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My Life and Toys by Brian Levant and photos by Joe Pellegrini

    my life and toys

    Brian Levant has been in Hollywood for quite some time both on the big screen and small screen. There is a very good chance you have seen his work. The director/writer/producer has amassed an extensive toy collection throughout the years. This book is magnifically photographed by Joe Pellegrini. Being an insider like Brian within the industry gives you certain privileges in getting your hands on unique toys. Brian’s collection is an impressive one. You will want to purchase his book to witness this little book museum of nostalgia. I really love his Flintstones collection. Love the little insert of Butthole Surfers. Well done! The Fonzie’s Jalopy is a hoot! If you are into nostalgia and toys, this ensemble of pics is for you. There is a little something here for every generation. You can buy the book on Amazon or any other outlet that sells books.

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    An original book of photographs and text by the noted Brian Levant, presenting his extraordinary collection of animated feature and comic toys, including hundreds of iconic characters represented in figures, banks, games, lunchboxes, puppets, comics, windups, vehicles and items at the bottom of cereal boxes. This comprehensive and one-of-a-kind collection and book/work, itself, are presented in varied chapters.

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    There are chapters here that include the author’s Flintstones collection; others created while he produced features with Steven Spielberg; or those acquired while producing classic TV shows, like Mork & Mindy. And this is just a small sampling of what is in this exhaustive book, where the sum total has been acquired over the past 50 years. This is a book distinctive in its content; in both words and the hundreds of original photographs created exclusively for it.

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    The author’s acclaim and success as a producer of popular culture film and television features allow presentation here of a distinctly individual and personal yet universally interesting book for collectors and the general public alike, which has no comparison and could not be replicated even in a minor form, by anyone else other than this author.

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    Brian Levant is a nationally recognized toy and pop culture collector now in his fifth decade in the entertainment industry. Director, writer, and producer, Levant has been at the creative helm of some of the biggest franchises in family entertainment. Among Levant’s, more than 400 television credits include being the showrunner of “Happy Days”, “Mork & Mindy” and “The Bad News Bears” series. After winning the 1989 Cable Ace Award as Best Director in a Comedy Series, for his long-running “Leave it to Beaver” revival, Levant turned his attention to writing and directing feature films. Among Levant’s feature directing credits are the original “Beethoven,” the two Steven Spielberg-produced Flintstones films, Jingle All the Way” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Snow Dogs”, Are We There Yet” and the 2010 Jackie Chan vehicle, “The Spy Next Door.

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    In addition, Levant has produced, written, or directed another 10 network and cable films including the Starz Network’s first original production, “The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space” and the two live-action/CGI Scooby-Doo films, which remain the Cartoon Network’s highest rated programs of all-time. Illumination Entertainment is currently in pre-production on Levant’s original C.G.I. animated musical feature, which is being produced and the music written by Pharrell Williams. Additional awards his works have collected include a 1981 NAACP Image Award for “The Bad NewsBears”, 1987 Youth In Film Best Series Award for “Beaver” and the 1988 International Emmy for Best Children and Young People’s Series, for “My Secret Identity”, which he created.

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    Nearly every year since the late 1970s, Levant has lectured at his alma mater, The University of New Mexico, where, in January he launches his fourth annual “Sitcom Boot Camp” class and for the past three years has taught the same class as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arizona, where for the last 22 years, he has regularly spoken to and worked with film students. Levant has also led six editions of his “Sitcom Lab” seminars with the Hanson Film and TV Institute, where students create autobiographical situation comedies and pitch them over ZOOM to the studio and network executives and showrunners. He has also made dozens of appearances at Columbia College’s Semester in L.A. program, Arizona State University, George R.R. Martin’s Stagecoach Foundation, Long Beach State, USC and The American Film Institute. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four gigantic dogs.

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    For over two decades Joe Pellegrini has delivered memorable imagery as an industry leader in product and food photography, highly regarded for his work that appears in store windows, magazines, catalogues, cookbooks, and on billboards and social media. Also an accomplished painter, Pellegrini has brought his artistic sensibilities to scores of national campaigns, such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, TRUFF and an array of household names, from Scrubbing Bubbles to Jim Beam. For the past 16 years, he has shot virtually all of Subway’s national fast food print and outdoor ads, as well as their in-store displays. His work in My Life and Toys, a collaboration with his brother-in-law, Brian Levant, brings his unique vision to chronicle and detail the author’s massive toy and pop culture collections. Pellegrini and his wife, Jennifer Levant, live in Chicago and are the parents of two grown children.

    Of interest: The curious case of missing Pebbles Flintstone in FRUITY PEBBLES and COCOA PEBBLES?

    Tony M.