Saturday, November 03, 2007

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

Well folks, Halloween is over, and you know what that means...the beginning of the Christmas advertising blitz! Yes, only 54 more shopping days to go! Bet you haven't even decorated that tree yet. Bad consumers, BAD! Where's your X-mas spirit?

I've seen a few ads already (mostly aimed squarely at kids), and it got me thinking about some of the goofier playthings they would market to us in the seventies. For example: anyone remember this haunting little ditty?

"New Baby Alive,
soft and sweet,
she can drink; she can eat.
New Baby Alive,
beautiful face,
dressed in pink and pretty lace.

Certainly, I've never forgotten it (shudder). And the jingle was only a prelude to the actual food-chewing, thumb-sucking horror of this battery-powered corporate miscarriage. Wondering how many others were emotionally scarred by this monstrously misguided bit of merchandise, I searched the net and found this page.

Reading through the two pages of user comments made me realize something - Baby Alive was more than just a toy - it was a catalyst. A defining marker in the psychological development of impressionable young minds. Some would survive Baby Alive's baptism of body-horror...and some would not.

Let me provide some excerpts, whereupon you may decide whether these children wouldn't have been better off being subjected to a David Cronenberg movie marathon.

my daughter had one of these and i lost count of the amount of people who thought, as she carried it through the airport in a car seat,that it was real.
-amanda p

Yeah, that sounds like a healthy formative experience. Wanna bet these days Amanda' daughter is working the pole in some dive off the Airport freeway, using her mammoth new breast implants to gain the attention and approval she developed an insatiable craving for during childhood?

I was SOO addicted to this doll. Always got my mom to buy diapers for her LOL. and those weird formula food mixtures. She was such a cute dolly. My friend came over one day though, and fell on her neck. Her head popped off and a long pink tube was connected from her body to her head. It was kinda scary..but I still love dolls!

Nice to hear she still loves dolls, since following the horrible decapitation of her playmate (who "fell"), she was almost certainly institutionalized and never allowed contact with any child that wasn't constructed from horse-hair and polyurethane.

My mother had put the bateries in it before wraping her up and putting her under the Christmas tree. When I opened her up and her mouth started moving and making that motorized sound it scared the cr*p out of me and I threw the doll across the room and was afraid of it for years.

Today, Lisa's court-ordered therapy for post-partum depression seems to be paying off - the above recollection is what psychoanalysts refer to as a "breakthrough moment".
Unfortunately, it's also what the police call "probable cause".

LOVED her so much and had only had her about 4months and had looked after her with so much care,and then one day my mum came home in a mood and in a temper she saw my doll in my arms and throw her down the stairs and broke not only my heart but the doll as well.She did however box her up and sent a letter back to the maker and said "BABY IS NO LONGER ALIVE,SHE IS DEAD" but obviously didnt mention the stair incident, and about 3weeks pasted and hey presto i got a new one with all new bits,food etc,i was so happy but she would never replace my first one,(sad i know,and thats me im talking about!) however years later my wonderful mother GOT RID of all my toys & dolls, which was mean of her because i looked after all my dolls/toys and again she broke my heart in doing so,now i have 2 little girls and would have loved them to played with my Baby Alive...

This one's pretty heartbreaking. Suzanne? Let me give you some advice: always remember that toys are no substitute for love. Go to your daughters. Take these precious gifts into your arms; gather them up and kiss them - tell them how much you love them. Then set each one on your knee and gently remind them what a colossal bitch their grandmother was.

Sadly my Baby Alive was neglected after a while. Not being a fan of baby dolls, I guess the novelity wore off relatively quickly. I imagine that she was left somewhere after being fed and was not properly cleaned up (or cleaned out) because my last memory of her was with maggots and mom throwing her in the trash.

Charming! You know, Lianne, in many parts of the U.S., your story is better known as "Prom Night".

I remember my Baby Alive. She was one of my favorite dolls ever. Unfortunately, one day I decided it would be fun for us to swim together, and she stopped working after that.

Is it too much to hope that little Allison left Baby Alive floating face-down in the pool while she dashed into the house and called 9-1-1?

When I was about 5, I BEGGED my mother for a Baby Alive doll. She tells me that I made her a grand promise: I would never ever ask for anything ever again if she would only get me a Baby Alive doll. Well, she did get me the doll, and I was overjoyed...and to this day, I still remember the rubbery plastic smell of her "skin." Sometimes I encounter a rubber/plastic product that contains the same chemical odor, and it brings back such fond memories.

Just what is it about Baby Alive that evokes so many Dickensian childhood memories? Seriously, what kind of parent enforces a "one toy per childhood" rule?

By the way, I ran into Sarah at the downtown S&M club last Friday. She came up to me dressed head-to-toe in a vinyl catsuit, begging me not to let her use the bathroom. I told her that really wasn't my scene, gave her a quick hug, and wandered over to the salad bar.

I remember it was Christmas morning! I opened the present that contained my brand new Baby Alive. I pulled the doll out and seen it was an African American doll and looked stunned. "Mom she's black." "No honey, she's Mexican" hahahahh thanks Baby Alive for making such a funny memory.

Gee, Ell, I'm sure that anecdote went over beautifully for your mom at her next bridge club meeting. "Funny story, girls! My daughter isn't sure if her new baby is black or Mexican!"

I remember my aunt's boyfriend didn't believe she would pee and poop, so took off her diaper, put her on his lap...and she peed. I was devasted when I left her in the front yard and my Dad ran over her head with the car.

It's the circle of life, kid. From your first tinkle on a shady relation's lap, to your last, lifeless crap in some random driveway, it's the same the world over.
Who says toys can't be educational?



At 10:25 PM, November 03, 2007, Blogger Avery Gray said...

We never had enough money for things like Baby Alive, but my friend next door did. I took it upon myself to experiment with her doll. Not only did she eat the food she came with, she had a fond liking for mud, even though it gummed up the works. She started to stink after awhile, so we tatooed her face with a ballpoint pen. Don't know what happened to her after that.

BTW, I happened upon your blog, and I'm so glad I did. You are hysterical, my friend!

At 5:52 AM, November 04, 2007, Blogger spazmo said...

Thanks, AG!

I'm thinking that after the ballpoint pen incident, your friend's doll finally took the hint and skipped town.

Can't say as I blame the poor thing - sounds like you were getting ready to bust out the magnifying glass and cherry bombs.


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