This is “Ruff N’ Tumble!” He’s an Alligator Wrestler. Who among us has never wanted to wrestle an alligator? According to Ruff, who can also talk: “Nobody!” Coincidently, that same party, wanted to buy and manufacture this hot property! Poor Ruff, "Nobody" gave him a tumble!
This drawing is a fragment, a color copier image of a concept that, mercifully, I forgot. According to what I read here, Ruff is a bit of a braggart, spewing out smart-ass comments and insults. He’s always ready to rumble, but quick to take a tumble. And when wrestled to the mat, he immediately cries “Uncle!”
My feelings about this oddball remnant of my not so illustrious carreer are highly ambivalent. Nonetheless, after debating whether or not to include it here, I finally, on a whim, gave in. Perhaps, in an alternate universe, where concepts like this are possible, there might be a whole menagerie of battling animals, everything from World Federation Apes to Shadow Boxing Kangaroos.
In the time since I posted this meager entry, I discovered three more drawings. The first represents the very moment that Ruff made his appearance in my mind, or on a sheet of paper. His entire existence , or some might say nonexistence, took place on paper. I will insert this humble sheet of velum here. The colored version that follows, took the process one step farther.
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
Here are two more fragments that are remotely related. They represent two variations on the theme of a boxing kangaroo. This would be a sort of action plush. The base would be configured so he could rock, without falling over. In the first version his arms would spin to deliver uppercuts. In the second, he pummels his opponent playfully by swinging from side to side. Unfortunately, all these concepts got KO’d, before they had a chance to fight.