The robot may be what's new and different, but business is still hot for last year's sensation, Cabbage Patch Kids. And back in Georgia, Roger L. Schlaifer, the licenser for Cabbage Patch Kids, created by Xavier Roberts, isn't worried about what's coming from Outer Space.
"We did think about making an Xavier Robot," he said, joking. "But we decided to stay in the Cabbage Patch."
Coleco, the manufacturer of Cabbage Patch Kids, expects to ship 17 million Cabbage Patch Kids this year. Coleco charges about $23 for them wholesale, but the retail price varies with the seller.
"The demand has kept supplies at zero for 15 months," said Schlaifer happily. "We hope with extra factories they can get caught up by mid 1985." Schlaifer said that with Preemies and Koosas, added to Cabbage Patch Kids, the sales total could reach 20 million.
"We have already sold more than a billion dollars. We're expecting to make about $1.5 billion on Cabbage Patch Kids, clothes, slippers, disposable diapers, PVC polyvinyl compound figurines, and the Cabbage Patch Kids' first album. This year Coleco is introducting the Preemies, the small babies, and Koosas, cuddly creatures."
"Demand is significantly greater than 1983, when we sold 3.2 million Kids," said Barbara Wruck, a Coleco spokeswoman. "Coleco has been increasing production all year, but we can't keep up with the demand. We've already sold enough Kids for every child from 3 to 8 years old in the United States and Canada to have one. Actually, the Kids are being bought up as soon as they come into the stores by people of all ages who are adopting more than one . . . It arouses the mother instinct in people of all ages" and both sexes.
Coleco is making the dolls in several undisclosed overseas locations and flying them in. Coleco makes the standard 16-inch Kid, the 14-inch Preemies, the Koosa pets, and the 5-inch Pinups in room settings, plus eight accessories, including clothing.
Douglas Thomson president of the Toy Manufacturers of America, says dolls still are the biggest sellers among toys. Big sellers, in addition to the Cabbage Patch Kids, include Rainbow Brite, inspired by a greeting card, and the Madame Alexander dolls (including Mark Anthony).
Board games are the other big category, headed by Trivial Pursuit and about 50 variations, including: The Baby Boomer Edition of Trivial Pursuit, Biblical Trivia, Celebrity Trivia, Chicago Trivia, Sexual Trivia -- you get the idea.
Other toy ideas from some other stores, include: from F.A.O. Schwarz, "My Little Pony" to dress and comb; black and Indian G.I. Joes; Star Wars Figures; and a tricycle with a horse made to look like a sulky ($595). Bears come in many versions. Woodward & Lothrop sells a Christmas bear with red trimmings. Georgetowne Zoo offers the Lauren Bearcall bear in a fur coat. From the Red Balloon come: a cassette that teaches ventriloquism; windup wrestlers that try to butt each other off a circle; trick boxes that take 24 moves in sequence; shoelaces that glow in the dark so when you hide in the closet you can tell where your feet are; and a kit to build a roller coaster.
Thomson says $80 million worth of toys will be sold this year, with the average price under $8 per toy.