Mel Birnkrant's
Mel Birnkrant's
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
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          I can’t believe I did these things!  And I can't remember what I called them.  It sure as Hell wasn’t “Neety Feeties.”  My God, I hate that name!  This was another concept that we socked to Harvey Zelman.  I don’t believe that there were any drawings, although, I won’t be surprised if some turn up, someday.

As I recall, I just went out and bought some colored socks, and a pair of sneakers.  Then, like a sweet little old lady, sewing goodies for the church bazar, I sat down, with needle and thread, and made them.  I didn’t need a sketch to explore the possibilities of what they would look like.  I whipped them out with the same intuitive certainty that a bird relies upon to build a nest.  My Grandma Heckingbottom, would have been proud of me!
          Then, I gave each one a belly button, a shoelace for a hair ribbon, and shoe buttons for eyes.  Last of all, I put some wheels on the sneakers, and that was that!
         Miraculously, I snapped these three photographs, which I rediscovered last week, and then, we gave the project to Harvey Zelman.  That was the end of it!  I never got the samples back again, or heard a word about the outcome.
          Of course, I forgot all about these.  Can you blame me?   And they never crossed my mind again, until last week.  When I unpacked the large box that has held the Toss-Ups samples, I was amazed to find, on the very bottom of the box, these samples, which I was soon to discover, Harvey named, “Neely Feeties!”  My God! he made them, after all!

The packaging is curious. It replicates a sneaker racer, which would make no sense at all to someone who never saw the prototypes.  And some of the colors are, to put it mildly, dull!  The reference to those sneaker race cars continues in the sell line, which states that these are “Soft Friends for Kids in the Fast Lane, ages 3 and up!  This item is something I might have done when I was working for Austen Display, at the age of 21.