Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of REAL LITTLE NURSERY and other
Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright
(c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB
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The accessories were to be packaged in a similar fashion. Large photos would show each accessory in use with the actual item in a blister pack below. Here’s a Playschool Glowworm that, just like the real one, lights up when you squeeze its tummy. The box as well is an exact reproduction of the original, complete in every detail, right down to the tiny orange price tag in the upper right hand corner.
Kiscom first showed the project to Howard Bollinger, the product manager at Kenner. Howard was the man most responsible for all the Kenner action figures. He loved the Real Little Nursery and reportedly said it was "the finest presentation he had ever seen”. But when he presented it to upper management and they just didn't "get it". To them it was a doll without a feature. And, as was always the case with almost every doll I ever created, they asked "What does it do? Howard argued that the feature was its realism and marketing position, and as Andy put it, fell on his sword for Real Little Nursery. But it simply didn't move them, and Howard reluctantly returned it to us.
Next, Andy flew to California to show Real Little Nursery to Mattel. On the morning of his appointment he dropped in to visit our “pal” Gary Niles, who, thanks to a series of events, resulting from the success of Magic Diaper Babies [in Europe], was now in the drivers seat at Galoob. It was Gary, who more or less made the decision to kill off Baby Face. Andy said, "By the way, Gary, I'm on my way to show a Mel's latest doll concept to Mattel this afternoon. Maybe you would like to see it.
So out of his bag came Real Little Nursery and Gary LOVED IT! At the same time he was challenged and somewhat offended. Why would you show this to Mattel instead of ME? What about ME? Let ME do it! I Can Do It! And to bolster his bravado he offered Andy an irresistibly generous advance and guarantee. And so it happened that going to Mattel one day, Real Little Nursery was led astray.
Gary swore that he grasped the concept, and promised he would execute it to perfection. Nonetheless, he hired a pair of highly inexperienced and unqualified women to oversee and mange the project. Argumentative and defensive, they were in over their heads. I will never forget our initial meeting. They didn't have a clue, or understand the basic concept. The premise that the dolls and accessories had to be realistic and authentic totally escaped them. After the meeting, Andy looked at me and said, "Mel, they just don't get it! We haven't got a chance of this succeeding. Just be happy we got some money and forget it! Let’s move on to the next thing?”