HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
26. More Doll Heads

Now for something you'll enjoy! I know you're really into individual heads!

I did lots of new heads in the year that followed. I worked mostly with Cathy Oi. She would be relating requests and suggestions she was getting from the "marketing" department, Saul, The ad agency, and Judy too! But most of the time, it was just Cathy and I talking over the possibilities, and deciding together, what expressions, etc. I should do. Photos of babies were being sent to me from Judy and others of the above and I was clipping and collecting some myself.

After the first twenty or so heads, dramatically New expressions were getting harder to come up with! One, the boys at Galoob wanted, and I continually tried to talk them out of was a Yawning Doll! I didn't want to do any expression that represented an extreme action caught in midstream, and "Frozen for Eternity". And I maintained that a yawn could look like a prolonged scream! Nonetheless, they insisted, so I, finally, did it in Sculpy and they, finally, agreed that I was "Right".

One of the heads I did way back at the start, was intended to be kissing. It was really repulsive! It looked like the "scavenger fish" that used to suck on the glass of my tropical fish tank, I had as a kid! But we all agreed that a kissing doll was a good idea, so I set about doing an improved version directly in wax.

Galoob was still in a mess! And now they dug up a new Jerk from somewhere in the executive pool and put him "in charge" of BF and, as he saw it, "Me" as well! He was one of those people buy into the theory put forth by the Wizard of Oz, that an Official Title instantly and automatically endows the newly anointed bearer, with all the expertise and knowledge necessary to do the job! That plus the fact that he had frequently been kissed by his six year old son, was all the qualification he required to "Art Direct" me, one on one!

The "kissing" head went back and forth, via FedEx, at least ten times over a period of three weeks! Up till that time, and in the future, No other head took me more than three days, to sculpt, and none was ever sent back! He called me, every day, five times a day, looking in a mirror, including, several times, the rear view mirror of his car, while on a cell phone, trying to describe just how His or his sons lips looked when kissing. On one return trip the head was even accompanied by a blurry Polaroid of his son's mouth!

Then he got "onto" the distortions I had, by that time, mastered, and engineered into the head to compensate for the shrinkage. He couldn't accept or understand them, and I had to write numerous letters and do multiple diagrams to argue that case. Finally He sent the head back one last time for me to execute a whole list of subtle changes he had related to me on the phone, late the night before.

I readdressed the package and sent it back, without even opening it! And, Now, thinking I had executed all his suggestions, HE LOVED IT! Together we agreed that the last group of changes he had directed, had really made all the difference!

Click on the picture of the "kissing head" above, to see the finished doll.

 

 

 

Next he insisted that I do a wax of the Yawning doll! By now, I was beyond arguing and besides I was getting paid to do all this work, so I did! But, I never heard from him again, nor did Galoob ever use the Yawning head. I soon learned that he was no longer in charge of Baby Face, and a little after that, that he "was no longer with Galoob!" Now, once again, I was working with Cathy. 

 

 

 

My next assignment was an Asian head and a "Spanish Speaking Surname" head! "Political correctness" had caught up with Galoob! The Asian head was a lot of fun! I believe, I ordered a wax to be poured from So Surprised Suzie, who was and remained the most popular doll in the line, and working directly in wax, altered the eyes!

But when it came to the, "Spanish" doll I was completely stumped! I had been pulling so much of this stuff out of my head, and in terms of racial stereotypes, I could handle "Black" [if that had been required] and "Asian" too. But I had no idea how to portray "Spanish" I could be Spanish, myself and I wouldn't be able to tell! Well, I guess if I was Spanish, I would be able to tell. But not having a Spanish Surname I had to Holler for Help!

Click on each face in the picture to see the finished asian dolls.

Thus I was sent a black and white modeling agency photo of a beautiful little girl, about six, who really did have a Spanish Sounding Surname. I figured if I sculpted this child exactly, I would somehow capture the elusive look that would be recognized by any interested party! And this head really is a dead-on accurate portrait of that child! I've sometimes wondered if she ever knew, that she became a doll!

Now that you know this I believe you'll be able to see that she is different from all the other Baby Face dolls. They are abstractions disguised as reality, and this doll which they gave two Spanish sounding First Names is Reality disguised as an abstraction.

Click on each face in the pictures above to see the hispanic dolls.  

 

 

At one point, Galoob anounced a contest and people could send in pictures of their children. The winner would have a Baby Face doll made to look just like their child. If the contest had ever been carried to completion, (I believe someone might have been awarded a prize, but there was, of course, no doll) This is what the portrait doll might have been able to look like. Yes, I would have sculpted it. In fact, I was looking forward to it.


Next Page: 26b. Special Addition to the Baby Face Story

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