My Very Own Puppy

Shortly after Baby Face I did a product that can best be described as Baby Face as a DOG! It was a very realistic puppy, fully posable and jointed like Baby Face, with plastic eyes and soft ears.

I have no photos of the finished puppies, and good old Mattel wouldn't even give me a catalogue, That's typical! So the only peek, I can offer you, at the final product is this snapshot of Eunice in Miami Beach, holding the "puppy" as well as the "So Surprised Suzie", we sent my mother.

Its not the best picture of Eunice and she probably will be upset that I sent it, but it will let you and your readers experience for themselves the Before and After Surprise that awaits one, when one sees what happened to their product, once it has been transformed by the Magic of Mattel!

The pups were intended to emulate several different breeds, through slight variation in sculpture and more dramatic variation in color. They also had tails that wagged at the slightest touch and mouths that opened and closed to display very detailed teeth and tongues. A hidden squeeker made puppy sounds when the mouth was moved! And each pup was "flocked" to give it a soft feel.

As with Baby Face, I created three Sculpy prototypes, and made what turned out to be a disarmingly irresistible video tape, staring "Pee Wee" the movie cat in his first major role! When "Pee" opened the front door to find three Puppies waiting to be let in, he stole the show and Sold the Pups at the same time! This time to Mattel, who saw the tape and fell in love with my best buddy, Pee Wee!

Mattel is the ultimate "Thank You for the product, See you at Toy Fair", company. So we never heard or saw anything until Toy Fair. They renamed the product and called it "My Very Own Puppy"! Alas, the new name was the only part of the project that had been changed for the better! The articulation had been largely eliminated, and the pups had become more like statues than posable "dolls".

The tails hardly wagged, The mouth hardly moved.
And the squeekers were barely audible, if they worked at all.

The look had remained reasonably similar to mine, though they had re-sculpted it. We later learned that at one point four sculptors worked on the project at the same time, each sculpting a leg apiece! That's how things work at Mattel!

My photos show the original clay model in progress, and also some shots of the unfinished Sculpy models, followed by the product board that spelled out and explained the features, as well as shots of the three finished prototypes.

The pups were packaged in a cute box that was shaped like a dog house, but the box was badly engineered so it tended to fall apart in the stores. There were ten or twelve different breeds produced! They were distributed throughout the country, but the test markets, where Mattel ran commercials produced results that were adequate but not spectacular, so they didn't run commercials nation wide and the product was allowed to phase out.


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Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of Baby Face and other Products and Images,
created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright Kiscom, Birnkrants