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“KIDANIMALS”
             When it comes to Lost Toys, this one was literally lost, lost in the mail!  The little story that went with it is lost too, but it sort of went like this:

              The “KIDANIMALS” were “Mother Nature’s Children”.  They were half kid and half animal.  And they lived in an “ENCHANTED FOREST”. It was their job to keep the forest neat and tidy and all the other forest creatures safe and happy.

Mel Birnkrant's
              In the Spring the Kidanimals planted seeds.  In Summertime they frolicked in the sunlight as they tended the young saplings and watched them grow.  And in the Autumn the Kidanimals joyously harvested Mother Nature’s bounty, and stored it away to see them through the long cold Winter.  When at last, their work was done “Old Man Winter” himself visited the forest and covered it in a soft blanket of snow.  Safe and cozy in their little boroughs, the Kidanimals slept peacefully, dreaming of the day when spring would, once again, awaken the Enchanted Forest, and life would bloom anew.    
           The presentation consisted of six dolls, six drawings, and an illustration four feet long.  Adam discovered on a trip to California that the large illustration board was really too big to carry on a plane, so he had an 8”X 10” transparency made, which is what you see above and below.
            I drafted full scale drawings of the dolls, and we hired a very talented young lady who had worked for Henson Associated to create the six patterns and sew a prototype of each.  We searched together for furry fabrics in the shops along Canal Street in Manhattan.   When the prototypes were done I took them home to do the faces. 

           Some rather blurry Polaroid photos of them on my desk during that process, and a few others shot in the back yard when they were finished are all that remains of Kidanimals today.   The final photo shows Fritz (the cat), gazing wistfully over his shoulder at the dolls in their shipping carton and bidding them adieu.

            What happened then was Bizarre; Adam showed them first to Playmates in California, who immediately said they “Wanted them”.  A few days later Adam and Andy arrived for our weekly meeting with a bottle of Champaign to celebrate the sale.  But our joy was short lived, for within a week Playmates contacted us to say another inventor had come in with a similar concept.  They foolishly showed him the Kidanimals to prove they were already working on them.  And, according to Playmates, he went Crazy, claiming we stole the concept from him, and threatening to sue!  Consequently, Playmates got scared and dropped the project like a hot potato.  And that was it!  We never heard any follow up.  Who knows if it was even true?

              Kiscom continued to show the Kidanimals to other manufactures, but, by and large, they didn’t “get it”.  Most thought that half kids half animals were weird.  There were lots of smaller toy companies in those days to show products to . One of those, I’ve forgotten who, claimed they “lost the samples in the mail”.  And thus, the Kidanimals were gone forever and soon forgotten too.  There were too many other projects to do.
             Speculating that they ended up in some kids bedroom, we moved on to the next project, which was called “ANIMOBILES”.  Animobiles were half automobile and half animal. Was I in a rut, or what?  We later changed the name to “ANIMAX”.

            Thus, for 25 years, the Kidanimals hibernated in the deepest boroughs of my mind, sleeping peacefully beneath a blanket of snow, most of which has fallen long ago.  Coming across these photos the other day rekindled memories of way back when.  And Springtime returned to the Enchanted Forest, awakening the Kidanimals for one final frolic on the Internet, and then to sleep again. 
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of  KIDANIMALS and other
Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright
(c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB

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