance (Talk 'n Play).[26]

Questor

Questor Educational Products Company contracted with CTW in 1972 to produce Electric Company toys. Questor signed a new contract with CTW in 1973 to produce Sesame Street toys, under a newly-created subsidiary, Child Horizons, Inc.[27] Questor released the toys under the Child Guidance label. The first Child Guidance toys were Big Bird and Snuffy giant floor puzzles and a Marble Computer.[28]

Gabriel Toys acquired Questor in 1978, and continued releasing toys under the Child Guidance label.[29]

At some point, Child Guidance was part of CBS Toys.[30]

Toys were released under the Child Guidance label until at least 1983, when they made a Sesame Street firehouse playset.[31]

Hasbro acquired CBS Toys/Child Guidance in 1985.

By 1986, Playskool was listed as the manufacturer of toys previously produced by CBS Toys (Cookie Monster Puzzle Clock, 1-2-3 Sesame Street Playset) and by Child Guidance (Talk 'n Play).[32]

Tyco

Tyco acquired Illco in 1992, taking over the Sesame Street license.[33]

Tyco produced the Tickle Me Elmo doll in 1996, followed by Sing & Snore Ernie and Sesame Street Beans in 1997.

In 1997, Tyco was acquired by Mattel, who also owned Playskool. The "Tickle Me" line was moved to the Playskool label.

Some Sesame merchandise was still being produced under the Tyco label after this, including The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland talking plush and Magic Talking Kermit the Frog (1999).

Sources

  1. CTW Newsletter #19. October 15, 1971.
  2. CTW Newsletter #21. January 12, 1972.
  3. World's Greatest Sesame Street Finger Puppets, Playthings article.
  4. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  5. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  6. CTW Newsletter #35. July 18, 1975.
  7. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  8. CTW Newsletter #28. March 30, 1973.
  9. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  10. CTW Products Group newsletter. January 31, 1975.
  11. World's Greatest Sesame Street Finger Puppets.
  12. TheToyGuy.com
  13. CTW Products Group newsletter. January, 1983.
  14. CTW Products Group newsletter. January 25, 1984.
  15. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  16. CTW newsletter #46. February 1980.
  17. CTW Products Group newsletter. January 25, 1984.
  18. CTW Products Group newsletter. February 1, 1981.
  19. CTW Products Group newsletter. February, 1982.
  20. CTW Products Catalog, 1986.
  21. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  22. CTW Products Group newsletter. January 31, 1975.
  23. CTW Newsletter #35. July 18, 1975.
  24. CTW Newsletter #35. July 18, 1975.
  25. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  26. CTW Products catalog, 1986.
  27. CTW Newsletter #28. March 30, 1973.
  28. CTW Newsletter #29. May 18, 1973.
  29. World's Greatest Sesame Street Finger Puppets, history page.
  30. TheToyGuy.com
  31. CTW Products Group newsletter. January, 1983.
  32. CTW Products catalog, 1986.
  33. Tyco Toys: Answers.com.

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