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Cabbage Patch Dolls

Innocent-looking it may be, but parents everywhere would never again underestimate the pulling power of a pair of pudgy stuffed arms and too-closely set eyes. Never again would they spend the weeks before Christmas waking up in a cold sweat because they couldn't - for love nor money - find a toy store that had any in stock. What am I talking about? The year of 1983, that's what, and the Cabbage Patch Kids craze (or curse, as parents might refer to it).

The Cabbage Patch Kids - not to be confused with the poor imitation Flower Patch Kids, which didn't even have separate fingers - didn't hit the big time straightaway, though. In the beginning, they had been the subjects of an art exhibition created by scuptor, Xavier Roberts. He used German fabric sculpting and quilting methods to produce his (originally termed) 'Little People', which he'd sell at various arts and crafts fairs to substitute his art school fees. Roberts later opened up an area of Babyland General Hospital as a 'birthing' and rehoming department for his Cabbage Patch Kids. Here, people would come to buy their own doll, and even today tourists flock to the site in Georgia, US.

As the popularity of the dolls grew, in 1982 Roberts partnered up with toy manufacturer Coleco to meet demand from the masses (this had been given an unexpected boost with an appearance on reality TV show Real People in the US).

By modern standards, these dolls were rather ugly, with pudgy, round faces, stumpy arms and small, close-set eyes. What seemed to draw kids to them, however, was their uniqueness - a point that was cleverly marketed and made the dolls stand out. Each doll came with its own birth certificate for its new owner to keep in pride of place, so each Cabbage Patch Doll also had its own unique name. Once the adoptive parents (the doll's new owners) filled out the included paperwork and sent this off to the manufacturer, they would then receive a first birthday card in the post! And as if they weren't unique enough, the computer-controlled manufacturing process randomly made small changes to each doll so that no two dolls were the same.

Despite rioting in the aisles as parents fought to get the last Cabbage Patch Doll in the run up to Christmas, the dolls were discontinued in 1989. Hasbro took over production from this point, adding a number of gimmicks, such as ones wit kazoos they could play. Unsurprisingly, this didn't take off, so in 1994 Mattel took over the Cabbage Patch Kid license. The most revolutionary change Mattel made to the dolls was making some available in vinyl - making for much more durable playmates. In 1996, there was also a range of Olympiakids released to cash in on the Olympics that year.

The Talking Cabbage Patch Kid was a side line launch that was perhaps a bit ahead of its time (something Furbys would later get spot on). The price tag for owning a doll that was able to detect the presence of another doll and converse with it without any human interaction was pretty steep back then, plus there was the added price for many of the nightmares that would come from owning such a 'toy'.

In 2003 Toys R Us had its chance to make a mark on Cabbage Patch Kids. It decided to produce 20-inch kids (compared to the usual 14 inches) - in celebration of 20 years of Cabbage Patch Kids.

But enough of the facts. What everyone wants to know is: were they worth the bruises, Mum? Of course they were.


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Message boards

Cabbage Patch Dolls Last post by darren
11 November 2016

Do You Remember Cabbage Patch Dolls?

Do You Remember Cabbage Patch Dolls?

  • Anonymous user
    on
    When I was 7 I got one of these from my parents. I never had trouble sleeping until I got it, I was having a lot of trouble sleeping one night and I looked up and saw a shadow with yellow eyes and mouth. My parents got rid of it and I never had trouble sleeping and never saw a shadow again. You may not believe me but I did see it and will always remember it. If I were you I would not get one of these dolls I usually don't believe in curses but these dolls r cursed.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    A lot of my comments are going to be the toys I wanted but never got. I wasn't a deprived child but my parents didn't believe in keeping up with the latest trend. So I got to hold my best friend's Francine Danielle and smile through gritted teeth. Now I wonder what the fuss was about! :D
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I have been told that the person who made these dolls had something to do with the creation of Cabbage Patch Kids. Prototype, pattern design or something. Mine & their location (Orgin) Lakeland Florida. contact me Any info or leads to the story of my doll
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My aunt's friend made a doll with long brown pony tails for me a blonde for my sister red head for my cousin & a boy for her brother (1980) They all have birth cirtificates with the names we gave them & our birthdays as DOB. Im seeking info & value of doll
  • Anonymous user
    on
    i adored cabbage patch kids, and totally believed where they came from, im 33 now and still have lucy anne
  • Anonymous user
    on
    hi,i remember getting my cabbage patch kid was it 84/85 i'd seen 'game for a laugh that night' matthew kelly was over in america and they had these cpkids in hospital!!!i thought thats it i want one!!mine had ginger ponys, a grey tracksuit,trainers and the nappy.i sent of the official birth certificate of course!!brill i even went to boots with my mam and bought those newborn nighties for her to sleep in in her cot at the side of my bed,like my real baby.mad or what?
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I got my first Cabbage Patch Kid when I was 12 for Christmas. He was a bald baby boy with pacifier. I named him Joshua. I knew I was getting him and took him out of the box right away and had him on my lap while I opened my other presents. My Mum had no problem getting a doll for me and my sister. I remember going to the shops, seeing a wall of cabbage patch kids to choose from and not a kid or parent in site. I am 34 now and still have Joshua.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    When I was a young girl in the 80's my brother gave me his vanilla smelling cabbage patch kid named sam. The origonal name was otto charlie. I loved the doll. I am now 25 years old and still have sammy. He is in great condition and I love him.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    If I think rightly, my sister had on of these, and it didn't half have a hard head. I remember whacking my sister wih her cabbage patch doll when she annoyed me, simply because the head was hard. What a cow I was!!!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    looking for astronaut cabbage pathe doll