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Story Archives

TACKY TOYS

•  Following the success of the Barbie doll, the Mattel Company released a number of companion dolls: Ken, Skipper, and Midge. In 2002, the new version of Midge was pregnant. Pull up her maternity dress to find a pregnant magnetic belly. Snap the belly off the doll to reveal a tiny baby curled up inside Midge’s womb. The controversial doll was pulled from shelves—mostly due to the fact that Midge was not depicted as wearing a wedding ring.

• In 2002 Mattel also released the Whats-Her-Face doll: a Barbie-size fashion doll with an absolutely blank face. A set of markers, ink stamps, removable masks, and Velcro wigs were provided so girls could create their own water-soluble face on the previously featureless doll.

• Another near-miss was Barbie’s dog, Tanner. Tanner was a plastic dog of the Old Yeller breed, perhaps lab or golden retriever. He came with his own box of treats. Feed a treat into his chomping mouth, then press his tail a few times, and Tanner would poop on the spot. Don’t worry! A poop-scooper and trash bin were thoughtfully provided by Mattel.

• Goliath Games is the mastermind behind Gooey Louie, the booger-picking challenge. Gooey Louie is a large plastic head with an oversize nose that’s loaded with long stretchy gel-like boogers. Kids take turns reaching into the nose to pull out a booger. Grab the wrong booger, and Louie’s eyes bug out, his head pops open, and his brain springs out.

• Hasbro followed up the success of their Super-Soaker power squirt guns with the Oozinator, which came with cartridges that turned the water into a white slime with the consistency of snot. Children had the choice of shooting regular water out of the top reservoir, or launching “bio-ooze” slime from the bottom reservoir.

• Tyco’s Magic Potty Baby was a doll that would “drink” from a bottle and then “pee” into a plastic potty with real flushing action when the lever was pushed. Released in 1992, it sold for $29.95 and was a smash hit. Tyco was sued by Ideal Toys, who had released the Betsy Wetsy doll years earlier. The difference between the two dolls is that Betsy Wetsy really did ingest water, which really did wet diapers, clothing, couches, and rugs, whereas the Magic Potty Baby just drank from a bottle that had the appearance of containing fluids that disappeared as the bottle was tipped up, and the potty likewise could be flipped over to make the level of the yellow-colored liquid contained inside it rise and fall. The judge in the lawsuit ruled that urination was not a patentable idea.

• Cashing in on the popularity of dolls that pee, a Spanish company released Baby Wee Wee, an anatomically correct battery-operated baby boy doll that could toddle, crawl, cry, drink real water, and then pee a stream into the provided potty-- either standing or sitting.

• If you prefer to clean up after a puppy rather than a doll, you could purchase Mayu the peeing dog, produced by a Japanese novelty company. Just dunk the dog’s rear end into the water bowl, then wind him up, and off he goes across the floor, leaving a watery trail behind him. We know Mayu was a male dog because he lifted his leg every time he left a puddle behind.

• Or you may prefer to have a plastic dog slobber all over you, as with the “Love ’N Licks” battery-operated pet. Press the dog’s paw and he barks. Rub his head and he wags his tail. Rub his belly and he slobbers water all over you from the reservoir underneath his plastic tongue. The harder you rub, the more he slobbers!