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80 O G A U G E R A I L R O A D I N G J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 6 Media Reviews Their stated mission and goal is "to spread the joy of toy trains far beyond the hobby," and since 1976 TM Books & Video has been doing precisely that in a very big way. Now, to commemorate four decades of documenting and promoting our hobby, TM Books & Video has released a retrospective DVD titled TM Looks Back: e Best of 40 Years. is hour-long program is essentially a video index of the production history of TM Books & Video over its long tenure, but it also provides a visual timeline of the fascinating evolution of toy trains from 1900 to current times. Tom, Charyl, and Jeff McComas, along with Joe Stachler and the rest of the TM team, have compiled over time the hobby's most comprehensive video reference to the products, personalities, and groups that have made toy trains such a captivating and enduring part of the American scene. Among other things, this new production includes snippets from and references to the 12-show Toy Train Review series, the 17 I Love Toy Trains videos (where viewers can see Jeff grow from a very young boy to a young adult), a number of Christmas-theme videos including 7 A Lionel Christmas programs, 8 Lionel Nation offerings, 5 Tinplate Legends in Action programs, and 4 World Class Hi-Rail Layouts videos for the contemporary operation-oriented crowd. And the personalities spotlighted throughout comprise something of a who's who of toy train collectors and operators including Frank Sinatra, Tom Snyder, Mandy Patinkin, Dick Kughn, Ward Kimball, Bruce Manson, Norm Charbonneau, and a host of others. Tom and Joe also provide brief insights into how they actually go about making these videos. e contributions of singer/songwriter Jim Coffey are also acknowledged because his music has long been an integral part of so many TM videos—the Christmas-theme videos in particular. As has long been the case, TM videos are intentionally designed for family viewing. From age three to a hundred and three, there's something in this and every other program for just about every age and every interest. I tend to see this 40-year retrospective as a sort of teaser that entices those who have little or no experience with TM videos, while at the same time informing the hard-core regulars among us of items we may have missed. Tom published books before he discovered the potential of video. TM's Great Toy Train Layouts of America book from 1987 sold 10,000 copies in just six months. At last count, the collection of TM videos in my home reference library numbers about 50 or more, not including some of the earliest programs that were only available in VHS format. Fortunately, most of those were later remastered to DVD format so I rarely need to drag out my VHS player. I'm obviously a fan, not just for the program content—my personal favorites being the various Christmas videos and the hi-rail layouts programs—but also as a supporter because of the beyond-the-hobby audience so many of these videos have reached over the years. It's not possible to measure how many new entrants to the hobby have actually responded to the siren call of O gauge via TM videos, but it's a pretty safe bet that the more than 100 programs made and the millions of copies sold (yes, that is millions) have lured more than a few over these many years. What about the future? Well, even though other subjects— John Deere, Ford Mustang, International Harvester, and others— now receive attention from the TM production team, a new video of interest to contemporary Lionel operators is on the horizon. Modern O Gauge Remote Control, Part 1: Lionel TMCC & Legacy Basics should be available by the time you read this review. Are you looking for an ideal stocking-stuffer for the fast approaching holiday season? Well, look no farther! Just visit www.tmbv.com and check out this and the vast array of other available videos, or call 800-892-2822.—Allan Forty years in review Forty-Year Love Affair with Toy Trains

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