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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.
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The Friday Five

Look into the minds of movers and shakers in the play industry – five questions, one fascinating person.

The Friday Five: Gary Darna

CompleteSet is the brainchild of Gary Darna. A collector himself, Gary seized the opportunity to turn his hobby into a career by filling a gap he saw in the marketplace. In doing so, he created a must-have resource for collectors.

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The Friday Five: Ira Gallen

As the go-to guy for late-night luminaries such as David Letterman and Jay Leno, Ira Gallen created a name for himself by preserving the classic television shows and commercials. In this edition of The Friday Five, Ira talks about his collection, television history, and the one piece of film that continues to elude him.

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The Friday Five: Blake Wright

The bumpy road of toy development is littered with toys that consumers never had a chance to see. Journalist Blake Wright is changing that. Blake is producing Toys That Time Forgot, an art book showcasing toys that never were.

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The Friday Five: Jason Liebig

Super Sugar Crisps in Mad Men. Eggos in Stranger Things. Big League Chew in The Goldbergs. Jason Liebig’s collection of packaging through the decades has Hollywood art directors looking to him for essential props.

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The Friday Five: Scott Barber

Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney spent many of their childhood days watching Nickelodeon. Their love of the network never faded and they’ve set out to produce The Orange Years, a documentary celebrating the groundbreaking kid-oriented network.

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The Friday Five: Britta and Adrian

Biomedical engineering and art make an interesting business union for partners Adrian and Britta, co-founders of Low Poly Crafts in Ottawa, Canada. Their low-poly paper sculptures fall somewhere between art and science – stunning objects that add a bit of the unexpected to any space.

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The Friday Five: Toy Polloi

Discoloured Stormtroopers getting you down? Toy-restoration enthusiast Dave, founder of Toy Polloi, shares his experience and has wise advice for toy-restoration newbies.

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The Friday Five: Dane Christianson

Dane Christianson’s X-Cube is a twistable 3D puzzle that adds 32 additional pieces and four extra layers to the original Rubik’s Cube. Here, Dane talks with us about crowdfunding, preconceptions about ability, and why 3D puzzles continue to capture our interests.

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The Friday Five: Toby Whelan

For many students, thesis projects are happily left behind after the dissertation. Not so for Toby Whelan. Toby is turning his thesis project into a bonafide success story that has a positive impact on the people’s lives. We talk with Toby about the role MAKA plays in bettering the lives of people living with autism.

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The Friday Five: Nannan Zhang

Nannan Zhang has seen explosive growth of his annual online fundraising auction Creations for Charity since founding the organization in 2009. We talk with Nannan to find out how he built Creations for Charity and where he hopes to take it next.

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The Friday Five: Brett Miller

Brett Miller is CEO & Founder of BRIK, the company behind BRIK TILE, a Lego-compatible line of products that takes Lego creations from the floor to the wall. We reached out to Brett tells us about his company’s Kickstarter successes, the inspiration behind BRIK products, and what makes Lego such an enduring – and endearing – product.

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The Friday Five: Yaron Betan

Filmmaker Yaron Betan’s Heroes Manufactured gives a documentary-style glimpse into what it takes to be a Canadian comic book artist or writer. Hint: it ain’t easy. Here, we talk to Betan about the film, the industry, and some of his favourite comic artists.

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The Friday Five: Jonathan Morris

Most of us are familiar with Batman, Wonder Woman, Archie, Iron Man, and Casper. What about Doctor Hormone, The Eye, or Bozo the Iron Man? That’s where Jonathan Morris comes in.

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The Friday Five: Princess Etch A Sketch

Did the time spent playing with toys at your grandmother’s house lead to a full-time career? It did for Jane Labowitch. Known as Princess Etch A Sketch, the hours Jane spent at her grandmother’s house with the Etch A Sketch led to her developing a unique ability to re-create images on the iconic toy.

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The Friday Five: Tom Berges

Do you remember the feeling you had as a kid as the opening crawl to Star Wars rolled up the screen? Tom Berges sure remembers that feeling. His years growing up watching the movies and playing with Star Wars merchandise led to his creating and curating the popular website igrewupstarwars.com.

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The Friday Five: Aaron Reynolds

What do you get when you combine a love of 1960s Batman, a unique sense of humour, and a desire to share your inner world with complete strangers? You get BatLabels, a popular Twitter account that highlights the campiness of the Adam West-driven television version of Batman.

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The Friday Five: Adam Logan

What does it take to win a World Scrabble Championship and multiple Canadian Scrabble championships? Let’s ask Scrabble champion, Adam Logan.

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The Friday Five: Meaghan Scanlon

Many Canadians would be hard-pressed to name homegrown comic book writers and illustrators. A new exhibit at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa aims to change that. I talk with the coordinator of the exhibit about the fascinating – and often overlooked – world of Canadian comic books and graphic novels.

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