Baby Safe Plush Toys Designed from Doodles

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Ex-Broadway Actress, 83, launches line of stuffed animals via internet.

Squinkles, LLC is pleased to announce its wonderfully whacky line of plush collectables – dozens of squeezable stuffed animals born in the bygone era of Broadway in the 1940s—can be ordered via the web at Squinkles.net.

“We hope people will warm to them like Beanie Babies and the Cabbage Patch Kids,” said Helen Alexander, president of Atlanta, Ga.-based Squinkles, whose so called “cabbage patch” was the theater world of New York City where she grew up, worked as an actress…and dreamed up the animals. “To me, they’re magic, like the golden age of Broadway. I like to say they’re ‘stuffed with attitude.’”

Attitude took Alexander from acting on Broadway to Hollywood to the Deep South…to her new career as an “elder-preneur” who started her toy business just shy of turning 80. “You’re never too old to have fun, and make a little money,” says the part-time real estate agent.

She kicked off her toy business by accident, 62 years after she drew her first creature. “One of my sons found the drawings in the attic, and my husband, Cecil, said, why not make them into stuffed animals?”

So, she found a rep, and a dozen animals are available now out of some 80 creatures Helen designed. Beyond select stores, they’re on sale on line for about $13 each. ”I got excited when I heard a family from New Jersey had ordered the whole set the other day!” she says. “I hope people will want to collect them. Each animal has a story behind it.”

Alexander says the goofy dolls were inspired by eccentric people she watched growing up at New York’s Pierre Hotel where her parents lived. They sport zany names like ‘Eyeing You,’ ‘Sockittome’ and ‘Mrs. Izatoso.’ The package also includes gift cards with phrases about starting and building all kinds of relationships. “They’re not just for kids,” she says, “but for big kids, too.”

As for Alexander, she still doesn’t know what she wants to do when she grows up. She’s acted in World War II musicals like “Winged Victory on Broawday and modern day movies like Driving Miss Daisy. In recent years, she’s popped up in TV movies and ads in print and television. The Georgia Lottery made her a New South sensation as the gray haired bank teller who cashes a winner’s ticket, then tells the gentleman with a wink, “My name’s Sparkles and I’ve got a hot tub.”

Still, feisty at 83 years old, Alexander designed the dolls while daydreaming in class. Her father, a radio pioneer on Wall Street, had mandated his then 18 year old daughter take dictation in case her acting faltered. He didn’t have to worry. She kept acting after she got married, and moved to Atlanta. Now the world wide web is her stage.

“I may be an old broad, but I’m not too old to learn new tricks,” said Alexander, referring to the internet sale of her pet creatures, whose drawings are also for sale. “We are also working on a children’s book about the animals to fuel their appeal.”

So what’s the story? “All I can say is it’s about magic creatures and a little girl in New York…I grew up like a real life Eloise,” she says, “only I wasn’t at the Plaza. My parents lived at the Pierre, just across the street, on 5th Avenue. There’s a lot of nostalgia about New York City, with a lot of fantasy thrown in.”

What does Squinkles stand for. "I know it rhymes with wrinkles, but it's the nickname I called my youngest daughter when she was born," she says.

Meet the Squinkles:

Mrs. Tufting: Lives for the spa. Her motto: “style, not substance, is the vital thing.” A good hair day is always reason to celebrate.

Arfy: Treats everyone like it’s their birthday, with a lick and a bark.

Hattingtoth: Refuses to have his teeth straightened, always complaining of cold ears and feet.

Reugenvlig: Suffers from Holiday Syndrome. Carries a Xmas tree wherever he goes.

PFT: Thin as a stalk, only eats celery.

Eyeing You: No one is perfect,Eyeing You is ever vigilant. Loves to bust folks for bad manners.

Lillipot: Too cute for words and acts like he knows it.

Lappy: Always Looking Good. Voted Best Dressed Squinkle by New York Digest.

Mrs. Izatso: Local gossip. Polks into everyone’s business.

Sockittome: Never without socks and gloves. Loves New York, but hates the weather.

Hi Hooter: A two-bit player obsessed with sun block, he wears hats to protect his skin and to dodge ex galpals.

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Helen Alexander or Pepper Jay