Mel Birnkrant's
Mel Birnkrant's
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
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          The Scream Machines were just a minor effort.  Nonetheless, the concept was shown to everybody.  The presentation was about as lackluster as any I have ever attempted, but I realize, now that it is too late, that the idea was a good one.  The proof of that is twofold. One being that several years later, somebody actually did it.  I saw the images of essentially the same idea, nicely realized on the internet.  And then, I averted my gaze.  Even though, my life as a toy inventor was essentially over by then, I was not yet impervious to pain, and so I looked away and never bothered to save the images on my computer.  Secondly, six years later, Mattel did a line of Hot Wheel vehicles, using the same name, Scream Machines!

As for my humble presentation, it consisted of only a single page of colored drawings.  And that got lost, along the way.  All that remains is the black and white Minolta print, below, a tiny colored photograph that was tipped into my partner's record book, and an ugly color copy of the once bright colored art.  Some of the drawings were based on designs I did the year before for Monster Trucks.
          Monster Trucks were a far more enthusiastic presentation.  But as Mattel suddenly came out with a line of much tamer vehicles, called the “Attack Pack,” we never showed the Monster Tucks to anyone.  They were an utter waste of time and energy.  So discouraging!  I guess, if not for that, I would have taken Scream Machines more seriously.  If I had made a few sculpted prototypes of these, we might have sold them.  At any rate, last week, I found these remaining fragments of a long lost memory.  Here is the photograph.
          Of late, I have been digging deep, discovering scraps of almost good ideas that slipped between the cracks of time, and faded from my memory.  It’s a strange feeling to have lived long enough to find myself the subject of my own attempts at archeology, searching for the long lost fragments of the man I used to be.
         From this off-color photograph, I was able to retrieve the image below, with a little help from Photoshop.  I didnt think this was enough to create a page.
         And then, last week, I discovered this color copy.  It’s relatively primitive. But, together with the other fragments, it convinced me to include Scream machines on this growing list of toy ideas that never saw the light of day.