All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
I have no idea who these "Lucky Devils" are, or what they were intended for, but I’ve always liked them. They were just doodles that I drew, in a few impulsive minutes, many years ago, with no purpose in mind. Perhaps, they harkened back to my Second World War childhood. In that era, similar images were plentiful. I recall small creatures called Gremlins, created by the author, Roald Dahl. Disney picked them up with the intention of making them into a movie. He never did. Nonetheless, some Disney Gremlin products were produced. I had a Gremlins jigsaw puzzle that fascinated me. It depicted a wounded warplane, barreling towards the earth in flames. There was a crowd of gremlins, scampering on the wings, doing damage. This was a powerful and mystifying image, in which the Gremlins appeared to be both cute and deadly.
There was a candy store across the street from Hampton School. Among the many novelties they sold there, was a series of pins of Kilroy of “Kilroy Was Here” fame. They were intended to fasten inside one’s breast pocket so his long nose could peek over the edge. They were made of Bakelite. over time, I acquired the whole series, they were fully sculpted in different positions, and only ten cents each.
If there is any rhyme or reason for these “Lucky Devil” drawings, it might be found in the above traditions. I hesitate to call this a project, but, whatever it was, it never went beyond the eleven characters, below. I whipped them out spontaneously, and liked them well enough to color them with markers. Perhaps, I thought they could become small bendable figures that adults, like yours truly, might collect, in the belief they brought good luck.
I’ve misplaced many projects, over the years, and, whenever I look for one of them, these Lucky Devils inevitably pop up. I just can’t seem to lose them. And every time I see them again, they appear to be the worse for wear. So, before the get any more messed up, I decided I should post them here. They’ve never been seen by anyone, before.