The Story of the PlayAlong Club Dolls
~ by Mel Birnkrant

Page 4
~ THE HOPSCOTCH CLUB ~

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Meanwhile, Play Along didn’t like the name "Acorn Family" or the Family Tree idea. Maybe it was just too big a concept, Ha! They came up with another, "The Hopscotch Club", and planned to introduce three dolls, instead of 35. The package cleverly resembled a club house, with a piece of chalk included for playing hopscotch. The acorn in one ear became a butterfly. I liked it.

And that is how they showed it, in a private office at Toy Fair. They hadn’t had the time to make a grand presentation, so rather than not showing it at all, they invited just their major buyers in to test their reaction.

The Obb and I were invited to see it too. We loved what they had done! And so too did their major buyers. Well, that is to say, they liked it well enough to say they’d try it, which was all that Play Along had hoped to hear. And thus, the President of the company announced, while we were there, that he was definitely "doing it for the coming year!"

The Play Along Club

Between then and now, it was discovered that the Hopscotch name was taken, so the "Hopscotch Club" became the "Play along Club". I like that better! The piece of chalk remained.

In the days that followed, Play Along fleshed out the project. Fashions and accessories were created and charming stories written. I had given the dolls common names that were essentially generic. But Play Along took the opposite approach and gave each doll a name that is unique. Jessica Jones became Olivia Reese, Samantha Smith is Sophie Kate, and  Betty Brown is now called Zoe Madison. Each is a distinct individual. I like that better too. May they have many wonderful adventures together … and live happily…. ever after.

A few days ago several big boxes arrived at the front door. I carried them up into the hall.

Out popped the "Play Along Club" dolls.

And so it was, my Friendz n’ Family had come home again, all grown up, five long years later. And they were REAL!

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Prototype Photos and Story Text copyright (c) 2007 Mel Birnkrant and the Obb
PlayAlong Stock Photos (c) PlayAlong Toys Inc.
Trollz photo (c) Hasbro Inc.
Web Page Design Copyright 2007 (c) PrillyCharmin's Dolls