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Skye at Kennner Factory Site. May 12th, 2007. Photo by Zac.

hopkins

Tim Hopkins at the Kenner Sign, August 2007



Why did we do this?

As you peruse the countless photographs of dumpsters , office buildings, and abandoned parking lots, you may ask yourself ....Who cares and why should they?

Firstly, as a toy collector and a collector of Kenner Toys in particular, there is a kind of archaeological merit in these photos. Not only is this where the toys were made and designed, but it is where the extant shreds of the production process have made their way to the collecting community.

Also, there is a kind of sociological value in this sentimenatal journey. Kenner fans have (myself included) what I call "Big Fish" nostalgia. That is to say, when the bigger fish eats the big fish that ate the small fish, we transfer the nostalgia to the big fish. The absorbtion of Kenner by Hasbro has created this ironic kind of nostalgia for Kenner. Though it was a multinational corporate beheamouth in the 1970s, its practices and methods seem quaint by todays digital and demographic standards. The romantic image of the toy sculptor and box airbrusher have replaced the old nostalgia for the toy maker in his wooden shoppe. When Hasbro bought Kenner, for awhile it still let Kenner make and design toys in Cincinnati. That is why there are so many sites that are linked to both companies. When Hasbro left Cincinnati for its great corporate headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the comsumption of the big fish was complete. It is because they so carelessly threw away the remains of Kenner's work that we have the valuable objects today. The photos on this site document where they were made and the dumpsters they were rescued from.

There is a darker aspect to the sociological side of this tour. These monuments call back to a happier time for the city. At times you feel as though you are looking at pictures of Europe's Eastern Block instead of America's midwest. It is a reminder of how our country's industrial sector has changed so drastically in such short time.

Despite this sad note, it is mainly out of love for Cincinnati and Kenner that e we made the tour. As a Boston born California resident I only ever thought of Cincinnati as the place that Johnny Fever and Johnny Bench lived. Zac, who took me on the tour and gave me the histories I tell here, is a life long resident of the city. In taking this random tour with him I got to see the real city and experience a different kind of tourism. It is not that much different than the folks going to Tunisia to see where Luke Skywalker grew up. This is a trip to see where Luke Skyalker's toy grew up.

If you ever take the tour (or any part of it) please send me a picture underneath the Kenner sign. I'll post it here as a kind of guestbook.

Send photos to: curator@chewseum.com