November 2015

What’s New · Kenner Toys

The Library remembers all things Kenner just in time for the holidays.

kenner toys on parade

This holiday season, the Library encourages you to remember the toys of your childhood. The Main Library will host a set of exhibits and programs celebrating the history, success and demise of local brand Kenner Products.

Toy Exhibits at the Main Library —Nov. 20–Jan. 16, 2016.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Kenner Toys

Features the toys and brands Kenner designed and developed from the 1940s through the 1990s. The exhibit is on display in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room. The exhibit was curated by Dan Flarida and Josh Blake of and includes toys from the Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, Batman, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters collections along with Play-Doh, Spirograph and the Easy-Bake Oven.

Please note, the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room will have extended operating hours while the Kenner Toy exhibit is on view. Through January 16, the Cincinnati Room will be open all hours that the Main Library is open.

Beloved Toys

Takes a fun look at the childhood memories surrounding some of Kenner most beloved toys. The display is located inside the Popular Library exhibit cases. On other floors in the Library, display cases will contain Kenner toy catalogs from 1966 to 1990, depicting the company’s marketing strategies throughout the decades. Also featured will be a special case that explores the origins of Star Wars toys, with images of the first prototypes created by Kenner and presented to Star Wars filmmakers in March of 1977.

kenner toys

Smaller displays will focus on other Cincinnati toy companies such as Doepke Toys, Stuart Toys and Poynter Products. There will also be toys on display by Bang Zoom Design, a Cincinnati product invention company that carries on the spirit of toy-making here in the Queen City. The company has made many designs for toy lines including Elmo, Monsters University and Dora the Explorer.

Finally, learn the origins of three toys that got their start here in the Greater Cincinnati area: the Magic Eight Ball, Uno Cards and Pound Puppies.

Brought to You by Maker Toys

Located in the Main Library’s MakerSpace, this display showcases toys made from equipment such as the 3D printer and the laser engraver

Kenner Toy Symposium —Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. –5:30 p.m.

plastic galaxy

In celebration of the exhibits and upcoming release of The Force Awakens, the Main Library will host a special day-long symposium with former Kenner employees. All events will take place in the Main Library’s Reading Garden Lounge. No registration is required.

Kenner History, 10 a.m.–noon

Corky Steiner, the son and nephew of Kenner’s founders, will retell the history of the company through 50 years of vintage Kenner toy commercials wrapped into two 20-minute segments. The segments will be followed with a Q&A session featuring former Kenner executives.

The Phases of Kenner Toys, 1–3:15 p.m.

Take an in-depth look at the various phases of the Kenner Toy company from the 1950s to ‘90s. Session will feature actual video interviews with the leadership that guided Kenner in the post Steiner era from 1972 to its closing in 2000. A Q&A session with Kenner employees will follow.

  • 1950–1970s: A family business to General Mills management
  • 1970s–1980s: General Mills to Tonka
  • 1990s–2000: Hasbro’s acquisition of Kenner and Hasbro’s consolidation of its various entities to their Rhode Island general offices in 2000.

Plastic Galaxy Screening, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys, directed by Brian Stillman, examines the history and pop-culture impact of Kenner’s of Star Wars toy line.

Panel discussion with Star Wars toy designers, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

Moderated by director Brian Stillman, this panel discussion will feature original Star Wars toy designers Jim Swearingen, Tom Osborne, and Mark Boudreaux.

For more information, contact the Genealogy & Local History Department at 513-369-6905.