PART TWO The Tale Continues
Mattel was the first company to see "Tiny Tots." I was at my partner’s office, a week later, when a call came from Mattel’s reining President, Jill Barrad. As Andy, Noah, and I stood watching, Adam, who was smiling from ear to ear, asked her if she wanted to arrange an option. "No" she answered, "Let’s just go directly to contract." Hurrah! She was buying them, without the customary testing. In the game of Toy Inventing this was a good as “good luck” gets
But our euphoria was short lived, for one week later, a similar item by Hasbro appeared in the stores. It was a series of small babies in small houses, an attempt to do "Littlest Pet Shop" as babies. Although, they were quite different from Tiny Tots, and didn’t animate, they filled the same marketing position, and thus Mattel sent Tiny Tots back again.
In the years that followed, Tiny Tots were optioned by several companies, and I was asked to expand the line. Thus, along with the original drawings, there were dozens of additional ones for single figures, and complex situations as well. Many of the best ones are below. The notes on many of them explain the sometimes complex actions they perform.
Mattel called the Tiny Tots back again, several times, with thoughts of applying them to Disney. Somewhere around here are drawings of that too, including adaptations, visualizing them as Whinny the Pooh. A greeting card company held them for some time, while they contemplated a collectibles line. I was surprised to discover the two drawings, below, among the others, I had forgotten all about them.
The American Greetings Company requested a visualization of how we might adapt the "Mini-Magic Motion" concept to "Strawberry Shortcake." That was another "nibble" that never happened.
And finally, "Friendz n’ Family,"
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The last toy company to option Tiny Tots was Play Along. If the Play Along Club Dolls had proven more successful, the company planned to adapt them as “Tiny Tots.
Over the years, Tiny Tots have been everywhere! And somebody in every company wanted to keep the models, the precious tiny figures. So many of the prototypes I did, in the course of my toy making career have disappeared. It is a Miracle, I got these back again! And, they are still here, today, ready to play!
"TINY TOTS" are Copyright 2008 Mel Birnkrant, Kiscom "The Obb"
“Mop Tops” directly led to "Color Me Cuties,"
Who, ultimately became the "Play Along Club."
Galoob was, also, one of the toy companies who optioned Tiny Tots; Fisher Price was yet another.
To look at poor little Tiny Tots, today, and contemplate all the hard work that went into them, might lead one to bemoan the fact they were a failure. But that is not the case. The truth is, they were the starting point that led to many things. The styling that had been sleeping in my DNA, and appeared spontaneously in that first tiny Sculpey figure, pushing a baby carriage, I have since used, time and time again, And it was, in fact, the Tiny Tots that led Peter Pook of Fisher Price to request a line of dolls based on their styling. Those dolls were called "Mop Tops.”
Included in the original Tiny Tots Presentation was a large, and rather spectacular, piece of art, depicting a “Tiny Tots Play House”. It incorporated many action features, such as squirrels, scampering on the roof, and kiddies jumping on the bed, magnetically. Alas, this art was lost, but I recently discovered a fairly decent color copy, as well as a large diagram that explains its many features.