Everyone knows that Rainbow Land is home to Rainbow Brite and that she, along with her horse Starlite, their friends, the Color Kids, and all their little Sprite companions bring happiness to people everywhere by coloring our world with love and laughter. What some people don’t know, however, is that in the clouds above Rainbow Land lives another special little girl, Stormy. Originally thought of as a rogue color kid, she was actually created an elemental being, in charge of the winter winds and summer storms.
Suzie Cozad, an artist at Hallmark, created one the first designs of the character. “She wasn’t the original,” Cozad said of her design in an interview with Katy Cartee Haile (of RainbowBrite.net) during Hallmark’s first ever Rainbow Brite Day in Kansas City, MO. “She was a concept a lot of people were working on.”
A fan-favorite since the 1985 film “Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer,” the delightful little chatter-box, with a glint of lightning in her eye, is finally getting her first official doll release. “With the successful relaunch of the Rainbow Brite doll last year and nearly sold-out Starlite, we’ve seen that these characters still resonate with the public,” Pedro Martin, a Master Artist at Hallmark says. “When we looked back to our 30 plus year history with these characters, we noticed that of all the characters, one fan-favorite was missing! We saw this as an opportunity to give all those fans and collectors something we’ve never offered before. We’re very excited to bring her to life and fulfill a dream that fans have had for a generation.”
Though a prototype was produced and photographed in the 1980s, it was never manufactured for purchase. Recently, one of the prototypes appeared amongst a box of other Rainbow Brite items purchased from an estate sale in Los Angeles back in 1999. The owner of the doll reached out to Haile to verify it’s authenticity. According to Halie’s blog, since Rainbow Brite was not the collectors primary fandom, she didn’t really look much into the history of the dolls until recently. However, news of the find seems to have come at a perfect time.
Originally written as a bad-girl gone good, Stormy, and her horse Skydancer, have always had a friendly competition with Rainbow Brite and Starlite. “I believe she was always supposed to be an ally of Rainbow, but a feisty and competitive rival,” Martin says. “As different creative teams have come and gone, one thing maintained— Stormy would always play for the good side… just in her own way. We’re currently exploring more storytelling opportunities that will feature Stormy and her back story.”
Though arguably one of the most popular characters in the series, Stormy is also one of the least represented. Besides the film, Stormy was only heavily featured in one episode of the original series. She did appear in a few of the 2004 coloring books and the story book, Rainbow Brite Saves Christmas (Scholastic), but it wasn’t until 2014, when Hallmark’s online streaming service, Feeln.com, showcased her as one of its main characters, that fans began to feel like Stormy was starting to get the recognition she deserved. The series was followed by another major feature In the 2016 pop up book, Rainbow Brite and the Stormy Race (Hallmark). Stormy is a central character featured in this beautiful pop-up book with illustrations by senior artist, Jack Pullan.
“I was very excited to work on this Rainbow Brite book because of the pop-up format and because it featured Stormy,” Pullan says. “The pop-up format really allowed us to crank up the action and the concept of the Rainbow Cup Race really helps push the pop-ups to their kinetic limit. I also really love the character of Stormy because she seems like a slightly darker parallel character to Rainbow Brite’s character, kind of a yin and yang.They both have amazing powers that they can wield, but Stormy’s powers seem to separate her from others rather than bring her closer to others, like Rainbow Brite’s powers do. So in that respect I feel like Stormy is a bit envious of Rainbow Brite, but because of their great abilities they still share a bond, almost like sisters. I think Stormy is a really fun, complicated character and it’s difficult to bring out all of that in just seven spreads in a book, but I think the writer did a tremendous job of accomplishing that.”
At approximately sixteen inches in length and priced at $34.95 the Stormy doll is bright and vibrant with emerald green eyes, deep purple hair and an iridescent dress that shimmers and shines with the colors one would expect from a character from Rainbow Land. Unlike the original prototype (which was only 11” in length), the style of Stormy’s dress is similar to her look in the film and series, not just one solid piece of wrap around fabric. She’s beautifully painted and you can tell that Hallmark took great pride in creating her.
Releasing alongside Stormy is the first official plush of Skyancer. At $19.95 he is comparable to the two other horses released from the series Starlite and Sunriser, but with one exception - his hooves have hair on them. The design detail is small, but it’s nice to see something that made the character stand out in the series also be represented in the toy. Stormy and Skydancer were always the misfits of the group, manufacturing the toys with even the slightest differences from the other dolls proves once gain while Hallmark, unlike other companies that have tried to recapture Rainbow Brite’s success, is succeeding.
These dolls are sure to not only excite new fans, but also those of the original. They’re well worth the thirty year wait – and they’re just in time for Christmas. “A beloved character coming to life after all these years is not only cool,” Martin continues, “but exciting. I look forward to more adventures with her.”
So are we, Hallmark. Thank you!
To purchase the dolls, please click here.