Here are the questions to Playmates Toys and their answers from July/August, 2002. The questions appear in bold type:

Will Playmates ever consider creating a WoS Collector's Club?? What is the possibility of having a figure released based solely on fan voting, kind of like Hasbro has done with Star Wars?

The idea of setting up a Simpsons Collector club was discussed with Michael Crawford at Comic Con and I think it is a great idea. We are currently having discussions with our Public Relations company, as they will be responsible for the day to day activities and special programs associated with a club. Stay tuned on this one! The possibility of having a figure released based solely on fan voting is a great idea and will be worked into the plan in the near future.

Whatever happened to the Springfield Town Square with Jebidiah Springfield Statue (with intellitronic peg) idea? Was this scrapped for good or is being reconsidered in a different fashion for future release?

The Springfield Town Square is in the plan for late '03.

Why did the WoS line change the plastic and/or the finish used on the figures (the first six waves had a glossy finish, while the last three have had a matte finish)? In later waves we have seen a lot of variation of facial skin color of characters. Disco Stu and Prison Sideshow Bob are examples of uncharacteristically light colored face. In the TV series, most characters faces appear the same value yellow. Why has Playmates changed this? Was it an intentional design change or was it mandated by the production manager, and is there any chance you will go back to the glossier finish?

To our knowledge, we did not change the quality of plastic. Now that is not to say that the plastic did not change. Please keep in mind that we purchase plastic by the bulk. It is possible the plastic used for the first six waves of figures is from a different source than the plastic used for the latest waves of figures. Although the specifications for the plastic may have been the same, it doesn't mean that what was sent was exactly the same. The quality issue is a bit harder to control since the plastic is not purchased in the states. While most of the characters skin colors appear to be the same on the TV show, in reality they are different. We receive all our PMS callouts (colors) from Film Roman, the production house that handles Simpsons, to ensure that the color of our figures match what is true to the show.

If enough interest is shown, is Playmates planning to make a line of WoS non-speaking characters that appear in the show regularly via mail-in or promotion? (ie. Martin's Parents, Baby Gerald, Sarah Wiggum, Richard, Sam & Larry, Silver-Haired Girl who sits behind Bart, etc. --if any of these do talk, its only once or twice.)

We have had internal discussions regarding non-talking figures. We were always under the assumption that what makes our figures unique is that you have the ability to plug them onto a playset and hear the phrases they say from the show. It is our belief that collectors would not be interested in purchasing non-talking figures. I guess I would like to ask this question to you, the consumer. Would you be interested in purchasing non-talking Simpsons figures? If so, what non-talking figures would you like to see?

Now that the Celebrity line has been cancelled & future celebrities will be added into regular lines, how often will we be seeing celebrities in the regular lines? (Once per series, every other series, etc.) How aggressive is Playmates going to be toward the signing of celebrities in the future?

There are a few reasons for not proceeding with the celebrity series of figures. 1) Getting the celebrities to give us their voice rights is turning out to be much more difficult than we originally thought. 2) We found that some of the celebrity voiced characters are just not that popular (Brad Goodman). 3) We are already shipping 4 waves of 6 figures per year in the regular line plus playsets and exclusives. Adding in another 4 waves of 3 figures under a different segment name is probably going a bit overboard in 5" figure releases per year. Going forward, we will include one celebrity voiced character/figure per series in '03.

Is an environment (such as a rooftop playset) being considered for the Be Sharps exclusives? It seems to be a pattern in the past if more than two figures fit a group (Pin Pals, Sunday Best, etc.) they have a playset with episode-specific lines.

Yes, we are considering doing a rooftop playset specifically for the Be-Sharps late in '03, after the last in a series of 4 Be-Sharp figures ship.

We now know that we are getting Moe's Tavern. If this means Playmates is recognizing the "adult" demographic their merchandise sells towards, is there a chance we might see other items released (or dialogue used) that might have originally been seen as Inappropriate for a "children's" toy line?

We are aware of the adult demographic collecting Simpsons, but we have to be careful doing "adult" themed accessories and environments. While cigarettes and alcoholic beverage accessories are a part of the Simpsons world on TV, the toys we produce are scrutinized by a totally different group of people than watch the show or collect the toys. Retailers pay close attention to what is being sold through their stores and they don't want to be seen as carrying toys that promotes smoking/drinking to children no matter what the age of the person is purchasing the toys. Consumer advocates and awareness groups are always looking for toys that promote bad habits for kids.

Will we ever see an influx of non-variant adult women in this line? (Ruth Powers, Ashley Grant, Maude Flanders, Princess Kashmir, etc.)

In the coming series of figures in '03, you will see more non-variant adult women in the line. This all depends on whether or not the person or persons who voice the characters are willing to give us their voice rights for these characters.

Will certain characters now voiced by cast members have the celebrity voices for the figure? For instance, could Manjula be released in a regular wave now that she's going to be voiced by a regular cast member? If an Akira figure is made, will the same apply for him? Or will Playmates still need to negotiate through the celebrity since they originally voiced the characters?

These issues are beyond our control and have to be addressed by Fox and the lawyers!

What is the status of the New Years playset? Will we see the figure sketches (winter outfits) for the Simpson family (as seen in the original "Times Square TRU" concept sketch) in this set or another set in the future? How far into production did the 'Times Square' playset get before the concept was cancelled?

You will be receiving photos of the playset shortly!

Thanks to Playmates Toys for answering our questions! See you next month!

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