Were You a Cabbage Patch Kids Mummy?
These Kids Caused Riots...Seriously!
The Cabbage Patch Kids were the biggest toy fad of the 1980s. The most successful toy doll in the history of the toy industry. Every little girl wanted one. It was a must have Christmas present. Parents would search the shops for a Cabbage Patch Kid doll, which sold out very quickly! A riot even broke out in a shop, a week before Christmas in 1983; it made the front cover of Newsweek.
The toy originated in the USA. It was registered in the USA copyright office in 1978. Its creator was Xavier Roberts, who, by the grand old age of 26, was a self made millionaire.
It all started in 1978 and until this day Cabbage Patch Kids are still around. But it was the 80s when they had their heyday, their prime, their world wide popularity. Cabbage Patch Kids were booming!
It all started from the brain wave of Xavier Roberts. But he first named them The Little People. They came from a toy shop which was called BabyLand General Hospital, in Cleveland, Georgia, In the North Georgia Mountains. This was known as the ‘birthplace’ of the dolls. To be correct, it’s the birthplace of the ‘babies’ or ‘kids.' Roberts corrected anyone who referred to them as dolls!
The BabyLand General Hospital was presented as a birthing, nursery and adoption centre. The employees dressed as doctors or nurses. The hospital building is like a Southern style home in 650 acres of land, with beautiful flowered grounds, and of course the cabbage patch!
Every ‘baby’ was different, unique with their very own name and date of birth, and their birth certificate came with the doll. (I’ll stick to saying doll! Sorry Mr. Roberts!) The dolls were not for ‘sale,’ but were up for ‘adoption’. When you adopted a doll you paid the adoption fee.
In 1982 The Little People name became The Cabbage Patch Kids. A huge deal was made with a toy manufacturer, Coleco, and mass production began that year, as the dolls went to the mass market. Many were produced at a factory in New York, USA. The huge popularity of the dolls had well and truly begun!
Yes, as mentioned earlier, the riot of 1983; parents were just so desperate to secure a doll for their child! It wasn’t just that one toy shop with all the drama, it was everywhere! Toy shops got so busy people got trampled on, there were even broken bones. Some customers even tried to bribe toy shop employees to reserve a doll for them!
The dolls were hot property. Some customers waited outside the shops for hours! One parent, from Kansas City, USA, flew to London to purchase a doll! 1983—it was Cabbage Patch Kids mania! By the end of the year, over three million dolls had been sold—I mean adopted! By 1984, the dolls' merchandise sales were close to $2 billion!
The merchandise was never ending; new stuff was always coming out! The merchandise included outfits, shoes, and accessories for the dolls. For the little girls, there were books, jumpers, t-shirts, pj’s, jewellery, and slippers. The Cabbage Patch Kids duvet set was hugely popular, and if you had it you were really envied by other girls! You could get cereals, hair bobbles, badges. You could even get Cabbage Patch Kids wallpaper and curtains!
In 1985 The Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas Special was number one on ABC. Then in 1986, the beyond exciting news to come from the world of all things Cabbage was the birth of the first ever talking Cabbage Patch Kid. Oh yes! I wonder if that Christmas there were more riots for this doll?!!
In 1988 the licensing rights were granted to another company, Hasbro Industries, and later on Mattel snapped them up. More than 130 million dolls have been born, and the number keeps going up year by year.
Cabbage Patch Kids were wonderful. I had one with brown hair, in bunches. She wore a grey track suit and white trainers. Yes, she came with her very own birth certificate, with my name on it and a gold stamp. I had officially adopted her! She was called Kristen. Kristen also came with a Cabbage Patch Kids ring and a brooch, which I proudly wore!