All Original Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
You might have heard me say this before, but I believe it bears repeating. If you mention to anybody who knows you are a toy inventor that you just designed a new doll, they will inevitably ask the same question: “What does it do?” Everyone expects a doll invention to do something, something new, something a doll, or for that matter, a human being, never did before. In order to be sold, a doll invention is expected to do something extraordinary. And how it looks is secondary.
That makes me something of an anomaly, for none of the dolls I made, over the years, that managed to succeed ever did anything! Their appeal was always visual; and in the artless world of toy inventing, merely looking good is a hard sell! Because of that, I never stopped trying to cram some feature into a doll. My attempts were multitudinous, and often comical. As the repertoire of what real live babies do is limited, my so-called product features often bordered on the surreal. By the way, most of them failed.
A perfect example of one such attempt is the doll, below. We called her “Baby Tender Touch,” (that’s kinda creepy!) or “Baby Tender Heart,” (that’s better, heartwarming and touching!) When "Baby Tender Heart" was touched or picked up, her heart began to glow!
Rather than going to the trouble of making a prototype, we took a chance on trying to sell the concept, or at least get some positive feedback, based on just a couple of drawings. God knows, I had no problem sculpting a doll that was appealing. Perhaps, in this case, I should have made the effort. The concept might have sold, based on her looks alone. The product description, below, reveals what she did. And the drawing that follows it shows how she did it.
Looking back at my sometimes lazy life, I realize that toy inventing was never easy. I learned the hard way that there are is no shortcut to success. In retrospect, I can’t help wondering what might have happened if I had gone the extra mile to make a working model. What do you think? If one could hold her in their hands, and see her tender heart begin to glow, would Baby Tender Heart have sold?