All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
“Loudmouth” was an audacious concept. Imagine a megaphone, that looked as loud and offensive as it might sound, like something out of a surreal 1930 black and white cartoon. The idea seemed like a natural to me, the way that megaphones ought to be. Not only, would it look dynamic, it would also be adaptable to an endless variety of themes. And, as a prototype would be easy to build, I went out and bought a megaphone, and in the course of one busy afternoon, transformed it into a Loudmouth. Then I whipped out a bunch of drawings of thematic variations. A few days later, I gave the presentation to KISCOM. And they, enthusiastically, went out to sell it.
It must have tickled someone’s fancy, as they promptly stole it. I don’t mean the concept; I mean the thing, the prototype, and several of the drawings. I never saw them again. By now, it would have been no more than a forgotten memory, if not for the fact that, for once, I shot a few colored slides, before the presentation went out the door, and these are now all that remains. I stumbled across them yesterday, tucked arbitrarily into a Carousel tray of slides that I shot at the Bil Baird auction.
There were many more designs than those that you are about to see, but I was surprised and thankful to find these. I believe, the most natural adaptations would be customizing Loudmouth for various sports teams. Here is an attempt to represent The National Football League.
Baseball could be represented by the famous New York Yankees. But the fact is plain that Loudmouths could be manufactured with the logo, cap, and colors of the home team of every city in the Nation.
Perhaps, when I drew this, I was thinking of the Detroit Tigers, the only baseball team I knew, when I was growing up. What a terrible looking tiger! Oh well, the idea is conveyed. Perhaps this is as good a place as any to mention an additional feature, illustrated by this timely ad. It advertised what they called a Musical Powerhorn. Which was, essentially, a megaphone, like ours, but in addition to amplifying the users voice, it also played 94 prerecorded tunes, with room for composing more, and permitting the user to join in. So, in the case of some of the loudmouths here, we might have added prerecorded content too, like a repertoire of “GRRRS and ROARS” for the tiger below.
And here is a Loudmouth with a military theme. In the days that this was done, GI Joe was all the rage. I like the way the volume adjustment knob displays a star and stripes motif.
This Cool Loudmouth is for Cheer Leaders, or attendees of rock concerts. Its electronics present an opportunity to do something similar to the the Powerhorn, shown in the ad above, and include nearly one hundred prerecorded tunes, with which to sing along out LOUD!
This Loudmouth is on the cutting edge of class and elegance. It is the Rolls Royce of Megaphones, the PA system of choice, for those who have a Motor Mouth. Below it, is the mighty Bike Blaster, the Loudmouth that proclaims that “Bike lives Matter,” attached to a bike's handlebar.
For those who like to monkey around, and chatter like a chimpanzee, or holler like the Mighty Kong, we present the majestic Monkey Mouth. Best of all, he comes with a prerecorded Tarzan yell. Or if you prefer to bellow like a bull, we recommend the bellicose Bull Horn, below.
I was really having fun with these, not taking them too seriously. This page was just for fun. Here are two extremes. Which one would you prefer to be? I am somewhere in between. Both might come with prerecorded content. The nerdy one would say a lot of annoying things. The second, on the other hand, is the undiluted essence of the macho man. He comes preprogrammed with a shitload of random obscenities. One never knows what he will say. He also does a variety of wolf whistles and cat calls, that never fail to capture the attention, if not the admiration, of passing ladies.
While sketching this, I was struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration, How about adding a secret stream of water, in the form of a hidden built in water gun? This would have been a unique feature, something that up to then or now, has never been done. Is that because the idea is so original, or just because it is so dumb? Oh! Creativity is such fun!
This last drawing is my favorite! It is the only one that I would put forth seriously. This might be a truly brilliant novelty, if I do say so myself. Here we are with a World changing election, and two National conventions just weeks away. I could see these really selling! Along the same lines, I am imagining a pair of Loudmouths in the spitting images (water guns included) of Donald and Hillary.