Archive for December, 2009

New Wooden toys: Baby Rattle and Speed Boat

Square maple baby rattle.

I added two new items to today that I think are both great.

The first is a new Wooden Baby Rattle. I really love this rattle. I don’t know how to tell you how this rattle feels in your hands. It’s very smooth and tactile and I just can’t stop holding it. The rattle is concealed inside so it appears as one single block of wood. The price may seem a little steep at $17.99, but it is handcrafted in the USA by our supplier (no mass-produced overseas stuff here) and is sanded smooth with all rounded edges making very safe. It would make a great heirloom gift for a new baby.

Wooden race boat

The second item is a Wooden Race Boat. This little boat is a great item for the bath, the pool, your local pond, or even a puddle. This items is also hand made in the USA and costs $15.99. I’m not crazy about the picture I have of this item right now, but I’ll get a better one soon because it doesn’t do it justice. Wind up the propeller (make sure you wind in the right direction or it will go backwards) and set it in the water to watch it go. Obviously, it would be great to have two for races. It’s finished with simple mineral oil so that it will stand up to use in water. You might want to give it another coat now and then to keep it in good shape.

This is by the same craftsman that makes the rattle and we are always pleased with his items (he also makes one of my favorite items, the Wooden Decoders Set. They are both made from all-natural materials with a natural oil finish.

Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt, dies

Roy E. Disney in the 2000 Rose Parade

Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney, passed away today, December 12, 2009. He was 79. He had been battling stomach cancer for the past year. Roy mostly kept a low profile, but on two occasions he led a shareholder revolt against Walt Disney’s son-in-law and Michael Eisner, respectively.

Roy was born in 1930 and grew up in the Disney company. His uncle, Walt and his father, Roy O. Disney were co-founders of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio just seven years prior to his birth. Mickey Mouse was "born" just two years before Roy.

He worked at Disney as an editor, screenwriter, and producer, but never had the chance to formally lead the company. He nevertheless had a huge impact on the company over the years. His first revolt led to the ouster of his cousin’s husband and the hiring of Michael Eisner. Roy re-joined the board and became the company’s vice chairman and chairman of the animation division. He oversaw the creation of such iconic films as "The Lion King".

Roy amassed quite a fortune through savvy investments in both Disney and other areas, ranking him by Forbes magazine as the 754th richest person in the world in 2007 with an estimate fortune of $1.3 billion.

He once again resigned his board seat and led a revolt, this time against Michael Eisner because he felt that quality was "slipping away from us" at the Disney theme parks. Eisner was replaced by Robert Iger who named Roy a board member emeritus and welcomed him back to company events.

Roy Disney bore a striking resemblance to his uncle Walt. He was also an active philanthropist, supporting the California Institute of Arts, personally matching a gift from the Walt Disney Company to establish an experimental theater space at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, and pledging $10 million to establish the Roy and Patricia Disney Cancer Center at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.

He will be missed.

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog
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Dave Ference

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