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Kenner Products was a toy company that began in 1947[1]. It produced various Nerf products between the years of 1991 and 2000, until its production factory was shut down by Hasbro.

History

Founded in 1947 by three brothers, Albert, Philip, and Joseph Steiner, it found early success with toys such as Girder and Panel building sets, the cross-brand Give-a-Show product sets[2], and the Easy-Bake Oven miniature baking set. Another popular Kenner toy, the Spirograph, would be acquired by them in 1966.[3]

In 1968[1], Kenner Products was purchased by General Mills, following their entry into the toy market in 1965. In this same year, Parker Brothers was also purchased by General Mills.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Kenner would produce what would become many of their most well-known pieces of pop culture, with action figure lines for popular movies and cartoons such as Star Wars[4] and The Real Ghostbusters[5].

In 1985, Kenner and Parker Brothers merged together as Kenner Parker Toys, an off-shoot from the General Mills name.[3] Kenner Parker would be purchased by Tonka in 1987, who would later be purchased by Hasbro in 1991.[3] This was the year that shifted the production of Nerf products from Parker Brothers into Kenner’s hands.[3]

Kenner would produce Nerf products during the 1990s, which would see the introduction of classic staples of the brand: dart blasters. They would also continue to produce other toy brands on the side, many of which would cross over into Nerf’s territory, including Star Wars and Jurassic Park.

In 2000, Hasbro would shut down Kenner’s production factory, ceasing operations entirely.[1]

Trivia

  • Kenner was named for the street of which its initial offices were located - Kenner Street, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Between 1962 and 1974, Kenner had a company mascot: the Gooney Bird. It was used heavily in advertisements during that time, and even appeared on packaging.
    • Muppets creator Jim Henson would be commissioned to produce a series of TV commercials for Kenner's Easy-Bake Oven, and created a Muppet version of the mascot. This puppet would later appear on Sesame Street as the character Little Bird.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The History of Kenner. KennerToys. Archived from the original on 2005-03-06. Retrieved on 2020-01-01.
  2. Give-A-Show Projector by Kenner. Sam's Toy Box. Archived from the original on 2019-04-21. Retrieved on 2020-01-01.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Kenner History. KennerCollector. Archived from the original on 2019-06-08. Retrieved on 2020-01-01.
  4. Kenner Products (Article). Wookiepedia. Retrieved on 2020-01-01.
  5. Kenner The Real Ghostbusters Toy Line (Article). Ghostbusters Wiki. Retrieved on 2020-01-01.
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