Author Topic: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?  (Read 835 times)

Offline GrahamB

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2021, 07:15:52 »
I cannot speak with much authority about the rest of Europe, but I would say The Wizard of Oz is pretty much a classic in the UK. The film was released here in 1939 (see here), the same year as its US release, during the dark austerity of WW2, when most films were monochrome. People of my parents' generation knew the film well and it seems well known to this day, with frequent showings on TV. There is even a Ladybird Book (Google it!) of the story, in a series known as 'Well Loved Tales.' It is not uncommon for amateur groups, schools etc. to put on one of the many stage musical versions.

So I would say it is pretty much regarded as a 'classic' in the UK.

Sorry about retraumatizing you with mention of Return to Oz, K_G!
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Offline StJohn

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2021, 01:54:34 »
I concur. The Wizard of Oz and his Yellow Brick Road were forever on TV when I was wee tiny, in the Netherlands back in the 1970s. I see here a lot of potential to lure adult collectors to part with their money. Brilliant idea: thank you, Klicky_Ghost! (I'm terrible at saying Hello politely - welcome to the forum! I'm thrilled that you have joined!)

Offline Klicky_Ghost

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2021, 07:16:37 »
Thanks for the feedback and input, fellow Playmofriends!  :)

This thread initially came about while ruminating on my lack of enthusiasm for Playmobil's recently released licensed sets, when I had the thought: what sort of licensed sets might I like to see from Playmobil instead? I understand that the licensed sets are not for everyone, and even I much prefer the non-licensed sets. However, The Wizard of Oz concept sort of encapsulates the sort of licensed sets I would like to see from Playmobil: those rooted in the nostalgic and the timelessly classic, rather than the trendy and new.
 
Europe consumes a lot of American media; and Scooby-Doo, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future themes were released in Europe also (as opposed to some of the Halloween sets). So PM must have anticipated a European market for those themes.

I remember visiting Germany as a child and watching the beloved American sitcom Bewitched on TV, dubbed in German. It was a great cultural experience, if somewhat surreal. I'm not surprised that there is a European market for Scooby-Doo, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future; I simply meant that there are a lot of media which, despite seeming typically "American" to an American, nonetheless perform well on the European market. Could merchandise related to The Wizard of Oz do well on the European market? I'm sure companies like Playmobil do plenty of market research about such things before even thinking about licensing deals.

I also wish they had released the Heidi theme in the US. There were some good parts in there for historical themes, and the US knows Heidi, even if the cartoon is less known here. They tend to be slow to realize that people want "cultural" sets depicting cultures outside their own.

Yes, I think the Heidi sets could have done well here, despite the fact that the animated series on which the sets are directly based is not as well-known in the US. The Spyri-inspired Heidi character is well-known here, as there have been dozens of adaptations over the years; heck, the 1930s film starring Shirley Temple is still pretty popular. There are plenty of parents looking for wholesome, culturally-enriching toys for their children, free from the superficial "Hollywood" branding. Perhaps the lack of a U.S. release had something to do with the terms of licensing?

Unfortunately, both the Ruby Slippers and the Green skin of the Wicked Witch of the West were created for the film and are probably the most recognisable features in people's minds.

The Ruby Slippers and the green skin of the Wicked Witch of the West are the main reasons I see these as "licensed" sets, because I imagine Playmobil would have to agree to a licensing deal with MGM in order to using the imagery; but I almost can't imagine sets being created without them, as they are too iconic. Plus, I really want to see Playmobil recreate the iconic look of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in klicky form (perhaps packaged in her very own semi-transparent pink bubble!):


I cannot speak with much authority about the rest of Europe, but I would say The Wizard of Oz is pretty much a classic in the UK. The film was released here in 1939 (see here), the same year as its US release, during the dark austerity of WW2, when most films were monochrome. People of my parents' generation knew the film well and it seems well known to this day, with frequent showings on TV. There is even a Ladybird Book (Google it!) of the story, in a series known as 'Well Loved Tales.' It is not uncommon for amateur groups, schools etc. to put on one of the many stage musical versions.

