The minds behind history's most iconic toy franchises discuss the rise -- and sometimes fall -- of their billion-dollar creations.
Runtime: 44 minutes
The Toys That Made Us - Toys "R" Us - Netflix
Toys “R” Us, Inc. is an American toy, clothing, video game, and baby product retailer founded in April 1948, with its headquarters located in Wayne, New Jersey. Founded by Charles Lazarus in its modern iteration in June 1957, Toys “R” Us traced its origins to Lazarus's children's furniture store, which he started in 1948. He added toys to his offering, and eventually shifted his focus. The company had been in the toy business for more than 65 years and operated around 800 stores in the United States and around 800 outside the US, although these numbers have steadily decreased with time. Toys “R” Us expanded as a chain, becoming predominant in its niche field of toy retail. Represented by cartoon mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe from May 1965, Toys “R” Us eventually branched out into launching the stores Babies “R” Us, Toys “R” Us Express, and the now-defunct Kids “R” Us. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on September 18, 2017, and has also filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada (see Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act). It was announced on March 14, 2018, that all Toys “R” Us stores in the United Kingdom would close. The next day, it was announced that the U.S. operations of Toys “R” Us were, after 70 years, going out of business and selling all 735 locations in the U.S. The bankruptcy of the chain in the United States has not affected various international operations, however, including Asia and Africa. Discussion then turned to the fate of the Canadian branches. The UK and US stores closed on April 24 and June 29, 2018 after over 70 years, respectively.
The Toys That Made Us - Geoffrey the Giraffe - Netflix
Formerly known as “Dr. G. Raffe” in 1950s print advertisements for Children's Bargaintown, Geoffrey the Giraffe evolved in name and appearance over the next decade to become the official mascot of the renamed Toys “R” Us. Serving as a “spokesanimal” for the brand, Geoffrey's design went through several phases over the next 50+ years before the current star-spotted iteration was finalized in November 2007. In 2017, the company sponsored the live camera broadcast for April the Giraffe, which helped support giraffe conservation and awareness. The sponsored camera of pregnant April the giraffe went viral with million of views on YouTube and across social media platforms.
The Toys That Made Us - References - Netflix