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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.

The Friday Five

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

The Friday Five: Matt Nelson

Matt Nelson is the primary comic book grader at CGC Comics. In this edition of The Friday Five, Matt details the process comics undergo during grading and explains what people need to keep in mind when preserving their comics.

The Friday Five: Ben Drury

Ben Drury is the CEO and co-founder of Yoto, an audio platform created specifically for children. In this edition of The Friday Five, Drury talks about the role of storytelling in the lives of children and the company’s new partnership with Disney and Pixar.

The Friday Five: Stephanie Lensing

Stephanie Lensing is a brand experience manager at Betty Crocker and heads the brand’s BettyLab project. Here, Lensing explains the connection between culinary skills and STEM learning.

The Friday Five: Ben Alder

Ben Alder’s “Winnie the Pooh” LEGO Ideas submission was chosen by LEGO for production and sale. In this edition of The Friday Five, Alder shares his insights into the LEGO Ideas process.

The Friday Five: Andrew Kashian

The Story Time Chess game teaches chess to children as young as three. In this edition of The Friday Five, game creator, Andrew Kashian, explains how teaching chess through storytelling removes the traditional barriers to learning the game and makes chess accessible to people of all ages.

The Friday Five: Brian DePass

Brian DePass blended his experiences as an advertising executive and a parent to create Operation Playtime, a new app that helps connect sellers and buyers of used toys and games. In this edition of The Friday Five, DePass shares his motivation for creating the app and explains how to use the platform. 

The Friday Five: Adam Borton

Adam Borton uses his experience in the toy and game industry to teach other designers how to hone their craft through his Toy and Game School program. In this edition of The Friday Five, Borton explains how he got his start in the industry and shares some common misconceptions about the business.

The Friday Five: Tanis Gray

Tanis Gray is a knitwear designer with a talent for interpreting pop culture characters into fanciful knitting projects. Here, she talks with Toy Tales about her latest book, Star Wars: Knitting the Galaxy, and the importance of sharing the things we love. 

The Friday Five: Valarie McLeckie

Valarie McLeckie is the consignment director of video games at Heritage Auctions. In this edition of The Friday Five, McLeckie reveals what she looks for when evaluating a video game for auction and how the pandemic has affected the collectables market.

The Friday Five: Jordan Greenlee

Jordan Greenlee, Director of Administration at the Museum of Science & History, talks about bringing Toytopia — an exhibit highlighting popular toys and games of the twentieth century — to the Jacksonville, Florida museum.

The Friday Five: Joshua Tsui

Filmmaker Joshua Tsui talks with Toy Tales about Insert Coin, his new documentary chronicling the heydey of arcade game publisher Midway Games, known for Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Narc, Rampage, and other seminal titles.

The Friday Five: Eric Nyman

Eric Nyman, Chief Consumer Officer at Hasbro, shares details about PulseCon, a virtual event that brings fans together with their favorite Hasbro brands and celebrities.

The Friday Five: Mary Couzin

Toy Tales talks with Mary Couzin about the recent rebranding of her organization, ChiTAG, to People of Play and what sets today’s young inventors apart from their predecessors.

The Friday Five: Tim Cohen-Laurie

Tim Cohen-Laurie is an executive producer on What’s It Worth?, a show that looks for hidden treasures owned by everyday people, starring comedian Jeff Foxworthy as host. Cohen-Laurie talked to us about the pandemic’s effect on the production of the show and how people can be considered for future seasons.

The Friday Five: Christopher Byrne

Toy Tales talks with The Toy Guy, Christopher Byrne about the impact of COVID-19 on the toy industry and The Playground, the podcast he co-hosts with Richard Gottlieb of Global Toy Experts.

The Friday Five: Arlene Biran

As its iconic toy Etch A Sketch celebrates 60 years of encouraging analog play, Spin Master’s Arlene Biran discloses why the company acquired the brand and what consumers can look forward to seeing (and buying!) in honour of the milestone anniversary.

The Friday Five: Joel Redfearn

Pinewood Derby enthusiast Joel Redfearn shares his start with this competitive racing hobby and how it led to him owning two businesses.