All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
This series of blow molded geometric shapes that peg together to create a variety of animals really belongs on the previous page. It, too, is one of the preschool concepts I came up with, during that first summer in the country. But, for one thing, the preschool page is full, and secondly, this was arguably a project that was large enough to merit a whole page of its own. Peg-pals was one of those projects that Harry Kislevitz liked, and, as such, it was chosen to be produced.
These few drawings are all the evidence that remains of a once elaborate effort. They represent the very beginning of what became a ton of work for yours truly. Would you believe that I actually sculpted all of these animals in Plastilina modeling clay? I fabricated the plug-in legs with lengths of dowel and used wooden balls for feet.
Once all the animals were rendered in clay, I traveled to a factory in New Jersey that Harry chose to make the molds. I’ll never forget that journey. It was a nightmare. There is an industrialized area in the so-called Garden State that resembles Purgatory or worse. What could be worse? Hell on Earth! This industrial wasteland enabled me to visualize what the world might be like after an Apocalyptic Third World War. The air was full of chocking smoke, and the overwhelming stench of burning Sulphur.
I discussed the project with the proprietor of a depressing unimpressive little factory. Then, I left my sculptures with him, and drove home. I never saw them again. Nor, did I ever hear what happened. That was the end of it. The project was never mentioned again, and the all the animals that I had sculpted simply disappeared. Nonetheless, these drawings remained with me, yellowed with age. I managed to brighten them up with Photoshop, just good enough to create this page.
These drawings illustrated basic animals. They did not attempt to convey the fact that the pieces were interchangeable, and could be mixed and matched, so, a child could create creatures of their own.
I liked these playful monkeys. They might have been an item on their own, and molded in a variety of bright colors.
My favorite Peg-Pals were the two below. I liked the giraffe’s wiggly neck, and the big square elephant.
Last of all, is an idea for Peg People. It really is a stacking toy, and a slightly different concept than the animals. The various body parts could be stacked on a pole, to create a variety of different folks. I recall drawing this on the same day as the animals, and I considered them part of the set. Harry did not. Although, that decision was somewhat disappointing, in retrospect, I realize it saved me a lot of wasted time.