Whenever possible, companies should keep these corporate names in the active column. Instead of confusing the consumer, they are a valuable hidden link to the past that most don’t notice, but trigger memories in some. Use the company name on a product, or on a tee-shirt, or on a division. Try out a new product, a risky one, with the old name on it.MORE HERE

El Segundo, Calif. -There is still time to get the 40th anniversary UNO game. The Mattel card game, a derivative of Crazy Eights, was invented in 1971, and is on the sales shelf at Walgreen’s now, though is available at Amazon.com from the company, as well. The game was inventedMORE HERE

The Ideal Toys brand has resurfaced at Big Lots, and on Amazon (see below). Ideal was one of the great American toy companies, and was the maker of one of the classic toys of the 1970s, Toss Across, which was basically a bean bag toss and tic tac toe. Wikipedia’sMORE HERE

St. LOUIS – The walls of Cracker Barrel always have amusing signs, all real. One brand we saw along at one on I-95 in South Carolina were Alox Shoe Laces. Alox was founded by John Frier (1895-1974), who in 1919 invented a new way to make shoelaces by crimping aMORE HERE

WAKEFIELD, Mass. – There are few toys more American than a balsa wood plane. And the great manufacturer of those model planes is the Paul K. Guillow Company. Guillow’s started as Nu Craft Toys in 1926, and with the ownership of Paul Guillow, grew into an iconic American toy brand,MORE HERE

The Invicta board game Master Mind sweeped the 1970s; part of the charm was the box. The Invicta game had an Asian woman and a “distinguished” man sitting below her. Many a college thesis could be written. Questions include: Was he smarter than her? Why was she standing? Why didMORE HERE

PAWTUCKET, R.I., and SILVER SPRING, Md. – Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) and Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) will join to turn Discovery Kids into a new cable network. The most interesting point? They mention that Romper Room, a brand Hasbro dropped years ago, will be revived on the TVMORE HERE

What makes us believe in brands, true brands, is that they are expressions of a dream made real. When a good one is lost, or screwed up, it’s sad, not because we care about the brand itself, but instead we care about the human component that made it happen. It’sMORE HERE

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Rich Ross, President of Disney Channels Worldwide, reflects on 2009 and his goals. One of the goals is to program and create franchises for boys. That’s a good move for Disney (NYSE: DIS); with American Girl movies and the like there is plenty for girlsMORE HERE