Latest Entry: The RSS feed for this blog has moved

Washington Post staff writers offer a window into the art of obituary writing, the culture of death, and more about the end of the story.

Read more | What is this blog?

More From the Obits Section: Search the Archives  |   RSS Feeds RSS Feed   |   Submit an Obituary  |   Twitter Twitter
Page 2 of 2   <      

Bernard Loomis; Merged Toy Marketing, Saturday Cartoons

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity

The Federal Communications Commission, prodded by a Mattel competitor, asked stations to log the show as advertising time, which temporarily ruined the idea for other projects. The concept of commercials as entertainment programs returned about a decade later, when the federal regulatory climate changed.

Mr. Loomis had already moved on to General Mills, where he was president of Kenner Toys. He turned down the chance to license Stephen Spielberg's new movie, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," considering it not "toyetic," meaning its characters would not make good toys.

But he spotted a small notice for a movie called "Star Wars" in a Hollywood trade magazine that sounded more likely: Its characters wore distinctive costumes.

In keeping with standard practice, the "Star Wars" toys were not supposed to appear until about a year after the movie opened. But the immediate success of the film forced Mr. Loomis to reconsider.

Unable to speed up production, and with the all-important Christmas season looming, Mr. Loomis ordered paper certificates sold in colorful boxes for the price of the toy. Kenner promised to deliver the toys by mail eight months later, at which time a second wave of demand crested, as kids competed to get what their friends had.

With Mr. Loomis at the helm, General Mills's toy group surpassed Mattel as the world's largest and most profitable toy company. By 1984, he started a joint venture with Hasbro and served as consultant to that firm as it rose to the top of the industry. He operated his own business consulting group starting in 1988 and with his daughter Merrill launched another successful series, Quints dolls and accessories, with Tyco.

Mr. Loomis was the man behind the title of David Owen's "The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning, and Other Adventures in American Enterprise" (1988). A past president of the Toy Manufacturers of America, he was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1992.

In addition to his daughter Merrill of Napa, Calif., survivors include his wife of 59 years, Lillian Prince Loomis, of Palm Beach Gardens; another daughter, Debra Jan Loomis of Middletown, Calif.; and two grandchildren.


<       2

More in the Obituary Section

Post Mortem

Post Mortem

The art of obituary writing, the culture of death, and more about the end of the story.

From the Archives

From the Archives

Read Washington Post obituaries and view multimedia tributes to Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, James Brown and more.

[Campaign Finance]

A Local Life

This weekly feature takes a more personal look at extraordinary people in the D.C. area.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity