THE FINAL PRODUCT
DOGGIE BAG DOGGIES and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are
Copyright (c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB
On this final page, you will see the final product. Tyco really did the Doggies, Perfectly. I could not imagine them any better, even in my wildest dreams. We had tracked the puppies' progress, all along. And, when all was said and done, Tyco pulled out all the stops, and really did them right. Along the way, there had been discussions of possibly eliminating the flocking that made the vinyl faces fuzzy. That would have saved money and lowered the cost of producing them. But fuzzy won out, in the end. Furthermore, the bags, themselves, were made of tear proof paper, which was almost indestructible, but also expensive. I argued that this luxury wasn’t necessary, and plain paper, such as I had used, would do, especially, as Tyco had encased the Doggie Bags in a protective outer package of printed board and acetate, with a header that enabled them to be suspended on a rack display.
Here is that finished Package. I found the logo and the graphics to be very attractive, and the package back deliciously displayed a large assortment of different puppies. Bottom line, Tyco’s Doggies were adorable, and they came in a variety of colors, cute expressions, and different breeds.
And here is a selection of Doggie Bag Doggies that constitute the virgin contents of a complete packing case of production puppies that Tyco generously sent me, twenty-two years ago. It has remained unopened, hibernating, in the storage space, under the floor, behind my desk, until today. I will open it now, for the first time, and show you what’s inside.
And, here they are, a dozen genuine Doggie Bag Doggies! Believe me, lining them up and taking this photo wasn’t easy!
Early in 1996, the Doggie Bag Doggies began to appear on the hanging racks at Toys-R-Us And Richie Weintraub proudly showed them off to my partners and myself, when we toured the Tyco Showroom, at Toy Fair, in late February of that same year. There, the Doggie Bag Doggies starred in their own spectacular display area, and we got to see the 30 second Doggie Bag TV commercial that Tyco had created. We got to see it, for only that one time. I thought that it was more than adequate, but Richie explained, apologetically, that the finished commercial had been shown to focus groups, and it did not test well. Therefore, Tyco intended to shoot it over again. Unfortunately, they never did.
Here are the two pages that Doggie Bag Doggies occupied in the Tyco Catalogue, that year. I sense an untold story here: The Doggies shown in the catalogue appear to not be flocked. I guess, at this point, Tyco had decided to eliminate the flocking. And then, perhaps, they realized that they'd "flocked up," and put it back again.
And that was that! The Doggie Bag Doggies that had been shipped sold quickly. Nonetheless, Tyco, inexplicably, dropped the line. My partners and I never got an explanation why.
One year later, we traveled to Tyco, again, to show David and Richie a newly completed doll concept that was called “Special Deliveries.” The name later became “CODs,” which stood for “Cuddle on Delivery.” This time, KISCOM had learned to take me with them... to Tyco, anyway. And, Yes, the trip, just like the one a year before it, was a success. Both David and Richie exclaimed, instantly, “Were doing this!”
Then to my surprise, Richie pulled me aside, and contritely confessed that "He and Tyco owed me an apology." He told me that he really didn’t know why Tyco dropped the ball on Doggie Bag Doggies. They were actually selling well, but Tyco never made that proposed other commercial, or ran any TV at all. Then time ran out! My pups were simply neglected, he explained, as Tyco became diverted by other things, and Tyco was the only one to blame, the Doggies should have continued and survived, and would have if they had been treated right. Then Richie solemnly promised me that if we would trust Tyco with Special Deliveries, he would never let them suffer the same fate.
This incident, which I found to be both embarrassing and deeply troubling, is as close as KISCOM and I ever came to understanding how and why the Doggie Bag Doggies had been “put to sleep.”
And so, our tale, comes to an end. In spite of the apology from Richie, I will always wonder what really happened to the Doggie Bag Doggies. I guess, the answer to that question will forever remain a mystery. Meanwhile, there is another mystery, the answer, to which I still have hope of finding. To wit: What happened to my little Doggie? I mean that very first handmade sample that was left at Tyco, and became the model for all the Doggie Bag pups that followed. At times, of late, and especially now, while I was working on this webpage, I asked myself, time and again:
“OH, WHERE, OH, WHERE HAS MY LITTLE DOG GONE? ”
For years, I assumed that he remained behind at Tyco. But, recently, while researching this webpage, and searching for my secret cache of Doggie Bag Doggie samples that were supplied by Tyco, I discovered evidence that leads me to believe that he might have been returned to me, and must, in fact, be hiding, somewhere in this schoolhouse.
This supposition is based upon two clues. The first was found, last week, in a small box upstairs in the back room. It turned out to contain the three original half Doggies that hid within the paper bags, in my original presentation video. And there were the original first Doggie Bags as well. These, by the way, were actually real doggie bags that I begged for, from a local eatery. I believe that these incomplete doggies, were initially all left with Tyco, on that fateful day when my partners first showed them Doggie Bag Doggies. How else could Tyco have replicated their heads so perfectly?
One might speculate that even though, Tyco did, in fact, return these to me, they might have kept the main one of a kind canine that began it all. Nonetheless, I recently discovered photographic evidence that indicates he must have been returned to me, as well, and is hiding here somewhere. While trying to find the original photograph of the initial presentation, which was tucked in between the thousands of images stored in my computer, I stumbled across a group of photographs that I shot during the process of working on the very last product I began. I never finished it. It happened to be a series of doggies, intended to belong to the dolls that began as Friendz n’ Family, and became the Play Along Club Dolls.
Alas, while traveling along what, at the time, appeared to be the Road to Success, the Play Along Club Dolls were euthanized, midstream. This unhappy event hit me so hard that I couldn’t bring myself to complete the nearly finished puppies, which, by the way, were on their way to being the nicest dogs I ever made.
At any rate, I came across a series of photos that I managed to take of this new puppy, when he was in the sculpting stage. And there, sitting beside the Mickey mirror that I used to make sure whatever I was sculpting was symmetrical, I believe I spotted a lost friend. Is that not my elusive little Doggie, in the background, looking slightly blurry? I could swear it's him, my very first Doggie Bag Doggie, watching me, and inspiring me, as I created yet another puppy.
Those new puppies, incidentally, were carried nearly to completion. All their heads were cast in latex with a variety of expressions, along with all the body parts, ready to be assembled, and lacking just the flocking. At the time, I purchased several huge throw pillows of animal heads. I intended to cut them up to use their fabric for the legs and ears of the new puppies. Those pillows kicked around in the storage area under the floor, for years, unused, and always in the way. Therefore, three years ago, I gave them to my grandson, Sammy, knowing that, once and forever, I was sealing the fate of the new puppies. They will never happen now. All the heads and paws and bodies along with the molds and clay sculptures are stored in boxes, way back in the secret storage area, under the floor. They would be impossible to get to, without a major upheaval. And so, I find myself wondering if my little lost doggie, might have tumbled into one of those boxes, as I stored them away. Perhaps, that's where he's hiding, now. If that is so, I’ll never know.