Dear Friends,

Only because I think and hope it will have a Happy Ending, will I tell you the tale of "Color-Me-Cuties," and how they came to be, and not to be, fading, dying and coming back to Life, time and time again. It is a story that points out the Irony of inventing toys, and shows how Chance and Luck, both good and bad, determine the fate of all our best endeavors.

Many years ago I did a series of four large drawings that were sent to Fisher Price. While in their "care", the ceiling leaked, soaking my drawings and many other peoples work as well. Rather than returning the drawings, [they could have been easily remounted and saved], Fisher Price "threw them all away". Nothing remained but the 4 dark photos that I show you now. Even the magic of Photoshop couldn't help these much. But I recycled some of the line art and you will recognize some of the elements, as echoes of them reappear in later years.

You can click on any picture below to
see a larger image of the same drawing.

1. "Flower Children" Petals closed for nap time. One can foresee Cuddles in these dolls.

2. Elephants, nothing ever came of this.

3. "Hug and Hold," These babies had Velcro hands that hugged and held themselves and others. This was another forerunner of Cuddles.

4. "Mop Tops". Soft dolls with yarn hair. They were the very first glimmering of "Color-Me-Cuties". The Idea for Mop Tops, and the only photo, was cast aside and forgotten, until, about 3 years ago - Kiscom was showing a project to Fisher Price involving some tiny figures I had sculpted. The figures were too small for "preschool", but Fisher Price admired the styling and suggested that the characters, if enlarged, might make a nice line of rag dolls.

Thus, in response to their comments, [and in order to save time], I dug up the only existing photo of Mop Tops and redrew it, changing the faces to be less "weird" and more like the tiny sculpted children that Fisher Price had liked.

Some might think me lazy for recycling the same art over and over again, but I truly regard it as miraculous that I have the power to grant new life to that which died, often in vain. A toy never produced is like a tree that has fallen unnoticed in the forest, making no sound. I love to see it rise, and have another chance, to take root and grow again. And if not the tree at least a seed might be gathered up and planted to germinate and lead to ... who knows what?

I no longer have that piece of art, but here is a Xerox copy of it, that in spite of the colors being rather harsh, will give you a good idea what the original drawing was like.

 

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Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of Baby Face and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright Kiscom, Birnkrant