Bernard Loomis - The Kenner Years and Star Wars (1970 - 1984)

1984)

While at General Mills' Kenner division, Loomis helped transform that company's fortunes around, transitioning it into the world's largest toy company as he had done earlier at Mattel. He helped develop and market several popular brands, including The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Play-Doh, Baby Alive, and others.

Loomis's connection with Star Wars began after he read an article in The Hollywood Reporter about the film still in production. He was fascinated by the name, but Kenner wasn't interested in any other boys' toys properties at the time since they manufactured the still-popular Six-Million Dollar Man toyline and developing another based on Man from Atlantis. When the movie came out in 1977, there were no toys connected to Star Wars, so Loomis pursued the license from Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm. He was also the person responsible for the "Early Bird" diorama set for Christmas 1977, which promised the holder would get figures when they first come out in early 1978. The set sold over 500,000 orders.

In 1981, Loomis founded the Manufacturing and Design (MAD) group at General Mills, which was responsible for developing new toy properties and strengthening existing ones. MAD launched a deal with American Greetings to develop and license properties such as Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears.

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