An Open Letter From Percy Newsum to Mel Odom

Hello Everyone;
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Mel Odom and all of the Gene collectors for the opportunity to "take care" of your favorite star over the past few years. It has truly been a privilege to be able to work with someone as talented as Mel and to service such a dynamic and caring group of collectors. We hope that you have enjoyed the creations we have come up with and that they are an important part of your Gene collection and the Gene legacy.

The entire Integrity team wants to ensure that Gene and her 15 years on the fashion doll scene is celebrated appropriately and hope you will join us in Philadelphia this June to celebrate all the wonderful things about Gene and her friends.

Once again, thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Gene will always be an important part of our history.

Best Regards,

Percy Newsum
President, Integrity Toys

Other Clarification Concerning the Gene Marshall Doll Line:

Per Mel’s announcement, we are confirming to you that as of June 2010, the Gene Marshall line will be officially retired. Based on Mel Odom's wishes, Integrity Toys Inc. will host a final official convention to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Gene Marshall, which will feature every character of the line as a final farewell to everyone's favorite girl star. As Mr. Odom put it, it is better to go out on top while your fans still love you and we could not agree more. Our experience dealing with Mel and the exquisite Gene Marshall has been a great one and we wish to thank everyone for their support these past four wonderful years. More information about the Gene Marshall farewell celebration convention will be posted on this site in the next few weeks.

Please come back to visit for registration information. This website will not go off line, but will be incorporated into the www.integritytoys.com site sometime next year.

Also for clarification, other than a special Gene early next year, the only Gene products produced for 2010 will be the final convention collection. The Hollywood Royalty Gene dolls (mini-Genes) will also be retired.

Gene Marshall line to be Retired!

Mel Odom just sent out the news. The Gene Marshall line will retire! This is the letter from Mel:

Hey Kids,
This is a letter I've been writing in my head for quite some time, but have not been able to actually put down on paper. It's a tough letter to write and I've been pretty emotional about it. (Big breath) I've been feeling lately like it's a perfect time for Gene and her friends to retire. I've been working on Gene since 1991. That's when the first drawings of her are dated and I'd probably had her in my head for some time before that. The point is, she's been a consuming interest of mine for close to 20 years. It's been the most detail intensive project of my life and certainly the most fun. I've been given much because of Gene; acclaim, financial security and the best bunch of friends and collectors anyone could ever expect from their profession. It's been an amazing journey for me- completely different than what I had imagined.

This year, we've had a really wonderful collection, with awards and popular triumphs and a great sense of energy among you guys. I've really enjoyed it. It's been amazing. And the Hollywood Royalty minis being a hit was just the sprinkles on the cupcake for me. I just think it's always better going out a winner, while you are on top.

This is the thing...I want to do something else. I'll be (gulp) 60 next year and feel like there are other things I can accomplish if I can devote my full attention to them, like I have done with Gene. I've practically ignored my first loves, drawing and painting, for far too long. For twenty years before Gene, I was known as an illustrator and graphic artist. I don't think I can go back to being an illustrator; that's over for me. But I'd like to be known as a painter and I'd like to maybe teach art. As some of you know, I've been knocking on the doors of art galleries with my paintings for the past few years and am not about to give up on that particular dream of mine. I feel like I have enough time for one more great phase in my career, even though I'm not positive what it is.

Gene is in my head and heart and nothing I can ever do will change that. She's always been with me in some form and will stay with me and very probably morph into another phase of whatever it is I do, paintings maybe. But I've always had to change every so often, like when I stopped focusing on illustrating and created a fashion doll. This is one of those times. So Gene and I are pulling a Garbo, and retiring, but not without a fabulous sendoff.

I have gone over my plans with Integrity and we all want to make sure that we have a proper celebration for Gene and her friends (both plastic and human). I have really enjoyed working with Integrity and making these past few years some of Gene's best ever. The Integrity team and I are planning one last, big blowout for all of us- a 15th Anniversary convention to celebrate Gene and all her friends, to be held in early June in Philadelphia. And for this special party we're creating one more collection, "The Stardust Collection", a curtain call of sorts for all of our characters, and get this... including Trent. Ashton Drake is graciously allowing us to use the original molds to create one more classic Trent for the party. So, Trent will be there and Oona and Ivy and Violet and Madra. I'll be there and hopefully everyone will be there, to celebrate 15 years of the coolest thing to happen to fashion dolls since high heel feet.
Facts and forms will be forthcoming, but I wanted to tell you all this personally. There will also be a special Gene happening in early 2010; you'll be privy to the information later on. It'll be fine, you'll see. Gene will be a perfect 15-year long phenomenon in the doll world, a story with a humble start and surprise ending- a beautiful arc of stories, characters and costumes that changed the doll world. And as long as Cher and Barbra Streisand are in this world, there's always a chance of a comeback somewhere down the road.

I'll still be blogging; the W Club has happily agreed to continue to send all of you my "Mel Mail updates", right through the big party in June. Later on, I'll be blogging from my own website
www.melodomart.com, which should be completed and up soon. Any of you who are interested can come along with me for the rest of the journey as well. You're all invited. Thank you for everything and remember to always....

