HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
25. Eye Trouble & Facial Expressions

The heads go through several steps from wax to finished doll, and with each step they shrink a little more. There is a next to last Vinyl head, which is the most perfect head. Shrinkage on this head is the most controlled. This head will be molded one more time [and the 5% smaller heads made from those molds will become the final dolls]. And This Perfect, Next to last head, is The Head which is photographed for the boxes!

The doll inside is something else. It shrinks a little more and distorts a little more,and If it is heated a little too much, in order to insert the eyes, the space between the eyes shrinks too much, and the eyes move too close together, and sometimes they tend to bulge. If Natalie's mouth appears too large on the box, it's bigger still on the doll inside the box!

And if you like the eyes of the doll on the box, and think they're beautiful, cross your fingers for luck, and hold your breath as you open up the box! For the eyes photographed on the box are the same expensive German ones, that I used on my first dolls, But the eyes inside the box are "affordable" copies that Galoob had fashioned in China! They shouldn't be that bad, and if you're lucky they aren't bad at all! But if you happen to get one of the first couple hundred thousand dolls, made before they finally heard and heeded my incessant and unwelcome Screams, the eyes on the doll inside the box, will not be the deep blue you see on the cover, but, the pale and tell tale hue of "Kentucky Blue Grass", instead!  

Someone in China had done a pretty good job of copying the German Plastic eyes. The two piece white styrene eyeballs were perfect, and the pop-in lenses weren't bad. They were a little flatter than the originals so they didn't create the quite the same degree of magnification and magic. That's the sort of thing I would have caught and corrected, if I had been consulted, but it's also the sort of thing that, perhaps only I would notice, or care about. The sad thing about this small detail and the big one, that blighted hundreds of thousands of dolls was that: It Wouldn't have Cost a Penny More to Do It Right!

Having done the hard part decently, they now Ruined hundreds of thousands of eyes, simply because the Idiot who Specified the Colors, Couldn't Match Color! And the rich and Realistic colors of the German eyes, as shown on the boxes, Became Pale, Washed Out and Weird! The brown eyes were OK, but the Blue became Powder Blue, and Bizarre pastel shades of Lime green and Pale Lavender were introduced. This caused the Irises to pale out and the black pupils to Dominate, and each be perceived as separate elements, rather than as a Whole! They looked like a cross between "Village of the Dammed" and "Rosemary's Baby"! The stereotypical Horror movie closing shot, Where we get a close up of the children's eyes, and Realize that They are "Not of This World"!

Mel would like to suggest that the advertisment at the top of this page is the perfect "replacement guide" for Baby Face eyes!!  

I Bitched and cried out in the wilderness, unheeded, until I made such a nuisance of myself, that they, finally, promised to change the eyes "as soon as they used up the several hundred thousand they had already made"! I wondered if the doll would ever be successful enough to, someday, get those new eyes!

She was! And she did!

 
Baby Face #8 DeeDee has been the most dramatic example of variation in eye color. The first production dolls have lilac color eyes or a very pale blue. The later production dolls have vivid blue eyes similar to what is shown on the box. As a result, the "blue-eyed DeeDee" has been recognized as a distinctly different doll and is sought after by collectors. Also, the prototype Denny doll had vivid blue eyes so some collectors use the blue-eyed DeeDee to make their own Denny reproduction.

(You may click on this photo to see a larger version of it.)
 
AT TOY FAIR, the Alberts had set up a nice display, with actual Prototype dolls, like those, that had been photographed for the boxes, posed in a playground setting. I recall one "So Shy Sherri", in particular, who, stood out from all the others. When the heads shrink, what happens then, can be either Tragic or Magic! In this case it was "Magic"! She seemed so Beautiful and so Alive, I couldn't believe I played a part in her creation. At that instant, she became, and has always remained, my Favorite!

There was a lot of Talk about Baby Face at Toy Fair! Some thought She was Great! And others couldn't understand why anyone would bother, or Dare, to make a doll that didn't do anything!
Here are Two Tidbits of reaction, that you might enjoy!

The man who was heading up the Cabbage Patch division at Hasbro, which was the dolls new home after Coleco, confronted Andy, at Toy Fair! And he was Livid with Anger! He accused "Kiscom" Of Ripping Off "His" Idea of using facial Expressions on dolls!

Another bit of information was freely admitted to Kiscom and everyone else for that matter, by Mattel. Mattel lives by testing, over and over again, they test and retest, usually their own product. But this time, they were so caught unaware by Baby Face's use of facial expressions, that they Tested Baby Face!

And the results, which they were only too eager to share (especially with Kiscom) Proved that Facial Expressions, didn't mean a thing! Mattel had spent a considerable some of money, as testing is expensive, and had come away convinced and satisfied, that expressions on dolls didn't amount to a "hill of beans".

They also admitted that they were "Mystified", Because Baby Face was selling! So just to Hedge Their Bets, even though they "didn't think it mattered", Mattel, now, added Facial Expressions to their Magic Nursery dolls, "Just in Case"!

Next Page: 26. More Heads

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