All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
Here’s another super bummer! This one was called “Painted Ponies,” “The Horse of a Different Color” Due to the success of “My Little Pony” my partners were forever encouraging me to horse around with ponies. So, over the years, I made ponies that were beautiful, ponies that were mechanical, ponies that hid makeup in their saddles, ponies that galloped, ponies that flew, and ponies that came in every color of the rainbow.
As far as pony ideas go, Painted Ponies was the lamest one of all. Nonetheless, it was the only pony product that we actually sold. It was based on the same kind of temperature change paint that was used with great success in our bestselling concept, the Magic Diaper Babies. Each pony had secret pre-printed designs that were invisible to the naked eye, but appeared like magic with the application of cold water. Then, when warm water was applied, the designs disappeared. The presentation boards are self-explanatory.
The reaction to the concept was positive, but Galoob said that the paint was too expensive, while Mattel claimed that they were already working on a similar product with paint that was dramatically superior.
In spite of several negatives, the concept was sold twice. First, to a company, called, "Dream Castle" in 1994. They gave us an advance of $10G, and then, returned the product. A year later, we sold the Painted Ponies to a company, called, "Ace." They paid the same advance and guarantee, and planned to introduce the product in 1995. One of those two companies actually produced working production samples, and mocked up the card below.
They even made up a nauseating story about the origin of the Painted Ponies, and how "they leaped onto the land," from a "huge wave, in a color magic ocean." It appeared on the package back.
Once again, I learned the hard way that there is a vast expanse of wishful thinking, between pale Reality, and Technicolor Fantasy.
I don’t know if the product was ever sold. The three ponies below, are actual production models. The way work, or, I should say, don’t work, is really awful. To shoot the photograph, below, I put the ponies in the freezer, and when they were sufficiently cold, I quickly took this photo. Then, without moving the ponies or the camera, I warmed them up with a hair dryer, and the printed designs disappeared. Look carefully! The effect is very subtle! This, alas, is a far cry from the brilliant and dramatic colors I imagined in the drawings.