The proposition Antony Neufeld is offering is this: For $60 you can sleep with Princess Di. For $120, if that’s to your liking, you can sleep with her and Prince Charles. No, Neufeld isn’t proposing some liberal new twist on royal fund raising. He’s trying to move product. Neufeld, 38, managing director of Britain’s Ovation Ltd., is the creator of Chas and Di Headliners, caricatures that double as pajama bags by day and bed companions by night. Designed to appeal to both adult novelty gift buyers and tiny tots, the Di doll comes in a pink nightdress while the Chuck version wears a striped nightshirt, sleeping cap and fuzzy rabbit-faced slippers. The soft vinyl life-size royal heads are anatomically accurate. Pull off Chuck’s cap and you find his bald spot.
Introduced in England at an international toy-and-hobby fair last January, the Headliners are scheduled to go on sale in America in late spring. And based upon advance interest and orders, Neufeld hopes to sell some 500,000 pillows. A few members of the public have taken offense. “One guy at a toy fair said that it was disgusting to stuff royalty with pajamas,” says Neufeld. “He expressed the view that we should be shot.” The Crown might concur. The Lord Chamberlain’s office usually prohibits the use of royal images for commercial purposes, and Neufeld hasn’t even bothered to ask for approval. “These are caricatures, not likenesses,” he reasons, “so I feel I didn’t need to seek permission. I don’t think we’ve been obscene or pornographic in any way, so there should be no objection.”
If Chas and Di are successful, they’re likely to kick off a whole series of celebrity pajama bags. But whose fabulous face to bag next? The Reagans? Neufeld thinks for a moment, then shakes his head. “Because his term is coming to an end they probably wouldn’t be a commercial proposition.” The Gorbachevs? “I don’t think people would want to take them to bed.” Gary Hart and Donna Rice? “Yes! It doesn’t matter if he’s not running. Yes—now you’re talking!”