“Everyday Kids” has to be one of the kinkiest concepts I ever came up with. Clearly, it was evidence of my own innocence and incurable naiveté! I really don’t know what got into me! Perhaps, I fell under the influence of Mickey Mouse and Minnie! As this box cover for Mickey Mouse undies indicates, throughout the 1930s and 40s, a young lady’s underwear was intended to be seen. And in my kindergarten days, the sight of it was commonplace.
And so, I envisioned a line of dolls, based on, of all things, little girl’s monogrammed panties, not realizing that this idea was plumbing new depths of impropriety. Now, twenty-five years later, I find it hard to believe that it seemed like a genuinely good idea at the time. But, honestly, it really did! The fact that it might be ill-conceived never occurred to me.
If you follow my thinking, you will see the logic of the concept. I was contemplating a line of dolls, and looking for a likely theme. One possibility was theming the dolls on color, one doll for every color in the rainbow or the basic colors in a box of Crayola crayons. This resulted in the drawing below, which was, at the time, called, “Colorful Kids.”
Simultaneously, I did a sort of companion concept. And that is the one that is featured on this page. Still exploring themes, I considered a series of twelve dolls, each representing a month of the year. These could become visual by tying each one to her birthstone. I had already explored this subject in a concept called Baby World, in which each baby had a birthstone in its navel. That, I realize now, was also slightly off the wall.
Furthermore, twelve dolls might have been too big a bite for a toy company to swallow, even though, it did allow each potential customer to choose the month that she was born. Continuing on, I asked myself how I could cut the number down? The logical conclusion was that the number of dolls could be reduced to seven by basing the theme on the seven days of the week. But how could week days become visual? That is when the idea of embroidered panties came to me. The rest is history! Each doll would wear a pair of pretty panties embroidered with the name of her day. And each doll, from "Mary Monday" to, "Suzie Sunday," would also have a day related name.
As a kid this tradition fascinated me. Imagine having a different pair of panties, monogrammed for each day of the week. Even the mere thought of changing ones underwear every day seemed exotic to me. The basic concept was continued, and further refined, at the affluent upper middle class high school I attended, Mumford High. Among Mumford’s spoiled and pampered female student body, there was rumored to be a somewhat secret sorority, referred to as the “Cashmere Sweater Club.” All that was required to become a member was to own and wear a different cashmere sweater, each day of the month!
My partners, Kiscom presented both the above concepts to Fisher Price. Miraculously, they chose to manufacture one, the Colorful Kids, which became “Color Me Cuties.”
Meanwhile, the “Everyday Kids” art was returned to me, where it has remained for the past quarter century, unseen, until today.
Who, ultimately became the "Play Along Club."
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT