31. The Death of Baby Face

I'm reminded of the Death of King Kong! Was it a thousand tiny bullets that knocked him from his lofty perch, or was it, as the last line goes, "not the airplanes that did him in, but rather, Beauty, That Killed the Beast!" So too With Baby Face: It wasn't lack of sales that did her in! Baby Face Was Killed by LOVE! She died because Toys-R-Us, Loved her Too Much, and the "New" Galoob, loved her Too Little!

In 1990 "Toys-R-Us" accounted for around 30% of all toy sales in the US. The other four major players were "K-Mart", "Wall-Mart", "Target", and "KB Toys". The wholesale price of Baby Face was $18.95. That implied a "List" price of $24.95, But, of course, no one but F.A.O. Schwarz, would ask that.

Most chain-stores would be expected to sell her at $19.95 if she was considered "Hot", except, perhaps for KB Toys who at the time seemed to specialize in close out "bummers", presented as if they were Hot, at Bargain prices, thus creating the illusion that they had great prices, while actually selling the toys, that really were popular, at higher prices than anybody else! So they could be expected to, and did, begin by asking around $23.95 for Baby Face.

Right from the start, Toys-R-Us Loved Baby Face! That year, they had decided to chose ten or twelve products, that they predicted would be "Winners" and Sell Them at Cost! To bring customers into the store. Baby Face was one of the products they chose! We thought this was "Good News", And for a while it was! Toys-R-Us not only sold the doll at $18.95, But they advertised it extensively in print, throughout the entire year!

I remember watching with amusement as our local KB Toy stores were forced to lower their price to $19.99, to compete with Toys-R-Us, and were still taking a beating. So with the doll "sizzling", they even ran a few, unheard of, "Specials" at $18.95! Unlike me, KB was not amused! Nor were the other retailers! After all, they were Not in Business to NOT Make A Profit!

Galoob continued to run TV ads throughout the year and the dolls continued to sell, BUT, There came a time when the "other four" retailers rebelled and vowed, not to order Baby Face the following year, unless Toys-R-Us agreed to raise, their price on the doll!

Toys-R-Us was thrilled with the way Baby face was performing for them and refused to raise their price! Now, Saul Jodel made a bold attempt, not to have to "throw out his baby", by giving up some of Galoob's profit, in the hope of making up the difference on the "Bath Water". He lowered the cost of Baby Face, to $17.95. His expectation was that the other merchants could, now, retail the doll for the same price as Toys-R-Us, $18.95, and still "make a buck" on it!......

Wrong! Toys-R-Us simply lowered Their price a dollar too, to $17.95! And, although, Toys-R-Us insisted that they still adored Baby Face and would continue to enthusiastically support and promote her, they still only represented one of five customers, albeit the biggest, and Galoob could not afford to continue to run TV commercials with the support of only 30% of the industry [Toys-R-Us] behind them!


Thus one morning Andy and I walked into Galoob's offices to show them a dinosaur concept, and were met with Bad News! Baby Face was over.

She had run a good race! In fact, she was way out in front of the pack, most of the way! But there was an obstacle in her path, and "Galoob" couldn't figure out how to get her over it without possibly breaking a leg! It would be a shame if that were to happen to "such a nice little girl" like Baby Face! So, they took her out and Shot Her, just in case!

I had never seen Andy so shaken and depressed.

We walked out through the darkened showroom. In the faint illumination from the doorway, I could see that everything was still in place. The dolls were all posed in some activity or other, at the "playground", or the "beach", having a "picnic", etc., in a make believe world that Judy had created for them. A Baby Face World, that, this time around, had grown to three times the size it was at the first Toy Fair.

Other dolls were posed on pedestals, and the walls were covered from floor to ceiling with boxes, some real and others prototypes, one of a kind, destined to never be produced! I remembered, how beautiful it looked, only a few months before, bathed in light, with Judy and her crew setting it up for Toy Fair. Everyone was in such high spirits and so proud of their efforts and pleased with the results! Now in the darkness I looked for my "Sherri", and thought for an instant, that I could see her shadowy outline, among a gathering of others in the gloom.


Why didn't I Stop, Go Back, And Grab Her, proclaiming "This Is Mine!"? I've relived that moment many tines, and thought, how easy, that would have been to do, if only it had occurred to me, at the time! Now, years later, I feel like she still stands there in the darkness, waiting...... for me to simply Stop what I'm doing, turn around and pick her up!

But, there was no thought of stopping, then, as we made our way with caution, trying not to stumble or bump into anything in the dark, towards the distant glow of the EXIT door ahead.


As I was looking through a catalogue the other day, I came across this photo and suddenly, realized that, this, doll, along with all the other perfect prototype dolls that were used for the package photos, were the very same dolls, later used to decorate the New York Showroom! Thus, THIS IS "MY" SHERRI! And the Doll that waits for me, somewhere in the eternal darkness of distant memory, Is This Very One!

Next Page: 32. Oodles & the Magic Diaper Babies

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