The Secret History of Cabbage Patch Kids by Vice
Cabbage Patch Kids were one of the most popular toys of the 80s. Over the course of the decade, the dolls reportedly generated about $2 billion in sales.
The dolls were originally invented by a Kentucky artist named Martha Nelson Thomas. Martha first started making them in the early 70s and would “adopt” them out to family and friends. The dolls eventually caught the eye of Xavier Roberts, a Georgia man who ran a gift shop. After Martha denied him permission to sell her dolls, he stole the design and began making his own versions.
Xavier’s dolls, which each had his signature printed on the ass, became wildly successful over the next few years. Their popularity reached its peak in 1983, when shortages of the dolls over the Christmas period led to mini-riots in toy stores across the country. Martha Nelson didn’t make a single penny from her creation. [via VICE]
Cabbage Patch Kids are a line of dolls thought to be created by American art student Xavier Roberts in 1978. It was originally called “Little People”. The original dolls were all cloth and sold at local craft shows, then later at Babyland General Hospital inCleveland, Georgia. The doll brand went on to become one of the most popular toy fads of the 1980s and one of the longest-running doll franchises in America.
The dolls were originally created by Martha Nelson and the idea was then stolen to create Cabbage Patch Kids.
The Cabbage Patch Kids brand of products originally started as dolls called Little People, a stolen idea by Xavier Roberts with the help of four women, and originally created by Tennessee artisan Martha Nelson.
The name change to Cabbage Patch Kids was instigated by Roger Schlaifer before he secured the worldwide licensing rights to “Little People”, and was the basis of the story co-authored in 1982 by Roger and his wife, Susanne Nance Schlaifer. An abbreviated version of the story was reproduced on every Cabbage Patch Kids product from 1983 onward. Parker Brothers published the original story retitled “Xavier’s Fantastic Discovery” in 1984 and their Parker Records produced a Gold Album using the characters. The characters appeared in many other Cabbage Patch merchandising products ranging from animated cartoons to board games.
Xavier Roberts was created as a ten-year-old boy who discovered the Cabbage Patch Kids by following a BunnyBee behind a waterfall into a magical valley, where he found the Cabbage Patch babies being born. To keep them from falling into the clutches of the evil Lavendar McDade (and being enslaved in her gold mine), he sought to get them adopted into the homes of loving families outside of Mount Yonah.
BunnyBees are bee-like creatures with rabbit ears they use as wings. They pollinate cabbage blossoms with the magic crystals to make Cabbage Patch babies.
Colonel Casey is a large stork who oversees Babyland General Hospital. He’s the narrator of the Cabbage Patch Kids’ story.
Otis Lee is the leader of the gang of Cabbage Patch Kids that befriended Xavier.
Lavendar McDade is an evil old woman who wants to enslave the Cabbage Patch Kids in her gold mine.
Cabbage Jack is a large jack rabbit, and henchman of Lavendar.
Beau Weasel is a large weasel and accomplice of Cabbage Jack.