All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
With my partners serving as my eyes and ears on the toy industry, I traveled wherever they led me; within reason, that is. Alas, at this moment in time, these neverending attempts to get into the toy-biz horse race seemed reasonable to me. Now, looking back on those bygone days, I realize that horsing around with horses was all a waste of time. We were just flogging a dead pony, so to speak. And we did it, repeatedly.
So, fast on the heels of the abject failure of My Beautiful Pony, we were hot to trot again. This attempt was called, “Cuddle N’ Comb Pony.” It was essentially intended to be a soft version of My Beautiful Pony, simplified and with an emphasis on that highly esteemed commodity in the girl’s toys repertoire, known as “hair play.” It seemed that what girls liked to do was comb and brush hair. In this case, we assumed that grooming a mane and tail would do. And so, I did the drawing below, which I must confess I find appealing. And it was all downhill from there. The outcome of this exercise in frustration was quite appalling, in the end. The end, being the prototype that you will see at the bottom of this page, after you endure the rest.
KISCOM got a major nibble from some company I can’t remember. Which, in itself, is a fact that tells me it was not likely to have been Hasbro or Mattel. And requests to expand on the projects horizons started coming, fast and furious. So, I added additional drawings, and the concept that began as just one piece of artwork appeared to be on its way to becoming a major entry.
So, Cuddles got a a friend who was a smaller pony. “Little Ponies” were very popular back then. For that matter, they are still popular today. There is, in fact, a whole new breed of Little Ponies, intended for boys, as well as girls and all the current variations, in-between.
Here is Cuddles as a ballerina, otherwise known as La Horse de Ballet!
And this is her ballet equipment, complete with four ballet slippers and a clip-on tutu.
And here she is, adorned with clip-on clips, colorful combs, and beautiful bows.
Here she is again, ready for rollerblading. I guess you get the idea; Cuddle N’ Comb could do just about anything the average pony could do.
And here are two electronic grooming accessories that make appropriate pony sounds as her hair is being brushed and combed
And finally, here is Cuddles checking out her stuff. This is her Care and Grooming Station, everything she needs to keep in shape. This image led to a request to get serious about her dinner, oats and water.
The accessory that I was encouraged to create was actually quite fun. I really enjoyed playing with it. There was a barrel of oats that disappeared when the pony ate, and finally appeared to be empty, as a false bottom slid into place automatically. There was also a circulating water pump that filled a trough that emptied out as the pony appeared to drink. And then, the trough could be filled again by pumping the same water back into it.
I don’t know what company picked this project up, but as this prototype they generated indicates, they really couldn’t cut it. This wouldn’t be the first time that a design that looked nice in a drawing didn’t translate into reality. At any rate, it was, and will forever remain, a mystery: Was the fault mine for creating an image that proved impossible to translate into 3D, or was the ability of the craftsman, who they chose to make this prototype sorely lacking? Modesty forbids me from conjecturing: Did the fault lie with yours truly, or the horse’s ass who made this abysmal prototype? Here it is! You decide! Either way, Cuddle N’ Comb Pony was soon put out to pasture, where she died.