Where the Wild Things Are
A toy story - told by Mel Birnkrant!!
I remembered that I once had a photo, only, a poor quality copy of a Polaroid, taken of the group of us on the final day of Bonnie's part of the project, but it did document what we all considered to be an Historic Occasion! >> Left to right are: The two young ladies who "sewed" for Bonnie, Wade Harrison, Bonnie's husband and business partner, Me, Bonnie, and last of all Maurice.
We met together in Bonnie's studio, hopefully, for the last time. Up till then we had all only seen undecorated dolls and None of us, myself included, were sure that my attempts to draw in Maurice's style, directly on the blank dolls, would prove successful.
Here's Maurice with two of the early patterns. Bonny pinned some eyes and a mouth on to visualize where they would go. Can you see the Muppet influence? If you compare these to the decorated dolls you'll see what a dramatic difference the printing makes.
Here's a photo I shot while I was still drawing on the first doll. I compared my line work to the book every step of the way! I didn't cross hatch one arm to show what it would look like without it!
Now, The Moment Of Truth was upon us! We met once more to view and hopefully gain everyone's and especially Maurice's Approval, of the results of my first attempt! It came out Better than Great, if I do say so myself! I knew for sure that they would LOVE IT! And they DID!
Well, my chances of finding this photo were next to nil, but I did remember a box marked photos I had seen while crawling around under the floor, So I dug it out, last night, and There it was! Along with it were all sorts of other long forgotten photos including one of Maurice with two blank dolls and several fairly decent Polaroids of my actual hand drawn samples. Including lots of the first doll taken the instant I completed it!
These hand drawn samples look much more like his drawings than the final dolls, as the line work is very delicate. Even though I did the final art, it had to be simplified and made bolder in order not to clog the silk screens.
Then I really dug deep into my flagging memory and I remembered that I spent a day in Manhattan at The Photographer setting up a fabulous photo of the dolls, holding them up with strings, etc., in a photo that took hours to set up! So I started looking for that, where I last saw it, but Haven't had any luck!
Meanwhile, I did find a yellowed scrap of paper, that was the original ad from the NYTimes for the introduction of Maurice's Biography and THE DOLLS at Brentanos Book Shop! It says "Quantities limited!"
This Polaroid is the only photo I have of all four prototype dolls with the original line work and coloring drawn directly on them. Doing It was a little scary, as there was only one of each, and no room for mistakes!