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Cabbage Patch Kids

The Cabbage Patch Kids have their origin with the bestselling 1901 novel by Alice Caldwell Hegan Rice, Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch. Mrs. Wiggs, whose husband had "traveled to eternity by the alcohol route," was left to raise her 5 children alone is a Louisville shantytown named Cabbage Patch. The unbridled optimism with which she faces adversity was inspiration to many women readers of the time. Charles Panati in his 1991 Panati's Parade of Fads, Follies and Manias likens Alice Rice to an Oprah of her time and the Cabbage Patch to a Louisville tourist attraction not unlike "Cheers" in Boston. The story was made into a movie on at least 4 separate occasions.

In 1983 Xavier Roberts began marketting the "Cabbage Patch Kids" as a series of dolls produced from 1983-1989 by Coleco. They had large, round vinyl heads and soft fabric bodies.

The gimmick of the dolls was their uniqueness. No two were exactly alike; each doll had a different eye color, facial features, hair, and outfit. The subtle differences were introduced with a computer for each run. Each came with a unique birth certificate signed by their creator.

They were the must-have toy one Christmas. Parents across the United States flocked to stores to try to obtain one of the Cabbage Patch Kids for their children with fights occasionally erupting between parents over the hard-to-find dolls. In later years, Coleco introduced variants on the original Cabbage Patch Kids, and derivatives of the original line of dolls continued to be marketed.

Although the Cabbage Patch Kids fad has largely passed, there remain a significant number of die-hard collectors.

Cabbage Patch Kids were later parodied with the typically grotesque Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. The parody led Roberts to sue Topps, the maker of Garbage Pail Kids, for trademark infringement. The parties eventually settled out of court, with Topps agreeing to redesign the cards so that the artwork would not resemble Cabbage Patch Kids so closely.

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