Thanks for sharing, GrahamB. The experiences of your parents' generation seems to mirror what I have heard from many older folks here in the States. We were just stepping out of a Great Depression, and Dorothy stepping into the technicolor world of Oz seemed almost symbolic of a new age to many people. I know that both countries would soon go through some dark years, but for a pre-war film WoZ really had the feeling of post-war exuberance. I feel that one reason Wizard of Oz continues to be popular (and could make good sets for Playmobil) is that at its core, the message is very simple and universal: good versus evil, the meek and gentle defeating the strong and powerful through sheer goodness.

I concur. The Wizard of Oz and his Yellow Brick Road were forever on TV when I was wee tiny, in the Netherlands back in the 1970s. I see here a lot of potential to lure adult collectors to part with their money. Brilliant idea: thank you, Klicky_Ghost! (I'm terrible at saying Hello politely - welcome to the forum! I'm thrilled that you have joined!)

Thanks for the kind welcome, StJohn! :wave: It's comforting to know that The Wizard of Oz is a fond memory for many others across the world! As I mentioned to GrahamB, the positive messages imparted by the story are very universal in nature, and of course the whimsical world of Oz functions as a fun backdrop to the main quest story line. I would love to see what Playmobil could do with the idea!

If it's money Playmobil is after, I have a few lists I could pass their way ;) I think one of the big things I would like to see from Playmobil are figures based on American historical figures. Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Harriet Tubman? Benjamin Franklin? Perhaps the Wright Brothers with their early prototype aeroplane? I don't suppose those would interest my European Playmofriends? Perhaps I may have to settle for Levi Strauss.
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Offline Macruran

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2021, 09:24:27 »
I feel that one reason Wizard of Oz continues to be popular (and could make good sets for Playmobil) is that at its core, the message is very simple and universal: good versus evil, the meek and gentle defeating the strong and powerful through sheer goodness.

And also, the dollar should be based on gold and not free coinage of silver!  ;D

Quote
If it's money Playmobil is after, I have a few lists I could pass their way ;) I think one of the big things I would like to see from Playmobil are figures based on American historical figures. Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Harriet Tubman? Benjamin Franklin? Perhaps the Wright Brothers with their early prototype aeroplane? I don't suppose those would interest my European Playmofriends? Perhaps I may have to settle for Levi Strauss.

Playmobro I hear you and I've been beating this drum for some time: PM  has a niche in cultural representation and could easily exploit this advantage for big dollars (for them) and fun (for us). They've had smashing success with German cultural figures, why not branch out? Your suggestions are exactly the type of figures that would meet wild success.

And an aspect that PM is surely missing: sets/klickies that have a strong local flavor are MORE interesting to the international market than properties that are blandly universal. For example:

Tired: Asian dragon theme
Wired: Classical Chinese history theme (Confucius and Lao Tzu klickies, Three Kingdoms sets, etc etc)

The world is packed with such possibilities!
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Offline playmovictorian

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2021, 09:27:53 »
Such a great topic  :love:

Thank you for sharing your insight and creative ideas  :)
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Offline Klicky_Ghost

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2021, 18:57:30 »
Playmobro I hear you and I've been beating this drum for some time: PM  has a niche in cultural representation and could easily exploit this advantage for big dollars (for them) and fun (for us). They've had smashing success with German cultural figures, why not branch out? Your suggestions are exactly the type of figures that would meet wild success.

