Legendary Toy Inventor Mel Birnkrant Shares His Long-Ago Idea For a Line of Submersible Monsters

They never surfaced on the market, but that doesn’t make the “It’s Alive” series any less cool.


THE LAST TIME I wrote about Mel Birnkrant, the great toymaker was telling us about MaXx FXhis concept for a multi-faceted action figure that, sadly, never made it to the mass market. Now I bring you yet another cool concept of Birnkrant’s that never made it to stores. But please don’t get the impression that Mel is famous only for his failures—the man has invented more toys that Santa Claus, most notably the Colorforms Outer Space Men, one of the most revered and beloved collections of all time.

It’s just that Mel Birnkrant’s “failures” are often more interesting than most toymakers’ successes!

Take his It’s Alive series, for example. Nearly 30 years ago, Birnkrant based the idea for these submersible, air-powered creatures on the popular bubbling novelties people use to decorate fish tanks. The concept worked, as you’ll see in the video below, it just didn’t pass muster with the folks who decide which toys make it to the market. The video was made to demonstrate the concept. It’s quite inventive, incorporating footage from The Bride of Frankenstein in a clever and relevant way.

After you watch, visit Birnkrant’s amazing website for the full story of how he brought It’s Alive from concept to execution.

See also: Artist James Gurney Introduces Us to a Legendary Toy Inventor and the Greatest Action Figure That Never Was


Images & video: Copyright Mel Birnkrant



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Stephen Vincent D’Emidio is the editor and publisher of Wonder Alliance. steve@wonderalliance.com

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