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What are you Watching?: The Things That Made Us…

With so much top quality “Toy-Centeric” programming out there I wanted to take a minute, go over a few options to make sure we are all on the same page, or app, or site, as it were…

I imagine most people who frequent this site are like myself, people who spend a lot of time looking at their toy collection. The Toy Store Guide office, if you can call it that, is more like a small room with a computer surrounded by Detolfs, Peghooks, and the new Ikea Detolf killer “The Rudsta”. I spend hours dusting, cleaning, reorganizing, and finding some small bit of room to jam in that day’s finds. People, non toy collectors, ask me about keeping the room clean and I let them know that I find it relaxing and somewhat fun to go through the collection and rearrange everything. 

To add to all the fun and excitement I found myself going to youtube and clicking on any video about action figures or toys. Slowly but surely I found and subscribed to a bunch of channels, some of them by youtubers who I met somewhere along the line but most were just youtubers with real high quality videos. 

During the stay-at-home because of Covid-19 I decided to complete a page one rewrite of my toy collection. Every rack was removed, every Detolf emptied and windexed, every figure dusted, area rug washed, computer cables tied… it was a week long undertaking but hey, there was nothing but time. 

It was during this week when I really took notice of all the Toy Shows I could watch, more importantly re-watch:

Best of my research would show that The Toy Hunter started the toy enthusiast television craze. It starred Jordan Hembrough who traveled around hunting cool toys and collectibles. It would make sense that the show aired on the Travel Channel. The three seasons, from 2012 to 2014, are currently available for purchase on Amazon Prime. Jordan also just happens to have a gallery toy store in Westwood, New Jersey called Hollywood Heroes.

After a few quiet years the big guns debuted. The Toys That Made Us hit hard on Netflix just before Christmas of 2017. It was like the Christmas miracle we were all promised so many times throughout 90’s sitcoms. The hour long documentaries each cover a specific toy line and the damn theme song is as catchy as any 80’s cartoon intro. 

Produced by the Nacelle Company which makes everything from History Channel docs to some of the best stand up comedy specials. There are currently 12 episodes over three seasons covering toy lines from He-Man and G.I. Joe to Barbie and Hello Kitty.

The founder of The Nacelle Company, Brian Volk-Weiss, is now a household name in the Toy Community and the Nostalgia Community as a whole. There are now documentary series about The Movies That Made Us, The Holiday Movies That Made Us, as well as video game box art, the art and influence of Dungeons & Dragons, and most recently a season of shows highlighting the history of famous Disney rides.

We launched Toy Store Guide right before covid started to show its ugly face, and when it hit we knew we had to change gears a bit. First, we wanted to highlight as many stores as quickly as we could, then we wanted to let people know that they need our help. Contacting stores for local pickup, having stores ship items to you, and ordering gift cards were all ways we could help.

At the same time, Brian Volk-Weiss and his team were jumping into action. The Nacelle Company quickly announced that they would produce a television series highlighting Toy Stores and their stories.

A Toy Store Near You premiered in 2020. Currently there are 15 episodes over 3 seasons. All seasons are available on Amazon Prime and seasons 1 and 2 on TouTube. Also, every Toy Store featured on the show has a profile here on Toy Store Guide.

Before season one premiered, Den of Geek’s Aaron Sagers held a live stream interview with Volk-Weiss and Executive Producer Bill Galaxy (yes the Billy Galaxy of Billy Galaxy’s Toys). Turns out that Brian and Billy go way back. Volk-Weiss stated in the interview that the idea to do a show highlighting toy stores was thrown around a bunch of times but never saw a narrative in the project. Now with covid messing with the shops that all changed. He reached out to his pal Billy Galaxy to shoot a pilot and A Toy Store Near You was born.

When I asked Brian about the feedback he has received from the toy community he said, “A guy reached out to us a week ago to say the show inspired him, after 25 years, to quit his day job and open his own toy store in Maine.” That left me wondering what store it was and if we have a profile of them on the guide.

He also told me, “…someone reached out to say that they and four friends drove almost 300 miles to go to one of the stores from season two and collectively spent about 2 grand.”, which must be an amazing feeling for the team at “A Toy Store Near You”, the toy store, and the toy collectors whose collection had a major upgrade. 

“To say these stories are the epitome of why we made the show would be a staggering understatement.”

– Brian Volk-Weiss

Now comes the ask… You can help in deciding if The Toys That Made Us gets another season (not to mention the other shows that The Nacelle Company produces). A recent social media post from Nacelle asks that all fans watch the shows…

 

In order for Netflix to green light additional episodes, it’s crucial that as many people reading this as possible watch all the shows, as that’s what matters most when green light decisions are made.

So it’s time to Binge, Baby Binge!!”

At Toy Store Guide we would go a step further, RE-WATCH the shows! Leave them on when in the background when you are dusting your collection. You know you don’t remember every tidbit from the first time you watched. There is probably something very important about Hello Kitty that you already forgot. 

And spread the word to friends, family, acquaintances, and randos you see in the street. The more the better! Get creative… whenever I visit someone I grab the remote and play the show, I figure it’s good to have it viewed on different accounts, can’t hurt…

So get to work, Binge, Baby Binge!!!

And keep a look out for part two of What are you Watching? titled The Adventure Begins…

Article by: @toydelorean on Instagram

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