HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
21. A Week at Paramount

The Problem was very complex, and the solution I devised was even more so! It stemmed from the fact that, as the hot, newly molded heads quickly cooled, they shrank, But the plugs that created the eye sockets, not only caused the eye cavities not to shrink, but it held the eyes apart so the distance between the eyes did not shrink either. I would have to re-sculpt, the heads to place the smaller eyes in the larger heads, and place the eyes closer together to compensate for the distortions, that took place when the distance between them remained the same. Other areas shrank unevenly as well, and I studied the heads for hours to detect which areas I would need to alter in the waxes to compensate for these changes.

Arrangements were made for me to go to Paramount, where, I would spend the better part of a week, working on a new set of waxes. En route I visited the mold maker in Long Island City, who would be fashioning the molds, and got my first look at, and an hour long lesson in, the doll making process.

Then, on to Pa. where I was surprised to find Ross Albert waiting for me! I met the "owners" and their employee, Warren, to whom our project had been delegated. After a brief tour in which lots of things were covered up, because they were secret projects they were working on for other toy companies, we were issued into a tiny room, with a table and two chairs in it where I was to spend the next five days.

They were not set up for outsiders working there and requested that I stay in the room and only leave it to use the bathroom across the hall, because of secrecy. On the table was a hot wax tool, or "waxer", which is an electric device with a sort of pen, attached, that one touches to a block of wax, until it melts some, which can then be carried in its hot tip and deposited on the object one is working on. There's also a rheostat to control the heat.

Also on the table were three heads, that Warren had newly cast in orange wax, and then deftly Buffed into Bowling Balls! We were off to a "wonderful" start! Now half the company gathered in my tiny room as I argued and demonstrated, why the heads would "have" to be cast again! Thank God, Ross was there! I guess they saw him as the "Client", and with him backing me up, The "bosses", finally, instructed, Warren, who was seething with thinly disguised Rage, to heat up some wax and pour me a new set of heads!

I spent the rest of the day trying to teach myself, how to use the waxer, and practicing with it and the other scrapers and tools they loaned me, (I also had my own favorite tool from home.)

The next morning, the new heads were "ready" and so was I! I got the "feel" of it pretty quick, but the work itself went slow, setting in the smaller eyes, filling in and re-sculpting the areas around them, fattening the cheeks and other areas that I knew would shrink more. Every air bubble had to be filled, every form redefined, every surface scraped and sanded. The wax heads had to be detailed and finished to perfection, for any and every tiny flaw would show up clearly, in the final, vinyl, heads.

I worked all day, and when they closed up shop at 5, I took all the stuff with me, back to my hotel, and continued working there. The strange thing was that, each day all day, Ross sat across the table from me at paramount and silently, watched my every move! It was so bizarre! He'd leave when I did, and the morning he'd be back! I assured him, repeatedly, he "didn't have to stay on my account", but he'd simply reply, "That's, OK!"

Late in the afternoon of the third day, I finally said, "Ross, Please, GO HOME!", and he did! Bad Move! He had no sooner walked out the door, than Warren appeared in my "cell" and stating that, he "Needed His Waxer", handed me a small soldering iron, to which he had attached a piece of bent coat hanger, adding that I should "Use This"! I quickly examined all my options, from Going Home, to Raising Hell, and realized that Getting the Dolls Done was the most Important thing! At the same time I wanted to frustrate this Bastard, in his heavy handed, small minded, and pitifully obvious attempt to exact vengeance on me, for making him confront the fact that he had screwed up, and redo the heads!

So, I looked at the Waxer, wrote a few words on a piece of paper, and borrowing a phone from receptionist in the entrance area, called the manufacturer of the Hot Wax Tool, in Chicago!

As I arrived, back at Paramount, the next morning, the FedEx truck with my very own, brand new waxer, [compliments of Galoob] was just pulling into the drive way! It took another day and a half to finish the heads. Last of all I had to pose the eyes then replace them with brass turnings with long rods protruding from them, which the doll mold maker would use to determine the exact position of the eyes. This was very difficult, But later, I invented a method that was very complex, but foolproof, to get the eyes positioned just right.

Now I left with my waxer, and the knowledge, to do this at home in the future, and I would never have to go back there, again. The new heads worked out fine. They did need to have a few adjustments, as the brass eye plugs I had been given for the eyes were a little too small and the eyes tended to bulge, but the mold maker was able to fix this.


Next Page: 22. Oh no! Not the Bodies, Too!

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