HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
18. Outfits & the First Head

Dear PrillyCharmin,

Judy's presentation was very impressive! She had mocked up many outfits, which were, now, displayed on some rather generic looking 16" dolls she had worked on several years before. they were close enough in size to visualize something of what BF would look like in those outfits.

Keep in mind that Judy was, as far as we knew, completely in charge of making the Whole "Thing" Happen! She not only had to design and coordinate the outfits, but she had to make sure they came in at a cost that was affordable and consistent. She had to get the dolls "made"! The sculpting done, the Hair styled, And put it all together, to create a "persona" and identity for each doll. Even designing the shoes, which had to be sculpted too. The list of things she was responsible for, goes on, and on, and on. The Alberts also traveled to China, to work directly with the suppliers there! In short Judy and her "organization" Did a TON of Work!

I Don't Know WHO Named the dolls! It wouldn't surprise me, if her group did that too! On the other hand, It might have been Gallob's advertising agency, Or even, for all I know, the secretaries in Galoob's office!

I believe the engineering and packaging was handled by Galoob itself, But Judy was responsible for the dolls and the outfits. The Alberts and their Crew also set up and decorated the showroom at "Toy Fair"! They also contributed to the merchandising of the dolls, and it was with an eye towards Merchandising and cost that Judy now presented her first pass at designing the clothes!

A whole selection of Judy's 16" dolls were lined up before us. Some were not real dolls, but flat cut out photos of the dolls, used as "mannequins" with "real" outfits on them. I guess the number of dolls, she had left over from her old project was limited. She explained the approach she had taken. It was an attempt to play up the fact that the dolls were "Babies" by emphasizing the diapers. The diapers would in turn be printed with designs and patterns to give them a unique identity. Furthermore, the outfits would be very short to make the diapers more visible. This solution would also, because of the skimpy nature of the clothes, Cut Down on the Cost of the outfits!

I was trying so hard to like what I saw, and I was so THRILLED to see the dolls happening at all, that I had Little trouble buying into the theory of what she was doing. After all, What did I know about "fashion", doll or otherwise? Somewhere deep inside I was a little concerned, The outfits seemed a little too skimpy, almost provocative, a little Las Vegas show girl like. And my vision of kids collecting all kinds of outfits, from contemporary to old fashioned, seemed ruled out by this approach! On the other hand, looking at the line up of Judy's dolls it was clear that the outfits did have a distinctive "look."Judy was eager to contribute something uniquely her own, to the project, and I believe the outfits succeeded in doing just that! I felt I had to trust her, and Bow to her expertise, and I Did, dishing out huge helpings of 90% sincere praise!

By the way the outfits got a lot better as the project went along. They began to look more and more like "clothes" rather than costumes for the "Radio City Music Hall Rockets". The one aspect that never did quite"work" was the diapers! The designs were too Wishy Washy and the colors were too Pale! So a Good Idea that should have been "SHOUTING" was "whispering" instead!

 



NOW, came the Moment of Truth, We were shown the first enlarged head! It was the one that would eventually be called "So Surprised Suzi" and as it had been "enlarged" it was "about the right size" to be presented to us on one of the larger bodies that Judy was using to stand-in for Baby Face. She had also dressed the doll in order to enhance the offering as much as possible!

We Learned that, the head we were being shown, was sculpted by "The Worlds Best Doll Sculptor", A famous doll artist, whose name, even, I had heard before. This artist was considered to be the "Best", not just in Judy's opinion, But, in the eyes of the entire Toy Industry!

A second head had been sculpted too! Judy, sort of kept it out of sight, But when, we didn't over react to the first one, but expressed the opinion that it had "missed by just a little bit", I guess she was encouraged enough to bring out the second one, which was an attempt at the doll with orange hair and open mouth smile [there was no point in bothering to mount this one on a doll body]. We All agreed that it had "missed by a Mile"! Later still we found out that the sculptor had billed $6,000.00 each for these two heads! And, we learned later that Galoob was not at all happy about it.



We also later learned that, Judy's "second best" sculptor had also attempted to enlarge the heads, and failed even more spectacularly than the "first"! But, for now, here I was looking at this doll and trying so hard to like it or at least, find in it some reason to hold out hope for the future! If this was the best that the world's best doll sculptor could do, when it came to merely copying my head 20% larger, What would she do, when asked to create new Expressions, that would fulfill the vision, we all held out for Baby Face!

The new head was at best a poor imitation, Like a Bad Special Effect such as the Fake decapitated head that a mediocre movie director rolls our way, hoping we won't notice it looks nothing like the actor, and hoping the audience won't roar with laughter, when we were meant to scream.

I too, didn't know if I wanted to laugh or scream. Judy indicated that she, also, felt the head needed more work, and assured us it would be "all right" All in all, I left, feeling happy and Excited and at the same time Depressed and worried that Baby Face was destined to be a very ordinary doll with nothing to distinguish her but Judy's slightly unusual outfits! Still I hoped for the best, and kept my fears to myself!

 

 



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