Mel Birnkrant's
Mel Birnkrant's
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
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          This is a group of haphazard novelties.  None of them managed to succeed. In fact, I doubt that my partners even showed them to anybody.  These sketches have been clogging my computer for years.  I might as well unload them here.  Most of these ideas are lame, nonetheless, there are a couple of concepts among them that I still think are really great. 

         
The first and best idea in the group is one that I would produce myself if I had the means. In my humble opinion, it is not only a product line that should be manufactured, it’s something so simple, logical, and straightforward that it could become a classic.  The point of this concept is all explained in its name: “Pin Heads!” What could more straightforward than that? If you’re tired of using Push Pins or dull flat headed thumb tacks, then you definitely need Pin Heads.
          “Pin Heads” was the best idea. They’re followed by some uninspired variations, and applications, consisting of a few themed bullion boards.  The first offers a way to organize the bits and pieces of odd notes and papers that litter one’s home.  And the Pin Heads are a litter of kitties.  Get it?
          They say a fishy concept stinks from the (Pin) Head.
          Something tells me that “tacky” here suggests more than thumb tacks. In fact, I now suspect this idea may not be ecologically, or politically, correct.
          For all the big game hunters, out there, or those that have Safari Hang Ups, here is a set of hunting trophies that adhere to the refrigerator by hidden suction cups.  It’s so much fun to hang your car keys or  pot holders on a tiger's tongue.
          Garfield and Odie have become “Happy Hookers.” They hang around the bath or kitchen, by means of secret suction cups.  What’s that Garfield? What do you mean, “This sucks!”?
         The following are a bunch of light up key chains.  In this first variation, an ordinary looking battery is actually a flashlight.
         Each of these next novelties, contains a button battery and bright red LED.  I offer these bright ideas, with apologies to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and ET.
         This brilliant concept is not for kids, but on the other hand, these light beverage flashlights could also be themed to diet drinks like “Pepsi” and “Coke Lite!”
         These are a series of character flashlights. They represent popular licensed characters, each interacting with a tiny powerful LED.  Their bodies would be just large enough to hold a button battery.  This concept could be applied to keychains and even jewelry.
         This concept was such a natural that it must have been done already. Each keychain is a miniaturized working variation on the classic eight ball fortune telling game..
          These keychains are electronic.  Each one would contain a button battery and a small bit of technology.  The keyboard and the boom box (now obsolete?) would have a music chip inside, and the flash camera would contain a tiny LED.
          “Money Munchers” are flexible vinyl purses, small enough to be a keychain, but large enough to contain a few coins of spare change, to pay a toll or buy a drink, in an emergency.  I outdid myself on this one with over the top punnery: "The Purse with Purseonality!"
          “Key Keepers” would be a secret place to carry a spare key, hidden in plain sight on a keychain.  They might be cute animals or licensed characters.
          “Pen Pals” would be a perfect place for nerds, like me, to carry a pen, without a chance that it might leak.  Any number of popular licensed characters could clip onto the breast pocket of the wearer, and hold a pen securely. 
          “Buckle Buddies” are an instant way to turn an ordinary belt buckle into a thing of beauty!
          “Hip Clips” are both fun and functional!  They can be a cool way to organize your papers, or just a decorative accent to peek out of a pocket.  When I was a kid, I had a clever pocket clip of the then popular wartime character, called, “Killroy.”  I wore it to school every day, and loved it.
         Another popular fad that dated from the same era was the charm bracelet.  Some of the tiny charms were quite amazing, and actually did things.  Somewhere around here, I still have a tiny head of Charlie McCarthy with a moving mouth.  There was also a series of Disney characters that I found fascinating.  So here they are, “Chatty Charms!”  Perhaps they are more wishful thinking than practical.
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          “Note Nippers” would be a series of handy clips to hold a note, or whatever in their teeth, and adhere to any shiny surface, such as a refrigerator door, by means of a secret suction cup.
          I came across this mildly amusing ancient sketch last week, It dates back to my earliest days.  It is a sort of desk set.  I threw it in here, impulsively, to preserve it, momentarily, before it’s thrown away.
         This idea, a cute way to "conceal and carry" nail clippers, sure looks like a winner to me.  it is a pleasant novelty that I, myself, would buy in a heartbeat.
         These last two items are my favorites!  In my humble opinion, if they had been manufactured when I was a kid in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they might have become iconic classics, deserving of an honored place in the “Gags and Novelties Hall of Fame.” On the other hand, they might have been considered too risqué.  “Mooning” was perhaps unknown in those days, but flashing is as old as history. 
        Sports ball beach wallets are the perfect place to carry your valuables when you go swimming in the sea.  They are just the right size to hide your money, or your lunch, inconspicuously.
         This bunch of Talking Trophy Heads are bound to be a roaring success.  Alas, they;re no longer Ecologically Correct.
         And these military miniatures would be considered even worse!
         Here’s another bright idea!  Each of these attractive pins has got at least one LED, and some may have as many as three.  Others might include a sound chip too.
          Jiggle Jewelry springs to life, because there is a spring inside.  It wiggles and jiggles, whenever the wearer moves.
          Body Action novelties rock and rotate, powered by a secret counterweight.
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         No collection of novelties would be complete without some of “the kind men like!”  These two concepts are reminiscent of a different age, the one in which I endeavored to grow up.  Nudity was naughty then and smoking was not yet obsolete.