All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
“Snoozy Bear” was just another of the endless variety of bears and dolls that I never ceased to try to put to sleep. Snoozy Bear had nothing special going for him, other than the fact that I liked the styling, which I borrowed intact, bed included, from an earlier effort called “Kidanimals.” That promising concept was literally lost in transit. Now, all that remained was a few drawings. Kidanimals, otherwise known as “Mother Nature’s Children” were half human, from the waist up, and all ainimal, below the belt, or what would have been below the belt if not for the fact that they didn't wear any belts, or, for that matter, any pants. Snoozy looked exactly like his Kidanimal predecessor, “Bear Bottom,” except he was all bear above the belt, as well.
His mechanism would be simple, causing him to close his eyes and fall asleep, soon after he was set down. A lot of dolls did this, when I was a kid. It was called “open and close eyes,” and they worked by gravity. Snoozy was a lot like those, except, being electronic, he took his time to slowly close his eyes, and then, he snored as well.
Here is a doll that operated on the same principal as Snoozy; only she drank from a bottle, before she fell asleep. This doll, and others like it, should have taught me a lesson: If you want to sell a feature doll, you, damned well, better have a working model. Just a drawing and a written explanation doesn’t cut it. That is, unless you are working with someone extraordinarily, like Peter Pook, at Fisher Price. Peter had the imagination to see beyond a drawing, and if he liked the concept, or even just the styling, he would ask you to make a prototype. Now, you knew that there was, at least, one major customer who thought the idea was a good one, and investing the time to make a prototype was more likely to prove to be worthwhile. Sometimes, if Peter really liked a concept, based on a drawing, he’d hire a model shop to make it for you.
And here’s another doll I found last night. It seems vaguely related. I suppose the idea is really more about the baby bottle than the baby, and the drawing seems more than a little creepy. But, as the entire page is sleepy, rather than let the drawing disappear forever, I might as well just add it here.