- HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
- 18. Outfits & the First Head
Judy's presentation was very impressive! She had mocked up many outfits, which were, now,
displayed on some rather generic looking 16" dolls she had worked on several years before.
they were close enough in size to visualize something of what BF would look like in those
Keep in mind that Judy was, as far as we knew, completely in charge of making the Whole
"Thing" Happen! She not only had to design and coordinate the outfits, but she had to make
sure they came in at a cost that was affordable and consistent. She had to get the dolls
"made"! The sculpting done, the Hair styled, And put it all together, to create a "persona"
and identity for each doll. Even designing the shoes, which had to be sculpted too. The list of
things she was responsible for, goes on, and on, and on. The Alberts also traveled to China, to
work directly with the suppliers there! In short Judy and her "organization" Did a TON of
I Don't Know WHO Named the dolls! It wouldn't surprise me, if her group did that too! On the other hand, It might
have been Gallob's advertising agency, Or even, for all I know, the secretaries in Galoob's office!
I believe the engineering and packaging was handled by Galoob itself, But Judy was responsible for the dolls and the
outfits. The Alberts and their Crew also set up and decorated the showroom at "Toy Fair"! They also contributed to
the merchandising of the dolls, and it was with an eye towards Merchandising and cost that Judy now presented her
first pass at designing the clothes!
A whole selection of Judy's 16" dolls were lined up before us. Some were not real dolls,
but flat cut out photos of the dolls, used as "mannequins" with "real" outfits on them. I
guess the number of dolls, she had left over from her old project was limited. She explained
the approach she had taken. It was an attempt to play up the fact that the dolls were
"Babies" by emphasizing the diapers. The diapers would in turn be printed with designs
and patterns to give them a unique identity. Furthermore, the outfits would be very short
to make the diapers more visible. This solution would also, because of the skimpy nature of
the clothes, Cut Down on the Cost of the outfits!
I was trying so hard to like what I saw, and I was so THRILLED to see the dolls happening
at all, that I had Little trouble buying into the theory of what she was doing. After all,
What did I know about "fashion", doll or otherwise? Somewhere deep inside I was a little
concerned, The outfits seemed a little too skimpy, almost provocative, a little Las Vegas
show girl like. And my vision of kids collecting all kinds of outfits, from contemporary to
old fashioned, seemed ruled out by this approach! On the other hand, looking at the line up
of Judy's dolls it was clear that the outfits did have a distinctive "look."Judy was eager to
contribute something uniquely her own, to the project, and I believe the outfits succeeded
in doing just that! I felt I had to trust her, and Bow to her expertise, and I Did, dishing out
huge helpings of 90% sincere praise!
By the way the outfits got a lot better as the project went along. They began to look more and more like "clothes"
rather than costumes for the "Radio City Music Hall Rockets". The one aspect that never did quite"work" was the
diapers! The designs were too Wishy Washy and the colors were too Pale! So a Good Idea that should have been
"SHOUTING" was "whispering" instead!
NOW, came the Moment of Truth, We were shown the first enlarged head! It was the one
that would eventually be called "So Surprised Suzi" and as it had been "enlarged" it was
"about the right size" to be presented to us on one of the larger bodies that Judy was using to
stand-in for Baby Face. She had also dressed the doll in order to enhance the offering as much
We Learned that, the head we were being shown, was sculpted by "The Worlds Best Doll
Sculptor", A famous doll artist, whose name, even, I had heard before. This artist was
considered to be the "Best", not just in Judy's opinion, But, in the eyes of the entire Toy
A second head had been sculpted too! Judy, sort of kept it out of sight, But when, we didn't
over react to the first one, but expressed the opinion that it had "missed by just a little bit", I
guess she was encouraged enough to bring out the second one, which was an attempt at the
doll with orange hair and open mouth smile [there was no point in bothering to mount this one
on a doll body]. We All agreed that it had "missed by a Mile"! Later still we found out that
the sculptor had billed $6,000.00 each for these two heads! And, we learned later that Galoob was not at all happy
We also later learned that, Judy's "second best" sculptor had also attempted to enlarge the
heads, and failed even more spectacularly than the "first"! But, for now, here I was looking
at this doll and trying so hard to like it or at least, find in it some reason to hold out hope for
the future! If this was the best that the world's best doll sculptor could do, when it came to
merely copying my head 20% larger, What would she do, when asked to create new
Expressions, that would fulfill the vision, we all held out for Baby Face!
The new head was at best a poor imitation, Like a Bad Special Effect such as the Fake
decapitated head that a mediocre movie director rolls our way, hoping we won't notice it
looks nothing like the actor, and hoping the audience won't roar with laughter, when we
were meant to scream.
I too, didn't know if I wanted to laugh or scream. Judy indicated that she, also, felt the head
needed more work, and assured us it would be "all right" All in all, I left, feeling happy and
Excited and at the same time Depressed and worried that Baby Face was destined to be a
very ordinary doll with nothing to distinguish her but Judy's slightly unusual outfits! Still I
hoped for the best, and kept my fears to myself!
Next Page: 19. Averting Disaster
- Index Page
- Mel's Photo Albums Home