When was this doll line produced:
The raised print on the doll’s back reads “DKP 1984”, but the doll line was manufactured by Kenner, the same company that produced the original line of Star Wars toys, Strawberry Shortcake (early dolls were imprinted with American Greetings) and M.A.S.K.
Was there a cartoon?:
Yes. It was called Rose Petal Place and featured Marie Osmond as the voice of Rose Petal, Candy Anne Brown as Iris, and Susan Blu as Sunny Sunflower and Daffodil. Frank Welker provided the voices for all of the male characters.
There is also a brief live-action scene featuring a pre-Charles in Charge Nicole Eggert as a little girl saying a tearful good-bye to the garden when her family has to leave the grounds. I don’t know if that bothered me as a child, but as an adult, I wonder why the family had to move away. It also bothers me that the girl doesn’t have a name, so I will be referring to her as Nicole for the remainder of this article.
I had my own experiences with relocation (from Chicago to Boca Raton then back to Chicago before finally moving to Georgia) so I could relate to the character’s sadness.
I had to say good bye to multiple teachers and classmates as well as my extended family. I went from seeing my grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins in person on a daily or weekly basis to once every few years. There were phone calls and letters between visits, but it was never quite the same as being there in person.
In the special, Nicole’s sadness is a catalyst for the miracle to come. It reminded me of the scene in Alice in Wonderland when Alice shrinks after eating some of the Caterpillar’s mushroom and converses with flowers in a garden. Nicole doesn’t get to meet her flower friends. The flowers gain sentience after Nicole leaves.
According to the television commercial jingle for the Rose Petal dolls, “A teardrop brought them to life”. I didn’t think too much about the jingle as a child, but now I have an urge to add a correction: the flowers were already living things. What the girl’s teardrops actually did was make the flowers sentient, but young children don’t understand the concept of sentience.
I was almost ten before I actually understood exactly what was going on with Johnny Five in Short Circuit. I would have loved to have had a toy Johnny Five, come to think of it, but all that metal probably would have been difficult to snuggle.
Who was the villain?
A spider named Nastina and her hench bug, Horace Fly. Nastina is a widow spider wearing a black dress with a white collar. Her face is purple and she has big red lips. She looks like a cross between the Queen of Hearts from the Walt Disney cartoon for Alice in Wonderland and Sour Grapes from Strawberry Shortcake. She also appears to pre-date Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus.
Where did I acquire this doll?
At that time, we did most of our non-grocery shopping at Richway or Zayre. I’m pretty sure my Rose Petal doll came from Richway.
Rose Petal is the only doll I have from this line because she was the only doll I wanted from this line at the time. I feel I owe the other dolls in this line an apology, but a Susan Blu-voiced character did come into my collection later and will be the subject of a future article.
What do I still have from this doll’s original packaging?
I lost Rose Petal’s purse somewhere along the way, but if I can get some pink satin and tulle, I might be able to make her a new one. I might also still have her comb somewhere, probably mixed in with my other dolls’ grooming accessories.
I still have the doll, her hat (with its trademark clear teardrop shaped bead) her pink and green dress and pink tulle underskirt, and her green stand. I also revive her scent annually with a spritz of Bath and Body Works’ Rose body spray. I have the shower gel too. This smells just like the doll right out of the box.
Since Rose Petal was the only doll I had from her line, when I played with Strawberry Shortcake and Herself the Elf, I also brought out Rose Petal. Later, Rose Petal came in handy with Princess of Power. She made an excellent stand-in for Perfuma.
Did anything surprise me while researching this doll line?
Many things surprised me while researching this toy line and intellectual property. While I had not realized Nicole Eggert played “The Girl in the Garden”, the biggest surprises in my research actually involved the line’s creator, David Kirchner. The aforementioned initials, DKP, on the doll’s back stand for David Kirchner Productions.
Some of the other projects Kirschner has been involved with include the following: An American Tail, Child’s Play, and Hocus Pocus. He is still involved in all of these properties, but it doesn’t look like Rose Petal Place will be getting a reboot any time soon.
I was also fascinated by how differently Rose Petal Place, Child’s Play, and Hocus Pocus each explored the theme of immortality. With Rose Petal, the initial magic came from the purity of a child’s love. In the special, Rose Petal’s enemy Nastina concocts a potion to make Rose Petal lose her magic restoring voice.
When Rose Petal’s friends gather around her, they start crying and their teardrops fall on the girl’s original teardrop and Rose Petal wakes up and her voice comes back. The scene is very much a cross between Snow White/Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid, which it also pre-dates.
In Child’s Play, Charles Lee Ray uses a voodoo incantation. The longer Charles’ spirit is in the Good Guy doll, the more “human” the doll will become. Eventually, “Chucky” decides he wants to possess his “owner”, Andy instead. I’ve only watched the first movie so far, but I’m planning to continue with the franchise.
In Hocus Pocus, The Sanderson sisters not only seek immortality for themselves, they also use it to keep Thackery Binx from saving his sister. They turn Thackery into a cat that can’t die. There are a few parts of the movie where Cat Thackery gets hurt and Thora Birch’s Dani is heartbroken, thinking her new friend is dead.
Sometimes, I pick a topic for an article and I get a few lines, maybe I can come up with a personal memory or two of obtaining or playing with the toy. Others, I pick a scented doll with an animated cartoon and find out an actress in a brief live action part of the cartoon grew up to become a teen crush. Then I found out the creator of the cartoon and toy property was (and is) involved with a seasonal favorite and an iconic horror villain. What I thought would be a quick and fun article became the inspiration to check out some movies that have been on my watchlist for a while.