Toy store delights kids at preview party

The Book Monster came to the party, so did Curious George, Paddington Bear, Lamb Chop and Spot. The occasion was a preview of Baltimore's FAO Schwarz toy store Wednesday night for members of the media and their children. All were thrilled with the colorful world of Barbie, a talking tree, a roaring lion, a singing clock and Schwarz's walk-on piano, coupled with all the toys that can fill a 12,000-square-foot store.

One might say that Schwarz has finally come back to its roots, since it was founded in Baltimore in 1862 by the Schwarz brothers. The store's on the fourth level on Towson Town Center, near Hecht's, and opens to the public tomorrow at 11 a.m. A portion of the preview and opening-day sales will be donated to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center's Child Life Programs.


At the preview party, I was greeted by FAO's CEO, John Eyler, with whom my granddaughter, Laura, was quite taken when I told her he owned the toy store. She walked up to him, saying, "Oh, I love you," which got her a tour of the Barbie section in the arms of the president. Others enjoying the festivities included Carolyn Morrison, FAO senior vice president; Dave Flury, manager of the Baltimore store; Christopher Schardt, general manager of Towson Town Center, and Dr. John Gearhart, director of Pediatric Urology at the Center.

Among my media friends at the party were WMAR's Rudy Miller and her children, Luke, Hannah and Jake; Rudy's early morning co-host Jamie Costello and his wife, Donna, and daughter, Lauren; WJZ's Don Scott and Marty Bass with his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Savannah.


Excitement reigns throughout the state as Maryland gets ready to say "Good Morning America" to the country. Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region will be featured on ABC's "Good Morning America," show Sunday, and again Monday as part of "The Great Chesapeake Bay Bus Tour."

Annapolis will be highlighted Sunday with Antonio Mora and Willow Bay. On Monday, Joan Lunden and Charles Gibson will sail across the bay to St. Michaels from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Kent Island to the Inn at Perry Cabin. It's a busy time for everyone at the inn. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her entourage will be leaving Sunday as "GMA" crews check in.

Spencer Christian will do his weather broadcasts from Fells Point; and there will be segments on filmmaker John Waters and the Inn at Perry Cabin's chef, Susan Bell Singer. Look for the Senator Theatre, with its marquee reading, "Now Showing, Good Morning America," which will be followed by a large group of people, led by Rebecca Jessop, the theater's director of special projects, and Senator owner Tom Kiefaber, standing in the middle of York Road, performing the now standard, "Good Morning America."

Mount Washington Tavern turns its bartender duties over to Kevin Roland, Dave Straws, Kathleen Bockstie, Margaret Roop and Mark Gillette, who are volunteers for Santa Claus Anonymous from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday. If you're a Tavern regular, take a little extra money, cause their service will cost you tips for the organization. Speaking of the Tavern, seems impossible, but it's been in business for 15 years and is planning a gala, invitation only, celebration Nov. 13.