Upsy Baby was introduced by Kenner Products Co. in 1985. She had blonde curly hair, rosy cheeks, and bright blue eyes. Kenner also produced an equally adorable brown-eyed African-American model. She wore a light pink flower print lacy romper, white tennis shoes, and had a bow in her hair. Upsy Baby was marketed for kids 4 and up and cost around $30.00.
Upsy Baby works without batteries. You simply pull the string on her back, set her face down, and push the button on her side. She stands up all by herself. Sounds like a cute, entertaining doll. However, Upsy Baby was not immune to controversy.
On December 06, 1985, the Times Daily newspaper published an article in which Upsy Baby was ranked as the most expensive “Trash Box” toy. It also won the ADA’s “First to Break” award. According to the article, Upsy Baby was a cute but boring doll and lasted for only about 2 weeks and 20 pulls.
In July of 1986, the Consumer Affairs Committee Of Americans for Democratic Action criticized Upsy Baby claiming it, “…often fails to perform, and is too complex to be operated by a small child.”
Kenner’s director of product safety answered the criticism by commenting that, “Every product we manufacture is extensively tested by our laboratories to meet or exceed all applicable quality standards. We also test for reliability, and we perform function testing through more than 600 cycles. All our toys have to meet the requirement that they function as we intend before they go on the market. We would expect Upsy Baby to last a minimum of one year.”
Here are some nice details of Upsy Baby – evidence of Kenner’s valiant effort to make this unique doll appealing to its target consumer.
There was a patent filed January 29, 1985, subsequently granted on January 7, 1986. Sadly, these dates seem to indicate that the adorable Upsy Baby, described here by the patent abstract on file, was already in trouble by the time the patent was granted. It was a mere seven months after the date of the patent that the Consumer Affairs Committee Of Americans for Democratic Action issued its scathing criticism of the doll.