Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Land of nods


Bobblehead dolls to the city's rescue

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        Now is the time for all good bobbleheads to come to the aid of their country.

        Sales of the coveted dolls with the bobbing heads could improve life across America.

        In Cincinnati, bobbleheads could bust the boycott. Get out the vote. Keep libraries open.

        The bobbing-head dolls are proven attractions. Despite ballplayers' desire to go on strike and sink America's pastime, squat ceramic figurines with spring-loaded heads have been keeping baseball afloat.

        “Bobbleheads are the promotional item that moves the needle on ticket sales more than any other item this year,” said Kerrie Ingham.

        She's an account manager and bobblehead queen at Bensussen Deutsch & Associates. The Woodinville, Wash., firm has provided more than 1 million dolls to big-league ballclubs, including the Reds.

        Bobbleheads make the Reds' turnstiles spin. During its final season at Cinergy Field, the home team has had but three sellouts. One was Opening Day. The other two were bobblehead giveaways — one for an Eric Davis doll, the other for an Adam Dunn model.

        For the latter giveaway, a grandfather admitted on TV he arrived at the ballpark seven hours before game time. Had to get a doll for each grandchild.

        Geez, Gramps. The grandkids probably would have preferred you spend the time with them. But, such is the way of crazes. They make people act crazy.

Beat the boycott

        City Hall could sell bobbleheads to make up for tax revenue lost during the economic boycott of Cincinnati. Collectors would pay top dollar for limited-edition dolls featuring the boycott's prime combatants:

        Charlie Luken — His lips are sealed, mirroring the mayor's refusal to negotiate with boycotters.

        Rev. Damon Lynch III — Head only moves back and forth. Signifying “No!”

        Area boards of elections could fight abysmal voter turnout with bobbleheads. On Election Day, dolls with bobbing donkey or elephant heads could be given out at polling places. But only after the person votes.

Library relief

        The fiscally challenged Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County should cash in on the bobblehead craze.

        A budget shortfall made the library propose closing five branches. The county backed a financial package to keep the branches open. But that's not been warmly received by the library. A member of the system's board of directors said “loan” has always been a dirty word at library central. Funny, I would have thought “closing libraries” would be even dirtier.

        Bobbleheads could help keep the library profanity-free and open. Money and history would be made selling dolls with bobbing heads of famous authors and their characters.

        The library could do a Mark Twain bobblehead.

        “Add a Huck Finn. That'll be unique,” said Tim Hunter, the Reno, Nevada-based author of Bobbing Head Dolls: 1960-2000.

        “That obscure stuff,” added the Findlay, Ohio native, “increases the collectibility.” And raises the price collectors are willing to pay.

        During a lifetime spent collecting and researching bobbleheads, Tim told me he doesn't “remember anyone, like a library or city, ever doing anything like this.”

        He knows of a Statue of Liberty bobblehead. And, Bobble Head World of Minnesota sells a Jesus bobbler for $19.95 with a free mini Bible key chain “while supplies last!”

        Despite their namesakes, those bobbleheads are made to improve a company's bottom line.

        They don't help the public. For that you need something with a good head on its shoulders.

        Call Cliff Radel at 768-8379; or e-mail: cradel@enquirer.com.

       

       



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