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From skeletal Simpsons to Grumpy Cat, the 2014 Licensing Expo had it all

From skeletal Simpsons to Grumpy Cat, the 2014 Licensing Expo had it all

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Janet from Another Planet sent me a note this past weekend, saying:

I thought you were going to tell us more about what you saw at this year's Licensing Show in Las Vegas. What happened to that article?


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Nothing, actually. It just took me a while to wade through the hundreds of photos that I took at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center earlier this month. You gotta understand that the Licensing Expo kind of redefines sensory overload. As soon as you make your way onto the show floor ...


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... you're suddenly surrounded by hundreds of booths. Some big ...


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... some small.


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Some -- like the Nickelodeon booth -- have a design motif that flows from the ceiling ...


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... all the way through to the floor.


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In other cases, it's the witty little touches that make individual booths fun to visit.


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Take -- for example -- this donut-shaped settee in the Simpsons booth.


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But let's face it: You don't go to the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas because you're looking for decorating ideas (Though -- that said -- it would really be cool to try & build your living room around a full-sized version of Ecto One).


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No, you go to the Licensing Expo because you want to learn about what movies will be coming out later this year  ...


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... in 2015 ...


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... as well as 2016.


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The other thing that's fun about walking the show floor at the Licensing Expo ...


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... is learning about which of your childhood favorites ...


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... is about to make a comeback.


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Judging by the number of people who were lining up to get their pictures taken with the Power Rangers ...


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... Lionsgate's live-action motion picture reboot of this 1990's kids TV classic should be very popular.

But then there's just the weirder / stranger side of the Licensing Expo. Now don't misunderstand. As much as it pleases me to see King Features trumpeting its 100th anniversary ...


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... or to see that there's someone out there who's actually trying to license imagery from Ub Iwerk's ComiColor Cartoons ...


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... then there are those things that I just don't understand. Like Precious Moments figurines themed around Star Trek ...


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... or the very idea that someone would be trying to license Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.


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Now I know that I mentioned in my earlier 2014 Licensing Expo article that there was this company trying to get people interested in this intellectual property that basically reimagined the Disney Princesses as zombies ...


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... but what genuinely surprised me were all of the other high profile zombie / undead characters I encountered while I wandered the show floor. There were the Simpsons ...


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... the Justice League ...


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... even Snoopy & Mighty Mouse.


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Which makes me really hope that this undead character trend is something that dies out soon.

And speaking of hope ... I was hoping that I'd actually be able to gain entry into Disney Consumer Products' multi-room display in the basement of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center ...


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... unfortunately, cameras weren't allowed into this area. Neither were members of the press. So sadly I have no "Star Wars Episode VII" news to share with you.


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But that said, I do have a picture of a pug dog drinking a beer ...


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... and a gremlin chilling out on a couch as he waits for the Total Divas to arrive.


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To be honest, my favorite moment of this year's Licensing Expo was coming around a corner and discovering that the booth for the newest feline star -- Grumpy Cat -- was right next door to the booth for the first feline star -- Felix the Cat.


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Even Felix the Cat seemed to find this a pretty funny juxtaposition.


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Anyway, that's a quick snapshot of the 2014 Licensing Expo. And remember -- if we're actually going to nip this every-character-is-now-undead trend in the bud ...


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... just say "No" to zombies.

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  • Sorry to see that you were shut out from getting news on upcoming Star Wars consumer products -- have you heard anything about the franchise's presence at Hollywood Studios?  You wrote last fall that fences would be going up around the Echo Lake section of the park and preliminary work was going to begin as early as this January; obviously, that hasn't happened yet.  Any ideas about what went on: are the plans in flux, are they postponing due to all of the other spending that's been associated with the parks?  With the rumor that Disney will not be renewing their expiring contract with Freemantle re: the American Idol Experience (not a surprise there), does this clear the way for Star Wars?

  • Felix the Cat?  What's he got going on these days?

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