UH-OH. THE CABBAGE PATCH Kids are b-a-a-ck. The dimpled dolls, so beloved by children 10 years ago, are trying for a comeback via Mattel. They've got an Olympic tie-in, as OlympiKids, the official mascot of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team. (An undisclosed share of sales will go to the team.) A marketing push will feature a torrent of watches, sunglasses, and T-shirts. As soon as Labor Day, 14-inch dolls clad in athletic gear, from gymnast leotards to warm-up suits, will be at stores--up for adoption. That's right, you "adopt" them, remember?
In their 1985 salad days, some $655 million in Cabbage Patch dolls and paraphernalia were sold. Toy-store riots broke out as desperate parents clamored for the scarce dolls. Cabbage Patch Kids never really went away after that--they just retired to the back of the toy store.
Original Appalachian Artworks, maker of the dolls, once sold them through Coleco, then Hasbro. Now Mattel has created an interactive store display with a TV screen of Cabbage Patch Kids asking young buyers to take them home. Hey, would you rather have Barney?