From now on, I pity the fool who tries to tell me pop craftiness is a 21st century trend. In 1984, "Miss Martha Originals, through a license with Big T Enterprises, (Mr. T’s licensing company) created a pattern book, complete with full glossy color pictures, to create your own 'soft sculpture' Mr.T doll in the style of Cabbage Patch Kids."
Since the emergence of eBay, streetwear artist and Mr. T collector extraordinaire Greg Rivera has been collecting the dolls, all handmade by "family artisans" for their children. In a Summer 2005 show titled, "I Pity The Dolls!" at Orchard Street Art Gallery, Rivera exhibited what has become "the most important collection of Mr. T handmade dolls in existence."
The exhibition also featured new dolls created from the original MMO pattern by leading contemporary and street artists of the day. These dolls, made "in the original spirit" of Mr. T, were auctioned off, and the proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society [Mr. T is a cancer survivor, and the mothers of both Rivera and his collecting partner have had to deal with cancer.] The current whereabouts of these art dolls are unknown.
Please find them. Please. There's a gallery of the auction dolls on Rivera's site. I gridded up the thumbnails:
Rivera may still be prowling eBay for Mr. T dolls, which sucks for you and everyone else. Coming between a kid-free, obligation-free hipster with disposable income to burn and his highly specialized adolescent-era obsession is like finding yourself in the path of a starving anaconda who just detected the scent of a suckling pig.
Still, it's unlikely he needs every pattern that turns up for sale. A Mr. T Soft Sculpture Doll Pattern from Miss Martha's Originals sold just the other day for a mere $5, shipped. Just remember, if you're going to make one for your own Cabbage Patch-sized child, watch the loose jewelry, button eyes, and any other potential strangulation and choke hazards.
And if that's not enough, Mr. T's Wikipedia entry has a Christmas 1983 photo of him at the White House with Nancy Reagan sitting on his lap.
I Pity The Dolls! A Collection of Contemporary and Vintage Mr. T Dolls, June 9- July 9, 2005 [mrtandme.com]
Mr. T [wikipedia]
Search for Mr. T Soft Sculpture Dolls and Patterns on eBay [ebay]
Previously: Mr. T gets a namecheck in Nizlopi's dad-friendly classic, "The JCB Song"