19. Averting Disaster

Dear PrillyCharmin,

A week later, Galoob contacted us and asked if they could commission me to make a dozen, or so, more Sculpy heads, exploring additional expressions, that might serve to inspire the artist, who was sculpting the final heads! I was flattered and surprised to hear from them, And I took it as a Good Sign, that things were moving along, and imagined that the sculptor was progressing so well with the first three heads, that she would soon be starting on new expressions.

Some time later we found out that this was, anything but, the case! Saul and David had seen the same presentation, before we did. And they had tracked more recent attempts to improve on it as well. Unlike me, who saw it through the rose colored glasses of hope and wishful thinking, They HATED It! They were wondering if there was really anything "there", worth continuing! Whatever magic they thought they had seen in my dolls was gone!

Saul was getting me involved, both to hedge his bets, And to see if Anyone, including me, could sustain and continue the Spell that first, Enchanted them! Or if it was all an Illusion!

But, I didn't know the project was in trouble, at the time, and I set to work, happy and carefree. I again used the same plaster mold as before and pressed out Sculpy heads, which I played with, until a fleeting expression grabbed me.

After about six expressions, which came out of my head, I gathered some photos and began to refer to them, as I worked. This was a good idea in some cases, (The doll that became "Cynthia" was inspired by a photo, for instance.) But the influence of the "real" clashed with the abstract in others and produced some attempts that, seemed OK at the moment, but "creepy" a short time later.

I learned, I would never be able use photos unless I transformed them. Things that look OK in life, such as spaces between a child's teeth, don't add credibly realistic touches to a doll head, they only make it Scary! It didn't matter, if every head wasn't successful, these were only "sketches".

And, I knew, by now, that I was sculpting them in the "wrong"size, anyway! And the "real" sculptor would have to re-sculpt, enlarge, and could, hopefully, improve upon them.

This is Mel's Desk, where Baby Face was born.

My "contact" with Galoob, then, and throughout the project, was with Cathy Oi. She was, as far as I could figure out, Saul's Assistant. And It looked to me, like If Anything needed "doing" at Galoob, It was Cathy who got it done. No matter what might be going on at Galoob, Cathy remained, tactful efficient, reliable, and above the "fray". She also was a hard taskmaster and wanted Everything "Yesterday"! I enjoyed working with her very much.

I finished the heads and sent them in. There was No response. More time passed, during which God knows what happened, but It clearly, wasn't good! Now, months after the project had begun, Galoob contacted Kiscom, and asked "Could Mel Enlarge the Heads?"

My immediate reaction was, "Oh my God! No Way!" But once it was made Dramatically Clear, that, Galoob had "Reached the End of their Rope", and Baby Faces Life was "Hanging" on My Answer! I quickly agreed to try!

But only, On One Condition! I felt, they had gone about the process of enlarging the heads the wrong way, in the first place! Starting from scratch is something, I never would have attempted. I knew how elusive the look, I had achieved, could be. For all I knew it was an "accident", One that I might not be able to repeat!

So I insisted that they have the heads Pantographed!, A process by which one mechanical arm traces an object while another with an electric cutting tool on it carves the object out of hard wax, in a different size. Computers have improved the process in the past ten years, but in 1989, it was still quite crude, requiring a lot of additional sculpting, but it would, at least, capture the general proportions, and give me a "fighting chance"!

Thus, the Pantograph was to be the weapon, with which, I would battle the "Dragon", that had "bested" Judy's two "Best" knights!


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