WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Remember the craze of Cabbage Patch Kid dolls in the 1980s?
Well, part of that madness took place right here in Wilkes-Barre and there is a new documentary featuring the craze.
At the former Zayre’s Department Store, a Luzerne County native who was there on that very day tells 28/22 News what it was like.
That’s what it looked like one morning in November of 1983 at Zayre’s in Wilkes-Barre. All this chaos was over Cabbage Patch Kids, a doll that was famous in the 80’s.
“It all started with my mother asking me if I would help her get one of the dolls for my little sister,” said Alan Stout.
Stout went to the store that morning not knowing what he would witness would become a part of pop culture history. He says as he and his mom waited outside for the doors to open and the crowd seemed calm, and some were even friendly.
“When we got there everyone was real nice and you know it’s a long wait and you know you’re out there waiting for hours and everybody’s talking about someone in their family who wanted one of these dolls,” added Stout.
“When the doors opened, this mild-mannered cordial group of people lost their minds,” continued Stout.
Shocked was the least to describe how Stout felt.
“He (an employee) starts trying to fend people off with a baseball bat and he just starts throwing these dolls out over the crowd. So they’re bopping off in people’s hands and you know people are going on the floor and wrestling and try to pull them out of each other’s arms,” explained Stout.
Stout did not leave with a doll that day, but days later his mom was able to get one for his sister at another location. His sister still has the doll. Years later, Stout is part of a new documentary about the billion-dollar industry and the darker side of the toy’s history.
“My mom has since passed and so I thought about her, I thought about how she would probably be getting a big kick out of it, and how honestly if she was still here when the filmmakers reached out to me I may have just said why don’t you talk to my mom. You know she was there too. I kind of felt I was representing both of us in telling our story,” says Stout.
If anyone is wondering if Allen and his mom fought for a doll, the answer is no.
Stout says they were separated during it all but once they found each other they left empty-handed with their dignity intact.
The film, Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids, is set to be released in theaters November 24.