- HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
- 8. Coleco & the Weenies
We had a lot of success, when it came to selling and placing concepts, and also a lot of bad luck when it came to these
concepts actually making it to the market without some mishap befalling it on the way. The very first thing we
worked on was called "Weenies".
The best way I can sum it up is that it was Mickey Mouse and the gang
reincarnated as hot dogs. "Willie Weenie" and his girl friend "Wilhemina
Weenie" lived in "Bunville", along with Willie's pup, "Hot Doggie", his
buddy, "Joe Baloney", Joe's girl friend "Honey Bun" and a whole raft of
other characters. The bad guy was called "Meanie Weenie". Mike
Strouth also joined the project, and while I designed and created the
characters, Mike worked on "Bunville".
The day the Presentation was ready, Kiscom showed it to 'Coleco' and the
president of the company said "I'll Take It!", on the spot. A "Deal" was
concluded there and then. This was never to happen again quite so
dramatically, until years later, when it happened again with Baby Face.
And, while the Advance and Guarantee, that Galoob later, offered us for
Baby Face was handsome by any standard, and the largest that, up to that
time, that Galoob had ever paid, The Advance now agreed upon by
Coleco, was Five times that amount! Coleco felt that, Weenies were to be
the "follow up" to the success of Cabbage Patch.
What the public doesn't generally know, is that in spite of the Huge
Success of Cabbage Patch, The company was floundering. They had
invested hugely, in producing their own computer called the "Adam
Computer" and it had been a disaster, pulling the whole company down
with it! Cabbage patch kids were supposed to get a birthday card one year
after the doll's purchase. We're talking about Millions here, for postage alone. Coleco couldn't afford to send them,
and didn't do it! One woman in the Midwest Sued them over the matter, believe it or not, and the whole thing came
Meanwhile, I was having a ball! This was my chance to "Be Walt Disney" I'd designed all the characters and now
spent days working on animation drawings for the "TV special" and the "style book". I spent several hours every
day on the phone collaborating with a script writer for the TV show and even wrote "lyrics" for the musical
numbers. Coleco hired the "head of licensing" away from Hallmark to run the licensing program and over 30
companies were "on board" and the TV special was fully scripted and the story boards were done,
by the leading animation studio in Japan, "DIC" (pronounced "deek").
THEN, sales slacked off a little on cabbage patch and Coleco went into survival mode. They had another line they
had been working on called 'Sectors" which was a boys action figure line, featuring crawling insects that were
glorified gloves with bug bodies attached. Action figures rode the bugs. This project was much farther along than
Weenies and as they could not, Now, afford to do both.......they Dropped Weenies!
As it turned out, they dearly wished they had not made that choice, as Sectors (after a brief flurry)-- Bombed! You
can imagine how devastating this was to me, but I got used to it, Years and years of it, being raised up sky high then
dashed to the ground, Each time a little less high, each fall a little less low. In the end "it's a Living" and I was
avoiding pain at least of the commuting, workplace, and dealing with the general public variety. Also I was making
enough money to continue to follow my true "Bliss".
As the cost of Comic Character items
continued to rise, I continued to spend
nearly every cent I earned on them. I
really should add here that Eunice is the
Most Wonderful Wife a collector could
ever wish for in his wildest dreams! She
has never complained when I spent our
money on toys, She's even gone without,
gladly so I could do it! And she has two
amazing quotes that most collectors
would faint dead away if they ever heard
their wives utter: "You earned the
money, You deserve to spend it on
whatever you want!" and when I'm
uneasy about whether or not I should
purchase some foolishly expensive item,
she will inevitably say ; "Enjoy yourself!,
You're dead a long time!"
I'm shipping this out, as when I tried to read your incoming email for a minute, it looked like mine was lost, but
turned out to only be hiding!
Here is a Favorite Mouse!
This is as Good as it Gets!!!!!!!!
Next Page: 9. On to Kiscom
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