The Evolution of Cabbage Patch Kids: It’s Been 30 Years!Selena Mills
Hands up those of you who owned, loved, and positively cherished Cabbage Patch Kids. No? I’m sorry. I’m not sure how you got through childhood.
That smell, the outfits, the names and the adoption and birth certificates…all of it. It all felt so unique. I definitely thought I was mother to a couple of kids with my CPKs. Marcile Millicent and Ella Ninette were my pride and joy. (If you want to check out more of the one-of-a-kind names that have bestowed up CPKs, click here!) I think I may have had some more growing up, but I can’t remember their names. (Bad mommy!) They were in their height of popularity back when I was a child and you bet I’m going to pass down that love and appreciation to my own kids, boys or girls. With Christmas coming up around the corner, I’m totally thinking about what to buy and what to make for them.
When I heard tell that Cabbage Patch Kids were celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, I was intrigued. Memories of one of my most favorite toys of my childhood came flooding in. A slow, nostalgic smile crept across my face. Some people have never let their CPK love die. Oh my.
So I called BabyLand General Hospital, which at first I was a bit confused about now that I’m an adult and I know that Cabbage Patch kids aren’t really born out of cabbages by way of being pollinated with Magic Crystals delivered by Bunnybee, the flying furry creature, part bunny, part bee. What?! You didn’t know? Well, apparently they make awesome babysitters, so get on that.
About that phone call. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, calling a big corporation. Well, I was greeted with a Southern drawl dripping in honey, who in turn called me honey at every breath. And I liked it. Said sweetheart of a secretary took my name and number. Two hours later, I was greeted with a phone call from Margaret McLean Director of Corporate Communications for BabyLand General Hospital and the Cabbage Patch Kids. From her house on a sick day at that!
We chatted for a long time and she filled my ear with historical facts and tidbits about the evolution of Cabbage Patch Kids that I hadn’t a clue about. Margaret has been with the company for 25 years and passionately supplied me with a wealth of pictures, stories, and fun facts and legends to share with the Babble readers today!
A Walk Down Memory Lane… 1 of 15
Click through for fun facts, historical tidbits, CPKs throughout the years and a glimpse of the 30th Anniversary Dolls! You know you want to find out how Downton Abbey is involved in all of this...
First Soft Sculpture Preemie 2 of 15
FACT: CPK creator Xavier Roberts was a talented soft sculpture artist who worked his way through art school as manager of Unicoi Gift Shop, located in a state park near Helen, Ga. It was during this time (1977), that Xavier developed the marketing concept of adoptable Little People® with birth certificates. Roberts dressed the babies in used clothing purchased at yard sales and gave each original a single name chosen from a 1937 baby book. In 1978, he traveled to many southeastern arts and crafts shows, finding homes for his original soft-sculptured babies. Continued success for Roberts inspired him and five school friends to incorporate 'Original Appalachian Artworks' (O.A.A. Inc.). They renovated the Neal Clinic and open BabyLand General Hospital where you can still adopt a soft-sculptured baby or kid today!
LORE: Preemies were born because of an early frost on the Cabbage Patch!
Collector’s Edition CPK 3 of 15
Name unknown, but very much loved! The babies with the soothers were my favourite. The success of the original 'Little People' was been phenomenal. (1981) The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Atlanta Journal Constitution Sunday Magazine, Atlanta Week, and other publications fill their pages with features on Xavier's "adoptable babies." There have been reports that earlier editions re-adopt for as much as 25 times their initial adoption fees.
Lottie Cindy, Circa 1983 4 of 15
Isn't she darling?! By 1984 the Baby Boom was in full force. Adjusting to corporate growth, Xavier Roberts moved out of his home in Cleveland, Ga., and turned a stunning glass and natural wood structure into the headquarters for O.A.A. (Original Appalachian Artworks)
You can join the CPK Collector's Club here.
Space Kid, Circa 1985 5 of 15
This particular Cabbage Patch Kid, Christopher Xavier, became a part of the space program. He went into space aboard the shuttle. His permanent home is at the Smithsonian. It was such a success that another Cabbage Patch Kid Astronaut was presented to President Ronald Reagan! Which isn't the last of CPKs to be presented to politicians or celebrities. Even Dolly Parton got her own kid!
1st Edition Mutli-Cultural 6 of 15
One of the very first multi-cultural CPKs introduced to the line. Loving the detail.
Soft Sculpture CPKs Today 7 of 15
Amazing outfits, detailing, original birth certificate and a name (that you can change when you send in the adoption papers to BabyLand General). I mean, look at her hair! SO CUTE!
Soft Sculpture Cabbage Patch Baby 8 of 15
Hand-stitched Little Lullabye Babies: Brought back in 2012 and 2013 based on demand! Above is a 1st vintage edition Lullabye Baby, you can see the newer ones here!
CPK Blonde Cornsilk Hair 9 of 15
Do the frayed hems of her jeans give her age away? Yep, this is a '90s girl, for sure.
Danbury Mint Porcelain CPK Ethan James, Circa 2008 10 of 15
Currently going for anywhere between $150-$200 bucks on e-bay today!
Learn more about this CPK collectible here!
14" CPK ‘Fashionalities’, Circa 2012 – 2013 11 of 15
In 2012 the CPK kids got an update! The new CPK Fashionalities have silky, more realistic looking hair in a variety of styles and each one has a different "fashionality" (fashion personality), such as skater boy or preppy girl. Each comes with a one-of-a-kind name and birth certificate, as per usual.
See them all here!
30th Anniversary Celebration CPK Babies 12 of 15
Is it wrong that I want this one, or that I kind of sort of really want to visit BabyLand General Hospital?
CPK 30th Anniversary Toddlers 13 of 15
30th Anniversary Celebration Kid 14 of 15
Wyndham has been asking for a doll lately, (which probably has something to do with his sister's slight obsession). Pretty sure this is the one for him!
BabyLand General Hospital 15 of 15
FUN FACT #1: BabyLand General is in fact a hospital. Based on magic of course. Collectors young and old visit the hospital to view how the babies are born and taken care of by the nurses, no joke! Everything is staged and set-up perfectly.
FUN FACT #2: In celebration of their 30th year, Cabbage Patch Kids have partnered up with the hit Brit Masterpiece Theatre Series, Downton Abbey (Say what?!) to celebrate Christmas together, Appalachian style. I mean, you know that's pretty darn cool right?
"Cabbage Patch Kids, whose roots are in the arts, encourage children and parents to enjoy love, nurturing, and raising their next generation together," said Margaret McLean Director of Corporate Communications for BabyLand General Hospital and the Cabbage Patch Kids. "Our Appalachian Christmas Event on Saturday, Nov. 23, is a 35-year tradition. Look for fun and excitement that will combine two extremely popular legacies through fans of Cabbage Patch Kids and the historic drama series, Downton Abbey, in the beautiful Georgia Mountains."
More Babbles From Selena…
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Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve