The Story of Bert Reiner, the Toy Maker, or: An Appreciation for the Individual Experiences of Former Shanghai Jewish Refugees

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American Institute for Contemporary German Studies



"During the 1983 Christmas season, Coleco Industries, Inc. took the world by storm with a novel concept for a doll: Each doll was unique and would be adopted by a child. Reports started to pop up of parents fighting—even trampling—each other in order to get the individualized dolls for their children.[1] A Christmas sensation swept through the land. Every kid wanted to “adopt” their unique Cabbage Patch Kid. The concept of a mass-produced doll based on each being uniquely different posed a challenge for the engineers in charge of the production. It was one thing to mass produce figures or dolls that were identical; it was entirely different to mass produce dolls that varied by face, eye color, hair color, hair style, and the like. This was a challenge for the toy maker, Bert Reiner."