Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Kidnapped 15-Year-Old California Girl Still Missing After Kidnapper Is Fatally Shot by Police
- Read the Cover Story: Steve Harvey: From Homeless to Having It All
- Size-28 Fashion Blogger Hits Out at 'Trolls' who Body Shamed Her for Wearing a Swimsuit
- The Very Best Celebrity Food Photos of the Week
- T.I.'s 'Heart Is Heavy Today' as Troy Ave Arrested and Charged in Concert Shooting After Video Shows Rapper Firing Gun
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- December 23, 1991
- Vol. 36
- No. 24
Hey, Doll, What's Cookin'?
No Babies Are Melancholy in Dan Lauer's Nursery
A Waterbaby "doesn't buzz or beep," says Lauer, 30. "It's just, well, very real." The reason: Warm water poured through a valve in the doll's back gives it lifelike bulk and temperature. The tots stay toasty for only two hours, but even when chilled, says Lauer, kids like their wiggle.
"I know it will be our No. 1 doll by far," says John Haunschild, a merchandise manager for the 80-store Venture chain. After Cabbage Patch Kids, he adds, "it's the best doll of the last 10 years."
Waterbabies, now on store shelves nationwide, were born of memories from Lauer's youth in St. Louis. On summer days, he and his five siblings fashioned dolls out of water balloons, drawing a face on one, dressing another in diapers. Lauer also liked to play entrepreneur, and at age 5 told his mother, Betty, he wanted a suit for Christmas. She bought him a space suit. He nearly wept. What he wanted, Mom says, "was a three-piece vested suit with a briefcase."
After getting a B.A. in business from the University of Missouri—St. Louis, Lauer wore banker suits for six years while harboring entrepreneurial dreams. When a sister mentioned the water dolls, he went to work, showering toy companies with hundreds of letters. Finally landing an interview at Mattel, he spent a night crafting samples out of balloons and condoms. Alas, by morning all he had was a soggy mess.
Undiscouraged, Lauer returned to the kitchen of his Clayton, Mo., bachelor apartment. He experimented with dozens of varieties of polyvinyl chloride, the plastic generally used in dolls, until he found a formula that didn't leak and had the softness he sought. A six-week, 1990 market test in St. Louis yielded a stunning 65,000 orders, and the following year Playmates, maker of Ninja Turtle toys, bought the rights to Lauer's baby. The inventor in Lauer was delighted; the proud parent was not. "I felt like my baby had left," he sighs. "I started suffering from empty-nest syndrome." But there are compensations. So far, stores have ordered 2.8 million Waterbabies that will retail for an average of $19 and could bring Lauer nearly $2 million in royalties.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!