Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of FRIENDZ N' FAMILY, ACORN FAMILY, PLAY ALONG CLUB
and other Products and Images created by Mel Birnkrant are Copyright
(c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB
The final step in creating a presentation was to photograph my Friendz ‘n Family. Little did I realize that the photographs I was taking would prove to be more popular, and enjoy more longevity than the dolls, themselves. The photos that I shot that day have even invaded Russia, where they have had an influential impact. Just one peek at the Russian search site Yandex will instantly indicate how popular these photos are there, especially among Russian doll ladies, who I have followed in translation, as they carry on long conversations, speculating incorrectly on how the dolls were made. Some have even tried to emulate them, using just a needle and thread.
For the original presentation the photographs were edited down to a few iconic poses that have since been reproduced time and again. Now, I am going back to the original camera card and gathering some of the subtle variations that have never been seen, and never would have been. I will include them here, in a series of heavily packed slide shows. As I stated earlier, the quickly changing images can be paused by right clicking. At that point, the arrested image can be copied. So, I am hoping that these new photos, too, will join the others that are already enjoying a kind of immortality, floating in Cyberspace, eternally.
I'll show the dolls in the order they were presented seventeen years ago, as a series of presentation boards, created on the oversized printer I owned at the time. Each character will be followed by the cover of a scrap book that might be included with each doll. The front covers were intended to feature each of the Friendz dolls, and the back cover reveal its Family, a subtle form of cross sell.
This is Betty Brown.
And here is her brother Bobby.
Together they are a Family.
And this is Jessica Jones.
Her sister’s name is Judy.
And they have a baby sister, Jennifer.
They are another Family.
And I’m Samantha Smith.
This is my little sister Suzie.
We are the Best of Friendz.
These photos, printed large and mounted on presentation boards, along with the seven dolls themselves, made up the original “Friendz n’ Family” presentation. There was also a video tape with narration by yours truly that really was quite awful. It was one of those embarrassing productions, in which I attempted to do children’s voices. Now that the presentation was complete, I called up The Obb and invited them to “Come and get 'em,” without disclosing what 'em might be.
So here they are, my Friendz ‘n Family, the best dolls I could do in 2002. Now, 17 years later, I can safely say, they were also the last dolls I would ever create.