Even within the area of German (and other European) cultural figures, I feel like this is an incredibly rich area that Playmobil has not even begun to fully explore. There are so many great German historic figures with iconic looks that are known the world over, thus easily translated into klicky form and highly marketable. The Bach and Mozart figures were great examples of this, but what about Beethoven? What about Schubert and Wagner and Brahms? A set of Clara and Robert Schumann would be nice. I loved the Goethe and Schiller and Fontane figures, and it would be nice to add people like Friendrich Nietzsche and Franz Kafka into the mix. In terms of rulers, a Mad King Ludwig or Marie Antoinette figure could do incredibly well. Playmobil should surely understand that just because something is niche, does not mean it can't be successful and lucrative; the "cultural figures" concept can only help it as a brand. Hopefully this is an area that Playmobil plans to explore more in the future.


And an aspect that PM is surely missing: sets/klickies that have a strong local flavor are MORE interesting to the international market than properties that are blandly universal. For example:

Tired: Asian dragon theme
Wired: Classical Chinese history theme (Confucius and Lao Tzu klickies, Three Kingdoms sets, etc etc)

The world is packed with such possibilities!

Yes! Playmobil also has to remember that adults buy toys—even when they are buying them for children. Playmobil has always appealed to adults because it offers a learning experience to children while still being incredibly fun and imaginative. Playmobil introduces children to historical and cultural concepts, which is appealing to parents and educators, while also appealing to adult collectors by adding an ever-expanding world of pieces and figures that can work with existing sets and themes. This is an angle Playmobil should continue to play upon. We know that kids love to play with figures of queens and princesses, but wouldn't it be nice if those figures were based on actual people whose story that children could learn about?

By the way, I would love to see some East Asian inspired sets from Playmobil, and it's kind of shocking that this is an area that Playmobil has not bothered to explore! It would be wonderful to have some buildings based on traditional Japanese architecture, with Shoji screens. Perhaps a bonsai garden with a bridge over a koi pond? Where does Playmobil expect our geisha and ninja figures to live, exactly?  ;D
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Offline Macruran

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2021, 21:14:55 »
When the first samurai special came out (as well as the Mongolian warrior) there was heated speculation about such a theme. Then we got...Asian dragons  8} >:(
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Offline GrahamB

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2021, 09:07:08 »
...There are so many great German historic figures with iconic looks that are known the world over, thus easily translated into klicky form and highly marketable. The Bach and Mozart figures were great examples of this, but what about Beethoven? What about Schubert and Wagner and Brahms? A set of Clara and Robert Schumann would be nice...

I fully concur!

...
If Playmobil were to think about issuing more historical cultural figures, even those limited to a German[ic] background, they might do well to go for those who still enjoy international fame, like Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Handel, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss (Richard or Johann, I, II or III), Wagner, Weber and those are just some of the more famous Austrian and German composers.... Why has such an illustrious bunch of historical celebrities been ignored?

Of course, Bach and Mozart can now be taken off that wish-list!
At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline Klicky_Ghost

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2021, 09:42:03 »
Of course, Bach and Mozart can now be taken off that wish-list!

That's a perfect wish-list, and I can only hope that the Mozart and Bach figures being since released means that someone at Playmobil was taking notes here ;D It might hint at a positive direction in that area, at any rate.

From looking at Klickypedia, it seems like all of the musician and writer cultural figures have been released within the past five years, unless I am mistaken. So perhaps I am being impatient and this is an area that Playmobil intends to explore with increasing enthusiasm?  ???

Figures based on musicians are great because their music can be appreciated universally; writers are a bit more difficult since their craft is based in language, thus not as universal. As an example, Fontane is virtually unknown here in the States. Goethe and Schiller aren't exactly household names here either. Nonetheless, I hope this is an area Playmobil will continue to explore.

Authors also open up the possibility of basing figures or sets on fictional characters from their works, similar in spirit to the sets done for the Rijksmuseum. Goethe came with a copy of Faust—wouldn't it be interesting to have klickies based on Faust and Mephisto and Gretchen (with her spinning wheel)?
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Offline Oliver

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2021, 09:53:24 »
I have no idea of the process, but I suspect that the impetuous behind the historical figures have come from Tourist Boards/Museums rather than Playmobil themselves.