All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
“Sunshine and Rainbows” “The Weather Pets” I loved this sweet innocent concept! It seemed so simple and tangible when I drew it, so many years ago. In retrospect, I wonder if its product features were even possible, or practical. Their simplicity was deceptive. And, now, all these years later, I wonder if it was deceiving me. Nonetheless, just taken at face value, the styling is appealing, even without the features.
What were the product features? There were two. The first was their noses. These, hopefully, could change from blue to pink to predict the weather, or, in more realistic terms, indicate the moisture in the air. Throughout my childhood, weather predicting novelties were commonplace. This iconic image was everywhere that souvenirs were sold. His name was Diaper Dan. His fuzzy diaper turned pink when the skies were clear, and changed to blue when rain was due. This concept was directly related to our own Magic Diaper Babies. I suggested that the Weather Pets could have noses that were coated with this unique material, provided, it proved to be nontoxic.
The second feature involved colors that appeared in sunshine or bright light. This presented another problem: how to apply such imagery to the fabric? Harder still, was how to manufacture this? In a factory that is brightly lit, I guess. Nevertheless, even if they did nothing, Sunshine and Rainbows were attractive. Here, we see them in their full-color identities. This is the way that they appear when the sun shines brightly. Their snow white fur becomes a perfect summer sky. The sun comes out as a patch on Sunshine’s eye. While, Rainbow’s face becomes a fluffy cloud, with the sun, peeking at us from behind. And both their tails sport rainbow stripes.
Here they are again, Sunshine and Rainbows, looking pretty in their rain bows.
And, whether it’s a cold wintry day, or a rainy one in summer, the Weather Pets love to dress up for the weather. I love the kitten mitten on Rainbow’s tail. And Sunshine in her rain attire takes me back to the 1950s, and memories of my own dog, “Schnauzer.” Schnauzer was his name, not his breed. He was actually, and officially a “mutt,” but, nonetheless he had an elegant set of dog goulashes, and a matching raincoat! Schnauzer was my first best friend as well as the first Weather Pet.
In the drawing above, Sunshine and Rainbows, put their best paws forward. The single diagrammatic page, below, pretty much sums the whole thing up. It graphically reiterates their features.
And, last of all, I couldn’t resist indulging in this surreal fantasy, a toy inventor’s pleasant dream.