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250 toys, games ready for 'Toy Story 3" debut

Disney-Pixar won't get caught with its action figure pants down again, announcing the creation of 250 toys and games tied to "Toy Story 3." The company's chief creative officer, John Lasseter, announced the line Sunday at the opening of Toy Fair in New York.

Lasseter co-founded Pixar and created Toy Story 11 years before his company was absorbed into Disney's empire. He couldn't have forgotten that Disney made a bust of merchandising his original "Toy Story," with no toys and games ready to fly off shelves for holiday wish lists when the movie debuted in November 1995.

Apparently the Mouse House didn't believe "Toy Story" would be a hit; few imagined that a bunch of computer animation upstarts would upstage Disney tradition. So, when "Toy Story" opened, anyone seeking a Buzz Lightyear or Woody of their own or any memorabilia settled for cloth dolls sold with Burger King kids' meals. Not even Disney Stores at local malls had anything cool with the "Toy Story" brand to sell.

Production of higher-grade toys accelerated after the first weekend's box office numbers were announced but couldn't match the holiday demand, causing a stampede on stores, or online brokering at higher prices. No such mistake was made when "Toy Story 2" opened in 1999, with an array of merchandise including a video game for multiple formats. "Toy Story 3" opens June 18, four months from now, so there won't be any merchandise shortage this time. With 250 items available, there won't be any shortage of overkill, either.

A 'TOY STORY 3' TOY SAMPLER

According to ChipChick.com, the line of new toys includes:

- A new character named Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear.

- Mattel's Toy Story Ultra Blast Gauntlet: a wearable forearm cuff (just like Buzz's) with lights and sounds for enhanced game playing.

- Mattel's Buzz Lightyear Deluxe Action Wing Pack: lighted backpack-style wings with sensors that know when kids are "flying" or "landing," adding appropriate sounds.

- LEGO Toy Story 3 Western Train: Construction play sets featuring old and new characters.

- Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head dressed as Buzz, Woody, and Jessie, plus an electronic Mr. Potato Head plush toy that speaks like Don Rickles.

- Toy Story 3 versions of popular games and toys including Yahtzee, Memory, Operation, Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, Buckaroo and Magic 8 Ball. Not to mention Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and a new Slinky Dog.

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