With Video Baby, Any Vcr Can Become a Womb with a View

updated 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/11/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Babies are cute. Babies are adorable. But babies have to be changed. Not Video Baby, though. With Video Baby, you just change the channel. Video Baby will never grow up to be a surly teenager. And if you want to hold your Video Baby, you have a choice—vertical hold or horizontal hold.

Video Baby, along with its companion tapes, Video Dog and Video Cat, is the brainchild of Peter Wild and Nancy Fisher, New York-based husband-and-wife entrepreneurs who are also the parents of a living, breathing 5-year-old daughter named Sarah. The tapes depict the joys of having a baby, a dog or a cat without having to deal with the more demanding aspects of parenthood or pet ownership.

And they're so obedient. For instance, the 8-month-old blue-eyed, strawberry-blond girl (in real life a professional model named Michelle DiBullo) responds to orders like "Smile for Daddy" or "Wave to Grandma" if VCR owners just follow instructions in an accompanying booklet. The dog, a Benji look-alike, also obeys instructions, though not the same ones the baby responds to. The cats (there are two in the video) do what cats always do—exactly as they please.

The idea for the videos came to Wild and Fisher two years ago at a late-night taping at their audio-visual company. "Someone said that video is being used for everything these days, that soon we'd be going on video holidays, even have video pets," says Wild. "Everybody just laughed, but the next morning Nancy and I looked at each other and said, 'Video pets—that could be funny.' " Since then, Wild and Fisher have sold some 20,000 of the tapes, at $19.95 each.

Of their three videos, they have screened only Video Dog for little Sarah. "She watched it solidly for 10 days, then it was over," says Fisher. No Video Cat. And definitely no Video Baby. After all, you don't want to start any video sibling rivalry. That's the sort of thing you can't turn off.

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