Formed in 1945, Mattel is the world's largest toy company. It owns some of the most popular and longest-running
franchises in the industry, most notably Barbie
, Hot Wheels
and Masters of the Universe
Mattel was also one of the first toy makers to get involved in other parts of the entertainment industry. As far back as 1959, it was the sole sponsor of Matty's Funday Funnies
, which brought the shorts featuring Harvey Comics
characters to television.note
It then pioneered the concept of Merchandise-Driven Animated Shows
with a 1969 Saturday Morning Cartoon
based on the pre-existing Hot Wheels
. The show got in trouble when Mattel's corporate rivals complained to the FCC, proving that the world wasn't quite ready for half-hour toy commercials—yet. However, by The Eighties
, times had changed. Mattel spun off a successful action figure line into He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)
; the result was a smash hit that not only retains a loyal fandom decades later, but spawned a whole genre of toy-based cartoons that continues today. The company also has profitable licensing deals with Disney
and DC Comics
, among others.
Mattel has a subsidary website, MattyCollector.com
, which sells to adult collectors. This site sells new versions of Masters of the Universe
characters, as well as Ghostbusters
action figures and DC heroes not available at retail.
Between 1977 and early 1984
, the Mattel Electronics division produced handheld electronic games, the Intellivision
console and the Aquarius computer. Mattel's association with video games continued with their distribution of one model of the Nintendo Entertainment System
and the now-infamous Power Glove accessory.
In late 2011, Mattel bought HiT Entertainment
for US$680 million. 
In late 2013, Mattel announced
that they were starting their own studio, Playground Productions, to make movies, TV series, etc. based on the properties they own.
Franchises created and/or owned by Mattel:
Works that Mattel created toys for:
* Available only through the Matty Collector site