Here it is again, yet another review. This time on the "3rd Annual
Hershey Park Convention and Toy Show." This is my second review on
any convention. Although I have learned a lot from my previous report,
please ignore minor (as well as major) mistakes as I am still learning.
Remember this is an incomplete report as I attended the toy show
and the dinner on Saturday July 20, 1996 only. I did not stay for the auction
after Saturday's dinner plus I was not there for the Sunday toy show. I also
did not attend the Friday night's MICA gathering. For further information
please wait for the review from one of the clubs. This report also includes
my detailed conversation with "Mr. Jay Udow," Director of Marketing for
TYCO Toys. I would like to thank Mr. Udow for spending roughly
30 minutes with me just before the dinner and answered my questions and
told me the future plans. Later on he mentioned the same things in his
speech, so there is nothing confidential here. Now enjoy..........
The 3rd annual Hershey Park convention, sponsored by TYCO Toys was held on the weekend of July 20 & 21 at the Hershey Convention Center, Hershey, PA.. Boy was that a great day! What a change in weather from last year (102 degree) to this year (83 degree). It was a gorgeous day with lots of sun shine and very low humidity. I left New York at around 9:00am and reached at the convention center around 12:30pm.
This year the event was marked with several changes. The most notable change was the hall. Instead of a hall on the upper level, the toy show as held in the lower level and the dinner was held on the upper level. White Rose was giving away free Matchbox models to everyone entering the toy show. The entry was free as usual. Collectors from Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, Norway and USA were present. This year's convention model produced by TYCO/Matchbox was the MB 215 Chevy Panel Van with the "Get in the Fast Lane" Logo.
I was told that the toy show started at 9:00 am. and that there were more dealers this year as compare to last year. TYCO took less space but they had a nice corner where the entire range of MATCHBOX was displayed. This was the first time I (and I am sure many other collectors) saw the full line (1996 released models and future releases) of Matchbox Toys at one place. In the same corner there was a small area for kids to play with "Matchbox Action Central" and "Zero G" play sets as well as with TYCO's remote control cars. At the entrance TYCO had a table were they were selling the convention model, t-shirts, as well as doing the registration for the dinner. One important thing that was catching everyone's attention was the computer with "Matchbox Action Central" web site for all collectors' view. I was able to show my web site to a couple of my friends who have not seen it before.
All afternoon, I stayed in the hall and visited different dealers. I picked up a lot of new promotional models. It was so sad that I could not find anything from my "Want List" this time. I guess models on my Want List are now getting to be tough to find. Anyway, the evening brought more fun for me as I was finally able to talk to Mr. Jay Udow, Director of Marketing for TYCO Toys. The dinner started at around 7:00pm. I personally counted 20 tables with every table had a seating arrangement of 10 people each, i.e., 200 guests. There were 13 people from TYCO/Matchbox, 5 people from Matchbox Collectibles and 4 people from "Freeman Public Relations" who organized the show on behalf of TYCO toys.
After the dinner there were two speeches. Mr. Jay Udow discussed the future plans for Matchbox and then Mr. Mike Dukes discussed the future releases of Matchbox Collectibles. Later both speakers answered questions from the audiences. Mr. Udow mentioned that later in 1996 there will be 20 models released, from the 1996 range, in different colors just like last years. Many people called them "Transition Model" but the term TYCO is using this year is "96 1/2 Re-colors." A set of these re-colors was displayed for collectors. I am sorry I don't have a list of these models yet but watch for some nice re-colors on the shelves soon. Mr. Udow also mentioned that the Premiere Series 3, 4, 5, & 6 would be released before the end of the 1996 calendar year. There will be a Premiere series set (6 models) released, exclusively for the European Market, before the end of 1996. Series 7, 8 & 9 would be available in Spring '97. In Jan or Feb of 1997 there will be a set of six Premiere Rigs. They would be highly detailed convoys from the 1996 (?) range.
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