LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Every Christmas season includes a few light news stories about what the hot presents are for that year, and 1983 seems to be when the "must have" Christmas gift concept began in earnest.
"A year ago, Linda Shepard's phone hardly ever rang with Cabbage Patch Doll orders," reported Holly Echols in December of 1983. "That's because the dolls were called 'Little People Dolls.' Coleco hadn't bought the rights to them yet and created the Cabbage Patch craze."
Prior to the corporate buyout, the Little People Dolls were manufactured one at a time by people around the country, like the woman profiled on News 3.
"Linda won't be raking in the dollars like Coleco," continued Echols, "but she does plan to build a strong small business now that Cabbage Patch Dolls are popular."
A couple of other News 3 personalities poked fun at the craze.
"Lin Mills, Doc Ross, your weather, your garden. And today we're visiting...the cabbage patch," began weathercaster Ross.
"The cabbage patch," grinned gardening expert Mills. "Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun."
"Let's see what we can choose from," said Ross, as the two of them picked up different types of actual leafy cabbages. "What's yours?"
Reporter Al Johnson decided to cover the lead-up to Christmas with a business profile.
"Susie Gonzales. Typical 1983 department store executive," began Johnson. "Busy, and happy to be busy at this time."
That's because in 1983, Las Vegas was finally recovering from a deep recession.
"Hey Mary, are those four jogging suits ready to go?" inquired Gonzales, brushing by the camera.
"Christmas was not as merry for store executives last year as it is this year," observed Johnson.
Another 1983 story covered not just the hot-selling cordless phones, but a truly futuristic item called a "cellular phone."
"With it, you can make or receive a call from anywhere in the valley," reported Donna Cline, holding up a phone about the size of a brick. "And the cost is only—are you ready Santa?—only $3,000. And that will be available next Christmas."
By comparison, the 2018 batch of iPhones that have been giving some consumers sticker shock range from $750 to $1,450.
Donna Cline, Doc Ross and Lin Mills have all passed away in the ensuing three-and-a-half decades. Al Johnson's whereabouts are unknown. Former Channel 3 reporter Holly Echols resides in the San Francisco Bay area.