On the Transformers planet Cybertron, the Decepticons have the Autobots on the brink of defeat. As a last-ditch effort, the Autobots send out a distress call for help. A galaxy away, on Eternia, the call is answered. He-Man and his friends travel the far reaches of space to help Optimus Prime regain Cybertron for the Autobots and defeat the evil Megatron. At least, this is what could happen in a child’s imagination in the 1980s.
Television producer Brian Volk-Weiss brought back so many vivid memories of these toys and so many more when he created the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us (2017). After three seasons and two seasons of The Movies That Made Us (2019), Volk-Weiss is knee-deep in his new docuseries, A Toy Store Near You (2020), which saw it’s first season drop back in May 2020; season 2 is due out on Christmas Day.
Brian Volk-Weiss to the rescue
Volk-Weiss is more than just a television producer with an impressive resume. He is also a fan of pop culture toys, so when COVID hit earlier this year, shutting down toy stores worldwide, Volk-Weiss compiled his resources into producing his new docuseries to assist store owners in keeping their doors open. Any revenue from A Toy Store Near You will go to the stores highlighted in the show. The idea came to Volk-Weiss in March when COVID started to take hold in the U.S.
“When the quarantine hit, one of my first thoughts, after my family and my company, was these poor stores. What are they going to do?” he says. “Then my wife was watching a show on YouTube about cooking. I thought, ‘We could do this for toy stores.'”
When Brian shared his idea with friend Billy Galaxy, who owns a toy store in Portland, OR, and who is also the subject of his first episode, he jumped at the chance, and the dominos fell from there. “Once I realized how excited the stores were about this and what it meant to them—not just the money, but also the hope—we kicked it into high gear.”
Brian Volk-Weiss Producer Extraordinaire!
This is just a small fraction of Brian’s accomplishments. Brian’s career really shot up when he became a production assistant on the Tom Hanks film, Cast Away (2000). From there, he took a job as an assistant at a talent management company, managing comedians like Whitney Cummings, Dane Cook, and Jeff Ross.
By 2012, Volk-Weiss produced HBO, Comedy Central, Netflix, Showtime stand-up specials for countless comedians, including Bill Burr, who later played a role in the hit Disney + series, The Mandalorian.
Volk-Weiss also produced several comedic series in 2016, and to cap it off, in 2019, Volk-Weiss began work on reviving the NBC hit, Mad About You. By 2020, Volk-Weiss produced four Grammy award-winning and countless Grammy-nominated comedy albums. Needless to say, Brian Volk-Weiss is no stranger to comedy and has been a producing machine for two decades.
Watch A Toy Store Near You
Check your local listings or you can catch A Toy Store Near You on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Vimeo, with each episode exploring the history, selection, and the people that make each store unique. Check out an exclusive interview with Brian Volk-Weiss, and hear about his new series A Toy Store Near You on episode 313 of ‘Skywalking Through Neverland.’