U.S. toymakers dream of a red, white and blue holiday


Santa's sleigh may be sporting American plates this year as new rules governing toy safety continue to provide a boon for U.S. toy makers. When more than 21 million toys made in China were recalled in 2008 due to unsafe levels of lead, American toy manufacturers were gifted with a wide open market and a lot of jingle in the till.

For 2009, U.S. toy companies continue to report a strong holiday season, but this year the game is not as straight forward.

Dean Helfer, Jr. has been working at the business of fun and games for more than 25 years. He was a student at West Virginia University in 1983 when he started selling hand-crafted boomerangs out of the back of his 1972 Ford step van. Helfer made $6,500 dollars the first year. By the time he graduated in 1985 his business was earning $65,000. Today, his company, Channel Craft, is based -- in a building, not a van -- in North Charleroi, Pa, and sells a lot more than boomerangs. However, it is not just the product line that has changed.