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Mattel's Profit Jumps 12% Despite Barbie Troubles

Doll Maker to Trump: You're Downsized!

July 20, 2004|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Foot-high plastic Donald Trumps, with molded hair not unlike the real thing, will attempt a takeover of the doll market this fall, courtesy of a Chicago manufacturer that wants to cash in on the success of "The Apprentice."

Stevenson Entertainment Group is betting Americans will pay good money to be abused by the strutting New York developer who stars in the unscripted NBC television series as a boss people will do anything to work for.

About $25 will buy a little Trump in a dark suit and tie who will utter such zingers as "I should fire myself just for having you around" and "I have no choice but to tell you you're fired."

The 17 phrases recorded by Trump and uttered at random by the baby popinjays also include encouraging homilies, like "Think big and live large" and "Never give up."

New York toy expert Jim Silver said the Trump dolls might appeal to people who like to decorate their desks with comical items. But he didn't predict the kind of success enjoyed by Trump's top 10 TV show.

"This is not a million seller," said Silver, publisher of Toy Book and other trade magazines.

For his part, Trump said he found the doll proposal from Stevenson Entertainment a "flattering and fun idea" and accepted an undisclosed amount of money from the manufacturer for a licensing agreement. He also submitted to a laser scan of his rather big head to get the proportions right.

"It's more of a collector item than a toy," said Stevenson spokesman Lou Zucaro. "We planned it for people who were fans of his who got to know him through the show."

Stevenson specializes in making collectible figures for adults along with less expensive reproductions of musical entertainers including KISS, the Offspring and Ozzy Osbourne.

Trump, who has made a lucrative specialty of selling his name and image, licensed "Trump, the Game" to toy manufacturer Milton Bradley Co. in 1989.

The deal-making board game sold 800,000 copies, Trump told reporters in 1990, while acknowledging that it was perhaps too complicated and wouldn't achieve the sales of 2 million units hoped for by the manufacturer.

But Hasbro Inc., Milton Bradley's parent, just released a new version of the game priced at about $25.

"Games reflect their times," Hasbro spokesman Mark Morris said, "and Trump is back."

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