Mel Birnkrant's
Mel Birnkrant's
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
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        “Love Sisters” was one of the low points of my so-called career.  Created in 1989, it predated Baby Face by one year.  This icky sugar coated concept was my embarrassing surrender to mediocrity!   It demonstrates the degree to which I let my partners influence me, and how desperately I tried to please.

The name, “Love Sisters,” which was thought up and championed by Andy was one I found cringe worthy, from the get-go.  So much so, that I changed it, in midstream.  I had forgotten that, until last week, when I opened the brief case, below, which  for a quarter century, had remained closed, to discover that, somewhere, along the way, I applied patches to change the name to “Love n’ Kisses.”
         The very concept of “Loving Sisters” was fraught with irony for me.  My own two daughters, born seven years apart, were anything  but loving sisters. Their home life was a constant battle.  And the younger, being quick and nimble, could play her older sibling, like a piano.   Being a really corny daddy, my favorite TV show was Little House on the Prairie.  So, once a week, we parked ourselves in front on the TV, and wallowed in this syrupy drama of the loving Ingles family, in which the sisters adored each other, and their wise father, had all the answers.  I hoped that it would set a good example.  Meanwhile, my own two little angels, sat on the floor, before me, silhouetted against the screen, and squabbled!  Love Sisters, indeed!

          I have no idea what I used to sculpt the dolls.  They are really quite primitive, and it does not appear to be Super Sculpey.  The tiny figures actually had a feature!  When they kissed each other, (don’t throw up!) or even just got near each other, their hearts began to glow.  The mechanism was made by yours truly.  The lights were triggered magnetically.  I’d be hard pressed to replicate it today.  This is just one of those things that I did easily, in my early days, that amaze me, now, in my old age.
          Here is the original product write-up.  It was attached to the back of the first board.  The product was still called “Love Sisters,” when this was written.  Oh, wouldn’t life be lovely if all the schmaltzy platitudes my partners spewed out here were true!  It begins by stating, a thought that to them seemed obvious: “Love is Having a Sister!” Then, it goes on to rhapsodize:  “LOVE SISTERS love one another dearly.  They love to hug and kiss each other. When they do, their hearts glow with love!  This brings to mind an expression that was popular at the time: “Gag me with a spoon!”
          The rest of the presentation consisted of five product boards that suggest several variations and line extensions, including, twin sisters, twin pets, and an older sister Barbie’s age.  The final board represents the proposition that  there could be Love Sisters from every country in the world, complete with national costumes and accessories.  It illustrates the fact that “Love Sisters bring a message to the world that all little girls everywhere should love one another, for they are all sisters at heart.”
        Last of all, I shot this video. I don’t believe that it was ever shown.  I just edited the raw footage and added music, for which You Tube will probably bust me, yesterday.
          Alas, “Love Sisters” never got their chance to shower little girls everywhere in “Love n’ Kisses.” Can you believe they didn’t sell?  KISCOM’s records indicate that they were shown to many toy companies, beginning with Hasbro, in 1989,  and ending with Kenner and Mattel, who saw them, both in 1990, and again in 1995.  It seems that several companies had concepts in planning stages that were also based on sisters, and, as for the glowing hearts, they feared that they might break easily.  I guess, that’s the moral of this short story: “The toy industry is no place for toy inventors whose hearts break easily.” 

Sandwiched between  the presentation boards for “Love Sisters,” sometimes known as “Love n’ Kisses” I found this little colored drawing.  Clearly it is related.  It is based on the same kiss n’ glow principle, as Love Sisters, but rather than proving the supposition that sisters love each other, it attempts to answer the question: “Do bears kiss in the woods?”