With spending money in parents’ wallets, the end of the early ‘80s recession was the perfect time for the Cabbage Patch Kids to debut. Each soft, cuddly Kid, “born” with a unique name, appearance and adoption certificate, engaged the hearts of countless children, and became a media sensation. They initiated a collecting frenzy, bred Black Friday mayhem, inspired knockoffs and generated billions of dollars in a time before anyone could imagine a shopping trip to K-Mart culminating with a bloody nose and a call to the police.
Andrew Jenks’ entertaining and touching new documentary follows this saga of modern American consumerism, from its folk art origins to mass production, from Appalachian craft fairs to big box stores, from TV movies to inevitable flameout. Jenks also gets to the heart of the dolls' original conception to underscore this unique story of how the Cabbage Patch Kids, for a time, resonated in that sweet spot between innocence, entrepreneurism, and greed.--Brian Gordon