Play nice Kids,



Hometown Hollywood Mini Gene

W Club members were surprised to be offered another Club exclusive. This time it's a Mini Gene doll called Hometown Hollywood Mini Gene. She is based upon the original Ashton-Drake manufactured "Hello Hollywood, Hello" who was released in 1998 and designed by Doug James. The price of the original doll was $79.95. The new one is $150.

I have decided not to order this doll partly because of the price and mainly because I have not yet seen the sculpt of the two I already have on pre-order. I won't just keep ordering and ordering without seeing up close what this line holds in store. IMO this offer was badly timed.

If you would like to read the original story card, here is a link to the Gene Database on Facets by Marcia's website. Hello Hollywood Hello

Here are my pictures of the original:

New Gene Doll Announced ~ It's A Cinch!

Today a new Gene Marshall doll was announced. She is called It's A Cinch! and will be available from your regular doll dealers during the 1st quarter of 2010. LE 200.

To read the description in full, check out any Gene dealer's website. The retail price is $125.


There Ought to be a Law Against Smoking Dolls

I'm just sick of getting dolls and doll fashions that smell from cigarette smoke.
Last week it was two NRFB fashions and today it was a doll. The fashions were from an eBay seller with a lot of excellent feedback so I was very surprised. The doll was purchased from a seller I found on Ruby Lane.
Perhaps smokers do not believe that even if their dolls are packed away, cigarette smoke is invasive. It will get on everything and into everything just like it coats your lungs and body, it will deposit itself on your merchandise. The packaging materials stink, too. If they are aware of that and are still selling their polluted stuff to unsuspecting buyers then they are as disgusting as their habit.
I was discussing this with a seller (thankfully before I bought anything). She told me that her son is a smoker and he visits occasionally but her dolls are packed away in a closet and she doesn't believe they have any ciggy smoke smell.
Cigarette smoke produces airborne tar just like this.
The second problematic component of cigarette smoke is the very high level of tar solids that are disseminated into the air when cigarettes are burned. This is the same petroleum based tar used to make asphalt roads. This petroleum based tar clouds the air and sticks to every surface of the room. Not only can you see this tar in the air you can also see and feel this yellow brownish sticky substance on surfaces such as walls and furniture. Cigarette smoke tar even seeps into your homes air vents, and appliances with vents such as TV's and stereos. This disgusting goop discolors paint and it also has a terrible, sickening odor.

Everything in your house smells if anyone smokes there.
Including you.


Sugar Daddy Ken Gone Along With Entire BFC Thread

BFC Members Agreement #9
We may, in our sole discretion, ... (b) remove any Content, .... We may exercise these rights for any reason or no reason, all without notice or liability to you or anyone else.

Comment by one member
"...I am really sick and tired of the media/public dictating what dolls I am allowed to buy."

I say that it's not the public, it's the men in the corporation making the decision. Mattel makes toys and they want it to stay that way. Every one wanted that doll. Now, if he is actually ever made, non-collectors will snap him up and we won't even be able to get one!

Why don't they just put him out as an American Girl doll who had a sex change? He can go live with the re-homed homeless doll and they can decorate and go shopping and write books....

Why is it OK for female dolls to be produced in scanty fashions with slutty makeup and come-hither hairstyles but it's not OK for an effeminate looking Ken doll to be produced? I call that sex bias and it's disgusting.

Michelle Obama Doll - FAIL

This is the promotional photo that was advertised for the Michele Obama Inaugural doll. I blogged about it on June 1, 2009.

A fellow collector sent me these pictures of the actual doll that she received:

What a complete disappointment but not a surprise. When a company advertises with an artist rendering rather than a prototype or a production sample, you can be sure you will not get what you see in the ad.

Seriously, some of Mattel's $39.95 celebrity dolls have more of a resemblance to their human counterparts than this.


Mattel's Sugar Daddy Ken. Will He or Won't He?

One of the moderators over at the BFC Board stated,
"What a week! As you have seen, we sneak peeked the BFMC Palm Beach line. One of the concepts in the line was a Ken doll. We posted the photo with the internal "working" name and the photo and name was also released to dealers. The Ken concept is not part of the official spring Palm Beach product line."

Huh? What happened?

This is the topic of intense discussion on that board and among Barbie collectors. From what I have read pretty much everyone wants that Ken doll to be produced. Count me in. The statement from the moderator is vague about the outcome of this particular doll.

The funniest post I read was posted by dollyhoarder who said:
"My guess is...they will probably change the name from 'Sugar Daddy' to something benign like 'Still Anatomically Incorrect Ken Walking Neutered Dog.'"

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Picture of the Week ~ November 1, 2009

The spotlight this week goes to Paul Pham's photograph of his own creation. This is the IDEX Grey prototype. Paul posted this on Prego during a week of Halloween themed images, thus the ghostly figure on the right.

 See more of Paul's creations at his site DOLLCIS.

Congratulaions, Paul, on the Picture of the Week!