I’m back from my trip to Las Vegas. The Licensing Expo is an odd experience, with brands both big and small trying to find new outlets for their trademarks. You can be talking to someone who is trying to get some new milage out of once-diseased consumer brands like Ken-L Ration dog food… and then suddenly a parade of Power Rangers, Clifford The Big Red Dog, the Black Panther, an Angry Bird, and what looked like a sickly artichoke will walk on by.
It’s actually the folks with problematic brands that I find interesting; there was a large booth for licensing “Boy Scouts of America” as a brand for items, despite the fact that the organization is changing names. Or the multi-brand representer that had the currently-going-out-of-business Toys R Us among their most visible brands. Or folks who are just struggling on the floor, like the guy with the megaphone at the FAO Schwarz booth, desperately (and as far as I saw, unsuccessfully) urging people to come into the booth, get your photo taken on a giant keyboard like they used in the movie Big, and post it on Facebook.
But there was no sign of desperation at the Peanuts booth… which was technically the DHX booth, I suppose, but it was 90% Peanuts. They had a large booth, and while the walls were well-decorated and with interesting video display, they didn’t have the huge mounds of existing product on display, no Snoopy-costumed actor, no guest celebrity (a couple booths away, you could meet boxing great George Foreman.) They didn’t need to. They had probably a dozen tables for potential licensees to talk to licensing representatives, and while they weren’t all always full, there were always conversations going on. Peanuts is a known power in this field.
The Expo didn’t provide the only Peanuts-y moments on this trip. I believe that I may have blogged about a previous trip where I stopped by an antiquarian bookstore in one of the casinos and found them offering a first printing of the first Peanuts book (simply titled Peanuts) for a large amount of money. Certainly, it’s a book worth having, but as a person who owns two or three such first printings, I found the price a bit humorous. (But it makes sense, when you have a shop in a casino; the people you are seeing are likely not the careful shoppers who have been scouring sources for an item, but people with an excess of cash who find something that catches their eye. Las Vegas is designed as a cure for the problem of excess cash.)
The store no longer had that book on display; whether they sold it or just took it out of their limited display space after a while, I cannot tell you, but I suspect the former. That’s because in roughly the same spot they had another Peanuts book… a copy of the book adaptation of A Charlie Brown Christmas, which they wanted $800 for. But it was, after all, a first printing… or so they said. It could have been – it looked like it had a dust jacket, which is not something that all printings had. But the publisher had the “first printing” information on every copy they put out, despite the fact that there were clearly varying printings, as you can find editions that vary in size.
I’ve got a copy that I suspect is an actual first printing… and I’m sure I didn’t pay $800 for it. But then, I’ve never felt that I had that “excess cash” disease.