Continue to the NEXT PAGE
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of LULLABY DREAMERS , SLEEP STARS and other
Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright
(c) BIRNKRANT KISCOM/ The OBB
Most toy companies had their own in-house art departments in those days. They were often a place for those with big egos and little talent to hide out. CBS proved no exception. In our desire to sell the concept we had signed away creative control. And thus, over the next year, I watched is desperation as Lullaby Dreamers clashed head on with mediocrity and lost the battle slowly. How bad were they?
Well, a picture being worth a thousand words, here is the Dreamboat before and after. You decide.
The Creative team at CBS began by changing the name to"Sleep Stars". The Dreamboat crew got smaller too. Some characters had to walk the plank. Napsnack was the first to go; no fat kids allowed in Dreamland. And "boy dolls don’t sell" anyway, so Luvy‘s little brother “Baby Blankie” became a little sister, who they called “Betty Bye”. Broadway Lullaby , the only Sleep Star with star quality and, most likely, the reason they changed the name to Sleep Stars in the first place, was transfigured into “Wish-a-Bye”. I cant imagine why. The Pets also had to say goodbye. And Luvy's name was changed to “Kiss-a-Bye”.
Once the CBS design department got their hands on the dolls themselves the worst was yet to come. Below is a drawing I made to demonstrate how l visualized the dolls. I saw them as soft and cuddly as they were meant to take to bed.
But CBS had hard dolls in mind and they asked me to sculpt a head. Lets “face” it , I didn’t know what I was doing . This was my first doll head. I hadn’t discovered Super Sculpy yet, and made it out of plaster instead.
Then the CBS designers altered the round eyes by adding puffy cheeks; thus destroying the dolls only product feature, a subtle little nuance that involved Glow in the dark! The eyes were configured as perfect circles in the style of Betty Boop. But in this case, the white of the eye formed a Crescent Moon and the reflection in the pupil was a Star, which in the dark would magically appear. Stars on their sleepwear glowed in the dark as well.
Well, the puffy checks they added took a bite out of the crescent moon. So what did they do? Did they put the round eyes back again? No they painted the moon and star in the iris instead , producing the weirdest eyes since Rosemary’s Baby.
We also envisioned a flock of sheep called “Sleep Sheep”. One could always count on them in Dreamland. They were intended it Light UP, and the board itself demonstrated that feature when held up to a light. Move your mouse across the drawing.
From this idea the art department derived a most revolting doll. They called it “Fleecy”, pronounced like [feces]. You can see him and the other Dolls they made, if you continue to the Next Page.