All day long Deborah Mohr makes little dolls of Adolf Hitler.
An ex-distributor for toy giants like Kenner and McFarlane, Deborah makes dolls with the help of toy factories in China and the staff of her In The Past Toys company, comprised of her sisters Olga and Anna, and Anna’s hubby Stan.
In The Past has only been in operation for a year and a half, but already they’ve picked up tons of action figure awards. I suppose it helps that nobody else so far has dared to make a doll of the Führer.
They’re also doing quite well financially. A wholesale case of 12 Hitler dolls comes at $480 a pop, and there’s only a handful left.
But it’s no surprise. Just look at that doll. No matter how much you hate Hitler, you still want one, don’t you?
“All the GI Joe collectors I used to meet would say how lousy figures were these days,” Deborah says from her studio in Staten Island. “They would go on about how nobody was making figures that collectors really wanted to see. I decided the best one to make would be Hitler.
“At first I had one or two people complaining, but the overall response to the figure has been amazing.
“We started off with Hitler and then we did Luftwaffe pilots, the U-boat crewmen, the Japanese seamen (both in the summer and the winter uniform). Then we came out with the second version of Hitler with the field gray uniform in the leather coat, and Fidel Castro with Baron Von Richtofen. Next we’re going to do Heinrich Himmler in a black SS uniform. He’ll be out in May along with a white dress SS uniform with a black leather overcoat and an armband.”
The Hitler dolls are just a small part of Deborah’s “War Criminals of the 20th Century” line. They come packaged with a long essay on the evils of Nazism and a disclaimer that states: “This product is for historic educational purposes only and is not to glorify, nor exploit the horrors and atrocities of war.” Some people get offended by Hitler-related merchandise, you see.
“We make toys for Japan, Singapore, Korea, Spain. My stuff does get into Germany, but it goes via the backdoor. In Germany you’re not allowed to show swastikas. Same with France.”
Obviously not one to be held back in her commercial ambitions by taste or decency, Deborah’s soon launching a set of serial killer dolls including Charles Manson, the Hillside Strangler, David Berkowitz aka the Son Of Sam, “Hannibal the Cannibal, and the Chainsaw Massacre guy.”
Even better, she’s about to create a line of “Middle Eastern Agitators,” which will feature 12-inch, detailed-to-the-max dolls of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Who’s next? Quaddafi? The Ayatollah?
“I can’t tell you our secrets, but there’s going to be 15-20 new figures out this year. Don’t rule anything out.”
See www.inthepasttoys.com for more info