All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
Harry Kislevitz, the president of Colorforms, had a favorite pet expression that he used frequently. It was meant to be slightly derogatory, and signified putting together two things that really didn’t go together. He would describe that situation as, “Mixing Kinney with Minnie.” I guess, in retrospect, that’s what “Busy Bottles” were all about. The combining of two elements that ordinarily wouldn’t be, or shouldn’t be combined. In this case, Kinney and Minnie materialized as mixing water puzzles with baby bottles, to create a sort of combination puzzle game and doll accessory.
In 1992, there was a series of novelty water puzzles, currently on the market, that captured my attention. I believe they were imported from Japan. I adapted one of these to use as a working model, and converted it into a baby bottle. With this item, a little girl could feed her doll, and play an action game at the same time. I also contemplated printing the outside of the bottle. I felt that each bottle could hold a kind of fantasy world, inside. And if the outside of the bottle was printed selectively, the images would combine with the elements inside to create a feeling of 3D.
As the second photo illustrates, the art of printing on baby bottles had developed to become very colorful and attractive in those days. Therefore, I visualized Busy Bottles as a series of fantasy Baby Bottle doll accessories, each one, of which would convey a theme, and create the illusion that there was a Magical World, inside.
When the bottle was turned upside down, the act of simply pressing the nipple, would send a stream of water upward, and move the animated pieces around. These pieces could be as simple as balls, or as complex as miniature sculpted objects. Thus, Busy Bottles could be challenging games, as in the sample I adapted, or they might just be Miniature Worlds of Fantasy, in which the tiny figures could, seemingly, come to life.
KISCOM showed the Busy Bottles to many potential buyers. One toy company expressed interest in packaging them with a doll. Another, called, Playtime, wanted to see them with Coka Cola, and Seven Up themes, And Fisher Price explored the possibility of their being real baby bottles. But in the end, nobody bought them. And the concept was returned to me.