Mel Birnkrant presents:
          Shortly after Baby Face I did a product that can best be described as Baby Face as a DOG!   It was a very realistic puppy, fully posable and jointed, like Baby Face, with plastic eyes and soft ears.  We called the product, “REAL PUPPY!”  This product board spelled out and explained the features:
         The pups were intended to emulate several different breeds, through slight variation in sculpture and more dramatic variation in color.  They also had tails that wagged at the slightest touch, and mouths that opened and closed to display very detailed teeth and tongues.  A hidden squeaker made puppy sounds when the mouth was moved!  And each pup was "flocked" to give it a soft feel.
         As with Baby Face, I created three Sculpey prototypes.  These photos show the original clay model in progress, and also some shots of the unfinished Sculpey models.
          Then with the help of my best friend, I made what turned out to be a disarmingly irresistible video tape, staring "Pee Wee, the Movie Cat" in his first major role!  When "Pee" appeared at the front door to find three Puppies, waiting to be let in, he stole the show, and sold the pups at the same time!  This time, to Mattel, who saw the tape and fell in love with my best buddy, Pee Wee!
         Mattel is the ultimate "Thank You for the product, See you at Toy Fair," company.  So, we never heard or saw anything until Toy Fair.  They renamed the product, calling it, "My Very Own Puppy"!  Alas, the new name was the only part of the project that had been changed for the better!  The articulation had been largely eliminated, and the pups had become more like statues than posable "dolls."  The tails hardly wagged, The mouth hardly moved.  And the squeakers were barely audible, if they worked at all.  The look had remained reasonably similar to mine, though they had re-sculpted it.  We later learned that, at one point, four sculptors worked on the project at the same time, each sculpting a single leg!  That's how they do things at Mattel!

The pups were packaged in a cute box that was shaped like a dog house, but the box was badly engineered so it tended to fall apart in the stores. There were ten or twelve different breeds produced!  They were distributed throughout the country, but the test markets, where Mattel ran commercials produced results that were adequate, but not spectacular.  So, they didn't run commercials nationwide, and the product was allowed to phase out.  This photo is one I found on Italian eBay.  The breed of dog was Beagle.  The asking price was 300 Euros.  That’s more than I made!
         I have no photos of the finished puppies, and good old Mattel wouldn't even give us a catalogue.  That's typical!  So the only peek, I can offer you, at the final product is this snapshot of Eunice in Miami Beach, holding a "puppy" as well as the "So Surprised Suzie", we sent my mother.
         It’s not the best picture of Eunice and she probably will be upset that I posted it, but it will let you readers experience for themselves the Before and After Surprise that awaits one, when one sees what happened to their product, once it has been transformed by the “Magic” of Mattel!  What they produced was heartbreaking, compared to what this product could have been.
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