Tribeca 2022: Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids ***

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on June 18, 2022)

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Andrew Jenks’ documentary connects the dots between two uniquely American traditions: Appalachian folk art, and shoppers trampling each other at Black Friday sales (“USA! USA! USA!”). But seriously…Cabbage Patch Kids. I’m old enough to remember the phenomena, but when they hit store shelves in the early 80s, I was in my mid-20s and too old to care.

Irregardless, I found some parts of the origin story weirdly fascinating, particularly the brick-and-mortar “hospital” where purchasers could view their doll’s “delivery” (from a head of cabbage) and then sign official “adoption papers” (more akin to Motel Hell than a Disney movie). And then there were the plagiarism lawsuits. Not essential viewing, but if you’re in the mood for a fun wallow in 80s nostalgia, you’ll dig it (hey…it’s even narrated by Neil Patrick Harris).

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